There is meat, and then there is bacon – a type of salt-cured pork that has taken the world by storm. From fast food restaurants to upscale dining degustation, bacon is seemingly everywhere, and folks can’t seem to get enough. In fact, the delicious pork product has gotten so popular in North America that it has its own movement, known as bacon mania.
While the exact date the movement began remains a subject of debate, most culinary scholars agree that bacon mania started sometime during the late 1990s. This was a period when high-protein, low-carb foods where very popular – due to in part to the influence of the Atkins diet. While the Atkins bandwagon has since lost some steam, bacon is more popular than ever. For those obsessed with the delicious meat, one of the best parts of the craze is all the new and creative types of bacon that have been introduced.
Since bacon mania has begun, we have seen everything from bacon bubble gum, bacon band-aids, and even an alarm clock that wakes people up with the smell of bacon cooking in a pan. It’s fair to say that this tasty pork product has gone from being a simple breakfast food to becoming a cultural phenomenon.
In truth, there are so many types of bacon out there these days that it can be difficult to keep track at times. Fortunately, bacon lovers need not worry, because TheRecipe has got you covered with our comprehensive list of 20 types of mouthwatering bacons from around the world.
20 Gypsy Bacon
As the name suggests, gypsy bacon is a traditional cooking item for gypsies the world over. This old-fashioned form of bacon is particularly popular in Hungary and is similar to traditional bacon from there.
Essentially, gypsy bacon is cured bacon that still has the rind. The meat is said to be rich in flavor and is known to have a distinct aroma. This style of bacon is fairly easy to make for most and can be cooked using a campfire – thus making it the ideal slice for the avid outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman). Those interested in trying gypsy bacon should check out their local meat store.
19 Duck Bacon
For those who may not be comfortable eating swine, but still enjoy a good piece of meat, duck bacon may be a food of interest. That’s right; the meat doesn’t have to come from a pig to be called bacon – at least not according to the folks who make duck bacon.
Since it’s a fairly niche item, duck bacon is made in many very different ways – so it’s hard to provide a "one size fits all" kind of description. In most cases, it’s cured, thick slices of duck meat that usually come from the breast. As an added benefit, this type of bacon has less fat than traditional pork bacon.
18 Bacon From Canada
Not to be confused with the 1995 comedy starring John Candy, bacon from Canada is a type of back bacon. When done right, it is perfectly cured, fully cooked, and thickly sliced. Due to its lean-cut and appearance, this type of bacon is often compared to ham.
The name is typically only used in the United States where it is extremely popular. To residents of Canada, this delicious meat is known simply as back bacon. There is also another type of bacon from Canada known as Peameal bacon. A hit in southern Ontario, Peameal bacon is made from boneless pork loin and rolled in cornmeal.
17 Coconut Bacon
Now that coconut bacon has been introduced to the world, even vegans can take part in bacon mania. Coconut bacon doesn’t actually come from a pig. In fact, it’s not meat at all.
This unique vegan dish is a mixture of unsweetened coconut flakes, salt, and spices. Generally, most coconut bacon features soy sauce and maple syrup. When the right combination is placed in the oven, the result is food that has a flavor and consistency that is very similar to bacon – hence the name. Coconut bacon is a great way for vegans and vegetarians to make sure carnivores aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy the delicious flavor associated with bacon.
Italy’s biggest contribution to the world of bacon is a salt-cured pork belly meat known as pancetta. Generally, pancetta is spiced with black pepper – though other spices can also be added for additional flavor.
The most popular types of pancetta are stesa (flat) and arrotolata (rolled). Stesa is often consumed as grilled strips and is used as an ingredient in certain recipes – like carbonara pasta. Arrotlata is usually eaten raw and is also the type of pancetta that is commonly used to make sandwiches. While stesa and arrotolata are used differently, in most cases, bacon fans will be able to appreciate both styles.
The style of grilled pork belly commonly associated with Korea is known as samgyeopsal (or samgyeopsal-gui). Samgyeopsal-gui means “three layer flesh” – which may not sound all that appetizing to a lot of folks. That being said, when prepared correctly, samgyeopsal can be downright tasty.
