Bacon is a meat product prepared from cured pork. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either a brine or a dry packing. Fresh bacon may then be dried for weeks or months in cold air, or it may be boiled or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon are typically cooked before eating, often by pan frying. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but they may be cooked further before eating. Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. It can be made from the pork belly or from back cuts, which has less fat than the belly.
Bacon may be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked, or grilled. It is eaten on its own, as a side dish (particularly in breakfasts), or used as a minor ingredient to flavour dishes (e.g., the club sandwich). Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game, including venison and pheasant. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning "buttock", "ham" or "side of bacon", and is cognate with the Old French bacon.
Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon, and may even be referred to as "bacon". Such use is common in areas with significant Jewish and Muslim populations, both of which prohibit the consumption of pigs. For safety, bacon may be treated to prevent trichinosis, caused by Trichinella, a parasitic roundworm which can be destroyed by heating, freezing, drying, or smoking.
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