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Difference between Pork and Bacon

Pork and bacon are meat products from the pig.  The meat from a pig, in its raw state, is called pork.  In its cured state pork becomes bacon or ham and then it is a product of pork.  The basic difference  between these two edible meats is in the curing process.  Pork has been cured for centuries and was originally cured or salted to preserve the meat before refrigeration was available.  There are various cuts of pork and types of bacon.  Pork refers to the entire animal while bacon is specifically made from the sides and back of the pig.  It is safe to say pork is raw pig meat and bacon is cured pork.

Difference between Pork and Bacon

 What is Pork?

Pork is the meat from a pig.  It is the most widely consumed form of meat throughout the world.  Pork is extremely popular in Asian countries. It is popular because of fat content and the texture of the meat.  China is the highest consumer of pork with 53 million tons of pork consumed in 2012, more than half the world’s consumption.  Pigs are easy to feed and are not used for any labor type of activities.  The meat is appealing as it smells and tastes sweet.

Pork is a large contributor to cured meats or what is known as charcuterie.  Great flavors and types of cured meats are perfected by curing meats with salt water and smoking.  Once the pork is cured it can be eaten or cooked further.  The cured pork is also used to add fat and flavor to meals. Cured pork is very versatile and used in international cooking.  Pork is a forbidden food in some religions.  Both Jewish and Muslim dietary law does not allow the consumption of pork.

Different cuts of pork are available and are usually precut by the butcher.  Chops, shoulder, loin and leg as well other parts like trotters are specialty meats and are all available to the discerning cook.  However, uncooked or undercooked pork is dangerous to eat.  The flesh of the pig, pork, is host to many forms of parasites including tapeworm.

Pork has the following advantages:

  • It is readily available in butchers and supermarkets.
  • Cured pork is used in a variety of dishes as flavorings.
  • Pork is enjoyed my many different countries.
  • It is especially enjoyed in Asian cuisine.
  • Pigs are easy to feed. They are not used for any activities other than producing pork.

Difference between Pork and Bacon-1

What is Bacon?

Bacon is a meat product made from cured pork.  The curing process takes place when pork is soaked in salt water for a number of hours and then smoked by burning wood dust from different types of wood under the pork.  The smoke cures the meat and adds the flavor. This is not a cooking process but a curing process and the cured meat can be eaten in its raw smoked state or cooked further.

Bacon is cut from the side of the pork carcass and it includes the back, belly and sides, not the head and feet.   The side of pork is soaked for several hours and is then called ‘green bacon’.  The ‘green bacon’ is smoked for 24 -48 hours.  Ham or gammon is also cured pork but not the same as bacon because gammon is part of the leg of the animal not the bacon, middle cut.

Bacon products include pancetta, streaky bacon and Salami, a spicy sausage meat.  Bacon is used to produce fat for cooking in the form of lardons.  Bacon fat is also used for larding and barding.  This is a way to induce flavor and moisture into a joint of meat.  The fat is wrapped round the joint or threaded into the meat.  Bacon adds a lot of flavor and has become a popular breakfast dish served with eggs.

Bacon offers the following:

  • Cured meat that is flavorsome and popular worldwide.
  • A cut of pork that has many uses for creating different dishes needing a unique flavor.
  • Cured meat that can be eaten in its ‘raw’ state or cooked further.
  • A simple curing process will reach the final product.

Difference between Pork and Bacon

1. Function of  Pork and Bacon

Pork and bacon are edible products from a pig.  Bacon goes through a curing process to get to its functional state as cured meat.  This would give bacon more functional options than pork.

2. Varieties in  Pork and Bacon

Although there are different breeds of pig resulting in different types of pork the pork cuts generally offered are the same.  Bacon however has different curing processes and different flavors.  Bacon can be used in its raw cured state or cooked.

3. Curing

Pork can be cured to make a belly of pork or a butt of pork but the process is the same as curing bacon.  Cured bacon has different uses in different products adding variety to cured food.

4. Value of  Pork and Bacon

Pork and bacon both have their value as they are popular cuts of meat and used extensively across the world.  Bacon adds flavor while pork adds meat to many dishes.

5. Popularity of  Pork and Bacon

Statistics show that pork is very popular.  The versatility of pork and its texture make it a popular form of protein.  Bacon is a product of pork and is widely used to flavor dishes and make pork products. 

Pork vs. Bacon : Comparison chart of  Pork and Bacon



The raw meat harvested from a pig. Cured meat using raw pork.
Simply used, a key protein of various pork dishes. Bacon is added to dishes to provide unique flavors.
Must be cooked thoroughly to avoid contamination by parasites. The boiling and smoking process cooks the meat and cures it to be ready to eat either in its cured state or with further cooking.
Pork is the raw state of the meat it, requires a cooking process to make it edible. Bacon goes through several curing processes and can be eaten in its raw state or cooked.
The raw pork is cut and portioned with no additives prior to cooking. Bacon goes through the curing process and large amounts of sodium and other additives are part of the process.
Pork offers the whole carcass for use in making meat dishes and other delicacies. Bacon is the result of the curing process and only uses the middle cut of the carcass.

Summary of  Pork and Bacon

  • Pork and its cured products are both popular cuts of meat.
  • The process of curing pork is simple and well managed to ensure standards are kept in the industry of processing cured meats.
  • Pork is one of the most popular meats especially in Asian cooking while cured meats and sausages add wonderful flavorings to a variety of dishes.
  • Pork holds its shape as well and offers a palatable meat that is has a pleasant texture and sweetness.  It is a good basic form of protein.
  • Pigs are bred primarily for their meat – pork.  They are readily available for the purpose of providing pork and pork products.
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1 Comment

  1. The difference between pork and bacon has not come out clearly.

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References :

[0]Murray.T. Michael, ND, What is Pork, www.sharecare.com/health/health, Value of food, Sharecare Inc.

[1]Filippone Trowbridge Peggy 10.03.17 What is Bacon, www.thespruce.com

[2]"Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_chop"

[3]"Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CookedBacon.jpg"

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