Difference Between Canadian Bacon and Ham

Canadian Bacon vs Ham

Canadian bacon is a food product derived from pork. There is a great variety in foods referred to as Canadian bacon in different parts of the world. In US, Canadian bacon is salted and cured meat of pork in much the same way as traditional bacon while the process of salting and curing in UK is quite different. However, because, in looks and flavor, Canadian bacon resembles ham more than bacon makes people confused. There are many who cannot appreciate the differences between Canadian bacon and ham. Let us take a closer look at these two food products derived from pork.

Canadian Bacon

Canadian bacon is a cut of meat obtained from pork that has been salted and cured. It comes from the back of the pork rather than belly or any other part to distinguish it from other cut of meat. Inside US, back bacon is also referred to as Canadian bacon because of the high popularity of back bacon in Canada. The round slices of pork meat that have been smoked and sold in US are also termed as Canadian bacon.

There are many different cuts of pig depending upon from which part of the animal they came. Thus, we have side bacon, middle bacon, back bacon, jowl bacon (cheeks of pig), Cottage bacon (shoulder of pig), collar bacon (cut from near the head at the back), and so on. Out of these cuts, it is back bacon that is referred to as Canadian bacon in US. Interestingly, inside Canada, this particular cut of meat is called Peameal Bacon. However, in Canada, this cut is set in brine rather than being smoked as is the fashion in US.


Ham is a cut of meat from pig that comes from the thigh of the back leg of the animal. Ham is always sold after cooking or after it has been cured. Thus, hind leg of the pig after it has been cured and contains at least 20.5% protein without any addition of water is called ham in the country. Ham in US is classified on the basis of its cure and water content. Thus, we have fresh ham as well as country ham.

What is the difference between Canadian Bacon and Ham?

• Ham is the piece of meat obtained from the thigh of the hind leg of a pig.

• Back bacon is referred to as Canadian bacon in US.

• Back bacon is a food product that has been made from a piece of meat obtained from the back of the pig.

• Canadian bacon is thus not ham as many think although there are many similarities in looks, flavor, and aroma.