In general, this version of bacon from Korea is thick and often fatty. Samgyeopsal is considered to be a gui (meaning grilled) dish. Unlike other types of bacon, three-layer flesh traditionally isn’t seasoned or marinated. However, in recent years, marinated versions of samgyeopsal have become more common. This meat is so popular, in South Korea, the third day of March is known as “Samgyeopsal Day.”
14 Bacon From Ireland
This bacon term is primarily used in the United States. In truth, just about every kind of bacon is available in the United Kingdom – all of which have their own names. So, technically, there is no such thing as bacon from Ireland.
What Americans refer to, in most cases, is traditional back bacon – usually cut from the eye of the loin. It’s different from the previously mentioned bacon from Canada, as the fat isn’t trimmed from the edges.
In the US, this kind of bacon can also refer to a whole, unsliced type of bacon. This style is used in “cabbage and bacon” – which is a popular, traditional dish in Ireland.
13 Chicken-Fried Bacon
Legend has it, that chicken fried bacon was first introduced at a restaurant in Snook, Texas in the early-90s. However, it’s hard to imagine that someone didn’t think fry bacon prior that point. In any case, the dish is every bit as delicious as it looks – even if it isn’t the healthiest food item on the planet.
Chicken fried back is exactly what it sounds like – bacon strips that are deep fried. It’s usually offered as an appetizer alongside dipping sauces like sausage gravy. Sure, chicken fried bacon may take years off of one’s life (especially with the sausage gravy), but it may be worth it.
12 Elk Bacon
Another non-pork alternative to traditional bacon is elk or venison bacon. Granted, elk and deer are not the same animals, but the fat from both beasts does a nice job infusing smoky flavor – making the meat they provide ideal for a unique kind of bacon. Putting a bit of honey on one’s elk or venison shank is a great way to add an additional layer of deliciousness.
This type of bacon could be a great option for hunters who want to be sure and put all of their game’s meat to good use. As the bacon revolution continues, we see more examples of non-pork bacons (like elk bacon) becoming increasingly popular.
11 Lap Yuk
This bacon from China, referred to as lap yuk in Cantonese, is used in several popular dishes from Asian. In most cases, lap yuk is made from pork belly. This style of bacon is often air cured with soy sauce, spices, and brown sugar.
Lap yuk is often sold with the rind still attached, so as pork goes, this meat as about as piggy as it gets. Moreover, this pork belly is sometimes infused with cinnamon and star anise – giving it a complex flavor. Unsurprisingly, this style of bacon is most accessible in China. However, for those living elsewhere, lap yuk can be found in most markets specializing in products from Asia.
Lardon, sometimes referred to as lardoons, is a fatty type of bacon that is served as either a small strip or a cube. It can also refer to a type of pork fat. In any case, lardon is often used to flavor a variety of foods – including salads. It is a kind of bacon from France that is frequently featured in cuisines associated with the country.
This style of bacon is prepared from a variety of different cuts, including fatback and pork belly. However, to be considered authentic lardon, the meat must be salt-cured and cannot be smoked. Taste-wise, this popular food could be compared to a sort of ultra-rich ham.
Salo is a traditional food from Russia that could reasonably be called the bacon of Eastern Europe. In fact, the word salo actually means bacon. The meat consists of cured slabs of fatbacks and is often dry salt-cured.
This style of bacon can be eaten raw or cooked – depending on one’s personal preference. Those who decide to cook the meat will often fry it. Salo is prepared differently based on geography. For example, some salo will often feature thing like garlic, salt, and even black pepper. In Russia, salo on bread, with a bit of garlic, is a popular snack that is often paired with vodka.
8 Bacon From Germany
When people from Germany use the word bacon, more often than not, they are referring to a type of meat known as “Frühstücksspeck” – which manes “breakfast speck” or “breakfast fat.” Basically, Frühstücksspecks are cured (or sometimes smoked) pork slices.
However, there are several other types of bacon-like meats that are very popular in Germany. “Wammerl” is a type of grilled pork belly that folks in Bavaria love. Moreover, tiny bacon cubes called “Griebien” are a big hit in the southern portion of the country. When folks think of meat from Germany, Bratwurst is probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, as we can see, the country also has a pretty decent bacon selection as well.
