What Is the Distinction Between Cured and Uncured Bacon?

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It sounds like bacon when long strips of scrumptious fatty pork sizzle on fire. Streaky bacon is the most prevalent variety of bacon in the United States, although new variations are always appearing. However, some of the nomenclature used for them might be perplexing.

Consider the difference between cured and uncured bacon. Are you serious? I used to believe that all forms of bacon (whether wet brined or dried) were cured.

If this is the case, what is the significance of the perplexing term “uncured”?

People that are interested in bacon will have a lot of questions. To begin, what is the difference between cured and uncured bacon, do they taste the same, and is one healthier than the other? Answer each of these questions one by one.

The Basics About Bacon

Cured vs Uncured Bacon – What’s The Difference?

The term bacon refers to a cured and occasionally smoked flesh component of the pig. Its distinctive taste combines salty, fatty, sweet, and smokey characteristics that stand out in any meal.

Bacon is classified into many categories based on the section of the animal from which it is derived and certain other production specifics. The streaky bacon is the same as standard American bacon, which is sliced from the pig’s side. Because of its high fat content, it is thinly sliced and crisps up beautifully when cooked.

Back bacon, on the other hand, is a ham-like variant of bacon derived from a slimmer section of the swine, the loin. Americans refer to it as Canadian bacon, whereas Canadians refer to it as back bacon or peameal bacon.

Remember that regardless of the meat component utilized, every bacon (even if the label states uncured) goes through the curing process. It makes sense given that the major goal of curing is to preserve the meat and prevent bacterial development. However, curing enhances the flavor of the meat.

Understanding what uncured bacon is can help you comprehend the technicalities of curing pork.

What Is Dry Cured Bacon?

Cured vs Uncured Bacon – What’s The Difference?

Dry curing is the method through which fresh swine flesh is transformed into excellent, well-preserved bacon. The so-called cure is a combination of several dry substances that is applied to the meat. Commonly used ingredients include salt, aromatics, spices, sugar, and sodium nitrites.

The meat cures for a week or longer, during which time it loses fluids and progressively becomes drier, firmer, and darker in color. After this period, the bacon is rinsed well and either smoked or air-dried as a final process.

What Is Wet Cured Bacon?

Another way of preserving pork is wet curing. It’s also known as brining. It permits the meat to remain submerged in a combination of water and additional additives such peppercorns, sugar, salt, and sodium nitrate. There are several taste options, including honey, maple syrup, whiskey, and beer.

After curing, the bacon may be smoked, cooked in a convection oven to speed up the process, or simply air-dried. Wet curing produces a product that is not significantly different from dry curing. It simply stores more moisture and weighs heavier, yet when cooked in a skillet, it shrinks more than its dry version.

Uncured Bacon Versus Cured

Since curing is required to keep bacon from spoiling, how can there be an uncured bacon variant, and what does this word mean? The solution is considerably easier than you would think.

To begin, all forms of bacon must be cured before they can be eaten. Uncured bacon, on the other hand, is cured with natural nitrates rather than manufactured sodium nitrates. These chemicals may be found in natural foods including beets, celery, and other plants.

So it all boils down to employing natural rather than artificial components in the remedy solution. The idea is not novel. Vitamin C, for example, has long been utilized as a natural preservative not just in meals but also in other items.

Uncured bacon products must be labeled as such, and some may also be labeled as sodium nitrite-free.

In terms of health, the uncured variety is somewhat better since it has no chemical preservatives, but keep in mind that it still contains a lot of saturated fat and salt. High salt intake may contribute to high blood pressure, while high saturated fat intake is linked to high cholesterol and probable cardiac issues.

When it comes to flavor, uncured bacon does not taste much different from cured bacon. They are both high in fat and salt. However, the flavor of the result might vary depending on the pig cut section, the substances used for curing, and the processing procedures.

What Are Nitrates In Bacon?

You’ve probably heard that nitrite and nitrate preservatives in processed meats are bad for your health. Some argue that they are not harmful in and of themselves, but that it is dependent on how these meats are prepared. High temperatures, for example, facilitate the formation of nitrosamines, a carcinogenic chemical. The danger with processed meat, on the other hand, is evaluated as fairly low.

Furthermore, both nitrates and nitrites are authorized preservatives that inhibit the action of harmful bacteria in ham, bacon, salami, and certain varieties of cheese. Furthermore, certain vegetables, such as beetroots, are high in nitrates, which have been demonstrated to have extremely favorable consequences in terms of decreasing blood pressure and providing other health advantages.

So, are these chemicals harmful to our health? The solution is straightforward: seek for nitrates found in specific fruits and vegetables rather than those found in most processed meats. By include a variety of beneficial nitrates in your diet, you may reduce the possible health risks associated with consuming items containing synthetic or chemical-based nitrates.

Aside from increasing natural nitrates from fresh fruits and vegetables, you may also limit the amount of manufactured nitrates in your diet, which is why uncured bacon is a healthier choice.

The Bottom Line

Bacon, whether cured or uncured, has advantages and disadvantages. Consume it in moderation and supplement your diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.


Is cured or uncured better for you?

Some individuals feel that uncured meats are healthier. However, this is debatable since there is no obvious scientific data to establish that cured meats are harmful.

Should you eat cured or uncured?

Uncured or organically cured meats are often seen as a healthier substitute for typical cured meats. Curing meat includes the use of nitrites or nitrates as well as salt to improve food preservation and minimize bacterial contamination.

Does uncured and cured bacon taste the same?

Because artificial nitrates cure the pig belly quicker, the pork belly in uncured bacon rests in salt brine for a longer period of time throughout the curing process. Unless the brine contains extra flavorings such as liquid smoke, hickory, or applewood, cured and uncured bacon taste the same.

What is the point of uncured bacon?

Uncured bacon is just bacon that has not been cured using synthetically derived nitrates and nitrites. Instead, the bacon was cured using natural nitrates, which are found in celery, beets, and other vegetables. It is the natural mix of components that results in a wonderful, smokey taste.

Is cured or uncured bacon better for you?

So, is uncured bacon healthier than nitrite-cured bacon? By a little margin. It’s unclear if the natural nitrites present in celery are less dangerous than those found in cured bacon. Furthermore, bacon has a high salt and saturated fat content, both of which should be reduced to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Is uncured bacon safe to eat?

“Cured or uncured, less is more when it comes to processed meats like bacon,” adds Keating. “You don’t have to give them up entirely, but they shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet.”

Does uncured mean uncooked?

Uncured ham, despite its name, is cured, but in a more natural fashion. Unless otherwise noted, most uncured beef has been properly cooked before reaching the customer. This means that all you have to do is pop the ham in the oven, cook it to the degree you choose, serve it, and enjoy!

Why is uncured better?

The term “uncured” merely denotes that the meat was not preserved using artificial or synthetic nitrates or nitrites. This helps to make the meat as basic as possible. Uncured meats are still preserved, but they do it using natural salts and flavorings rather than synthetic chemicals.

What is the disadvantage of cured meat?

Cured beef products have the drawback of nitrosamine, which is created during curing. This chemical is a carcinogenic component that has been found in bacon after it has been fried. Protein, on the other hand, has a high nutritional value due to its high biological value.

What is the healthiest bacon?

Turkey bacon is an excellent choice for a healthy bacon alternative. It has less fat and calories while having more protein than traditional pig bacon. The essential ingredient is saturated fat. Turkey may be lower in saturated fat than pig belly, which is the source of pork bacon.

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