Difference Between Bacon and Ham

Bacon vs Ham

The difference between bacon and ham is mainly in the parts of the body from which the butcher cuts either of the meat. Pig is a great source of animal meat in many countries. It is called differently (pig meat) in various cultures, which confuses a lot of people. You have bacon, and you have ham. You also have pork. Gammon is there, and so is brawn. In fact, there are scores of all sorts of names given to different cuts of meat obtained from the same animal, and in this article, we shall take a look at bacon and ham that are most confusing to a lot of people.

To begin with, the meat obtained from a pig is referred to as pork in most cultures. But, how does pork become bacon or ham? Let us find out.

What is Bacon?

The side of the pork after removing the head and feet of the animal is the area from where bacon comes. However, it is not before the meat has been cured for a long time. People make bacon also from the meat that is taken from pork loin. In US, especially, they make bacon using pork belly. As a result, outside of US and Canada, US and Canadian bacon are known as American style or fatty or streaky bacon. This is because only US and Canadian people prepare bacon using pork belly. Green bacon is what the side of the pork is called after it has been salted and left over for quite some time. If one talks about South of England, this cured meat is further smoked on slow burning wood like oak. The cut from this bacon around legs is called a gammon, while the back bacon is the meat taken from pork loin.

Usually, bacon is fried for people to eat it. They are very crispy, and many people like to eat bacon. They are a part of breakfast in most Western countries. You can even boil, smoke or grill bacon if you want to.

Difference Between Bacon and Ham

What is Ham?

Ham comes from the bend of the knee or the upper part of the thigh or the buttock of the animal. If we go by etymology, ham comes from the word hom that means bend of the knee. Ham is either dry cured or wet cured. Cured means any of the different processes that are followed to preserve food items such as vegetables, meat, and fish. The ham is either dry cured or wet cured. Dry curing is rubbing a mixture that has salt and a number of other ingredients on the meat. Then, the piece of meat is left to dry and age for a period. If it is wet cured then, the meat is immersed in a brine mixture, or the brine is injected into it.

Normally, ham is used as slices in sandwiches or any other food items. You must have heard of ham sandwiches. Those use ham slices between the two bread slices. Then, ham is also used on foods like pizza.

 Bacon vs Ham

What is the difference between Bacon and Ham?

• Cut of the meat:

• Bacon is the meat from a pig that has been cured and comes from the sides of the animal or its back. In US, they use the pork belly to make bacon too.

• Ham comes from the bend of the knee or the upper part of the thigh or the buttock of the animal.

• Preparation:

• Bacon is cured and almost always smoked.

• Ham is dry cured or wet cured.

• Eating:

• Bacon is eaten fried, smoked, boiled or grilled.

• Ham is normally eaten as slices.

• Taste:

• Bacon has a crispy taste.

• Ham is moister than bacon.

• Shape:

• Bacon comes as thin slices.

• Ham is also used as thin slices.

Really, bacon or ham are merely words that refer to meat coming from the pig, and it depends upon which part of the animal the meat is coming from to be labeled bacon or ham. Whether it is bacon or ham people who love to eat pork generally prefer these cuts of the pig. Also, bacon from the two is mostly eaten as a breakfast food along with toast and eggs. Ham is eaten as a filling for sandwiches or a food item to cover the topping of a pizza. They are both tasty and are very much liked by people.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Bacon via Pixabay (Public Domain)
  2. Ham sandwich by Fancy steve (CC BY-SA 3.0)