7 Jalapeno Bacon
What do you get when you combine jalapenos and bacon? Well, you get jalapeno bacon, of course. As the name suggests, jalapeno bacon adds a bit of spice to the standard pork-based dish.
While this may sound exotic to some, the truth is, this style is becoming more and more common. In fact, Hormel even has it’s own jalapeno bacon that can be purchased at stores like Walmart. Moreover, if a restaurant is offering bacon flights, there is a good chance that jalapeno bacon may be a part of their lineup. The fact that something like jalapeno bacon is becoming mainstream proves that bacon mania is a very real thing.
6 Chocolate-Covered Bacon
Bacon is a good snack, appetizer, and is also an important part of many entrees, so it’s no surprise that it also makes a wonderful dessert – in the form of chocolate covered bacon. Simply put, chocolate and bacon are two of the best things on earth, so combining them is kind of a no-brainer.
Chocolate covered bacon is fairly easy to come by these days; it can be found in many candy stores or ordered online in packages. Moreover, there are several varieties including both white and dark chocolate covered bacon. This may be the most obvious pairing since peanut butter and jelly.
5 Pumpkin Pie Spiced Bacon
Now that fall is here; it seems like there are a million pumpkin-flavored products available – which is a good thing. One such product is “Pumpkin Spiced Bacon.”
There a variety of recipes for this dish that includes ingredients like ginger, powdered sugar, and nutmeg. However, for those who don’t feel like cooking (and live in the Foley, Minnesota area) there is also a packed version of this style of bacon – that is offered seasonally by Grand Champion Meats. Based on the ingredients, folks probably won’t be surprised to learn that this bacon is definitely on the sweeter side of things.
4 Tangy Dill Pickle Bacon
While it isn’t readily available, “Tangy Dill Pickle Hickory Smoke Bacon” is definitely a thing. It’a seasonal product (available May-October) made by Grand Champions Meat – a family-owned company out of Minnesota.
Folks who simply can’t enough dill pickle flavor in their life, can now enjoy it while eating their bacon, with this interesting product. This creative style of bacon claims to strike the perfect balance between dill pickles and everyone’s favorite food – bacon. While it’s certainly unique, pickle bacon is also a bit pricey. Three 12 ounce packages (the minimum you can order online) will cost bacon enthusiasts around $50 (USD).
3 Raspberry Chipotle Bacon
As one might gather from the name, “Raspberry Chipotle Flavored Bacon” is an unconventional take on the popular breakfast food. Apparently, at least according to the website Bacon Scouts, this is a gold medal winning gourmet bacon – though there is no mention of what competition it won.
This product, which boasts strong smoky chipotle flavor, combined with a raspberry finish, is perfect for the foodie who is looking to try something a little different. Besides offering robust flavors, when cooked, it also shrinks around 50% less than run of the mill grocery store bacon. Those who are looking to purchase this award winner online can expect to pay around $55 (USD) for three 16 ounce packages.
2 Brand Smoked Bacon
This actually a brand of bacon as a opposed to a particular style – though it definitely has some unique qualities. Brand smoked bacon claims to be the extraordinarily thick. The company states that their pork bellies are cured and smoked using a top-secret family recipe that has been handed down.
However, despite the name, this bacon isn’t actually from Hungary. In fact, this particular brand of bacon can be purchased in the United States – Hollywood, California to be exact. While it may not be as international as it may seem, it can be used to make delicious-sounding dishes like "Bacon Rubbed with Pepper and Garlic."
1 Bacon From Japan
In Japan, bacon (which is pronounced "bekon") is very similar to what folks in places like the United States are used to. Just like bacon, from the USA, bekon is a cured and smoked belly meat that is readily available.
However, there are some major differences between the two kinds of bacon. In Japan, bekon is pre-cooked and has a consistency that can be compared to ham. There is also another well known bacon-like food in Japan known as bara. Bara is a sliced pork belly that is commonly used a to make a variety of dishes, such as the ever popular yakitori (a type of skewered meat).