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Basics About Bacon

Basics about bacon

What is bacon?
The term bacon is used to describe the cured belly of a swine (hog) carcass. If meat from other portions of the carcass is used, the product name must be identified (for example, Pork Shoulder Bacon). It is usually available in thick or thin slices, but sometimes can be bought in a solid piece. Bacon is raw and must be cooked before eating.

What is Canadian bacon?
Canadian bacon is cured pork loin. The taste and texture of Canadian bacon is similar to ham and has a lower fat content than regular bacon. It must be cooked before using.

Can rendered bacon fat be used in turkey bacon?
Rendered bacon fat is used as a flavoring material (at around 2-4 % of the product formulation) and need only appear in the ingredients statement of the product. Always look at the ingredients statement if for any reason you are trying to avoid specific ingredients. For more information about meat, poultry and egg product labeling, visit our Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff online.

What is turkey bacon?
Turkey bacon is a cured, bacon-like product that must follow the same requirements as those that apply to pork bacon. The kind of meat from which the bacon is made must appear on the package and the descriptive name can serve as the product name. An example of an acceptable designation is "Turkey Bacon -- Cured Turkey Breast Meat Chopped and Formed." The descriptive name can stand alone as the true product name. Ingredients used to manufacture the product must be listed on the package. For example, if there is pork in the product, it must be listed in the ingredient statement.

How long does bacon stay good after opening?
You can keep bacon in the refrigerator (40 ºF) for one week. Bacon can also be frozen (0 ºF) for a month.

What do you look for when buying bacon?
Look at the distribution of meat to fat. Bacon with several stripes of lean pink meat distributed throughout the slice will tend to be crispy; bacon with large amounts of lean in one section will be more chewy. Thin-sliced bacon tends to be crisper when cooked than thick slices, unless the thick slices are cooked for a long time.

Is turkey bacon cooked?
Yes. Turkey and other poultry bacon products are cooked. Follow package directions to heat or brown the bacon before eating it.

What is pancetta?
Pancetta is traditional Italian, uncooked pork bacon that has been cured with salt but not smoked. It can be purchased sliced or ordered sliced from a large piece. It should be cooked before eating.

How long can I keep an egg strata in the refrigerator before cooking it?
An egg strata traditionally consists of layered bread, cheese and other foods (such as cooked sausage, ham, bacon, shrimp or vegetables) over which a mixture of raw beaten eggs and milk are poured. The casserole is covered and refrigerated overnight to allow the liquid ingredients to be absorbed into the bread. This is a perishable mixture and should be cooked the morning or day after assembly. Bake in an oven set no lower than 325 °F (most recipes suggest 350 °F ) until the center of the casserole reaches 160 °F  as tested with a food thermometer. After baking, any leftovers must be refrigerated within 2 hours and can be kept 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator or frozen for about 3 months. Uncooked egg strata should not be frozen.

Can mold grow in the refrigerator?
While most molds prefer warmer temperatures, they can grow at refrigerator temperatures, too. Molds also tolerate salt and sugar better than most other food invaders. Therefore, molds can grow in refrigerated jams and jelly and on cured, salty meats -- ham, bacon, salami, and bologna. Molds On Food: Are They Dangerous

What are the best cooking methods for game?
The tenderness of a particular cut of game is similar to the corresponding cut of domestically-raised meat or poultry. All game tends to be leaner than that of domesticated animals, which have been bred for tenderness and fat marbling. Overcooking can toughen game. You can use moist heat, basting, and larding or barding (inserting slivers of fat or wrapping in bacon) to help keep the meat tender during cooking. Fast searing over high heat can also work for smaller cuts, such as tenderloin medallions or rib chops. To read cooking times for game, click on the link.Food Safety of Farm Raised Game

from USDA