Some of the most popular types of cured meat are prosciutto and bacon. They can look and taste the same.
A Prosciutto is a type of salted, air-dried ham originating from the Piedmont region of Italy, where it was traditionally produced with hogs fed exclusively on acorns.
Bacon is a meat product made from pork belly that has been cured and smoked.
They are each unique in their flavor, texture, curing process, and how they are eaten. If you want to understand what those differences are, read on as these meats go head-to-head.
This article will help you to know everything about their similarities and differences.
In Italian, the word “prosciutto” means “ham” and there are two types of prosciutto: “crudo” and “cotto”.
During pre-Roman times, villagers in Italy began to age pork legs to stretch their meat reserve for the winter season.
The traditional way of making prosciutto was refined over time and now is celebrated globally.
Prosciutto cotto isn’t as well-known as crudo, but it’s still delightful. It was produced by the Romans over two thousand years ago.
They put it in a pot with figs and laurel. It was considered a luxury during the Renaissance and enjoyed by the Italian aristocracy.
How Is Prosciutto Made?
Premium pork legs are used to make this product. The pork was left for several weeks after being coated in salt.
The water and blood are drawn out by the salt, which prevents the growth of bacteria. The reason it can be eaten raw is because of that.
The pork’s flavors are enhanced by the salting process. After this, the meat is washed, seasoned, and left to dry-age in a regulated environment for between 14 and 36 months.
The combination of air, salt, and time contributes to the sweet and subtle taste of prosciutto.
How Does Prosciutto Taste?
Prosciutto is sweet and salty at the same time.
For a more fragrant and distinctive taste, some variations are marinated with herbs and spices such as garlic, juniper, black pepper, and Rosemary.
The more time the meat is left to age, the more flavor it will have.
What Is the Best Way to Eat Prosciutto?
It is suggested that you serve it as wafer-thin slices to allow the fat to melt on your tongue. The flavor will be maximized by this.
The leaner parts of the meat have a salty and sweet flavor, and the creamy texture will cover your palate as you taste them.
It is possible to have it with melon or mozzarella for a snack. It can be served with a variety of cheese, vegetables, fruit, bread, and wine.
What Is Bacon?
Salt-cured bacon is a type of pork that has been taken from the belly.
The cured meat is either smoked or dried. Maple, apple, and other types of wood are used to smoke bacon, giving it the flavor of that particular tree.
The meat isn’t cooked because the process involves cold smoking. After the smoking process, the bacon is a deep pink with a golden rind and is ready to be cut.
Outside of the U.S., this type of bacon is called “American bacon” or “streaky bacon”. Canadian bacon is cut from the animal’s loin, which is leaner than regular bacon.
For hundreds of years, bacon was the primary meat consumed by western European people.
The types were distinguished by cut or curing process and became associated with individual regions or countries.
Due to its long shelf life, it became the only meat to achieve prominence as an international trade commodity during the late 19th century.
How Is Bacon Made?
The cured pork is soaked in a solution of nitrates, salt, and occasionally sugar. It is smoked quite a bit.
The fat in bacon allows it to be tender when cooked and provides the most flavor. One-half to two-thirds fat to meat is needed for a good bacon ratio.
As bacon needs to be cooked before it can be eaten, a lot of fat is rendered out.
What Does Bacon Taste Like?
Three of the three basic tastes are offered by bacon: sweet, salty, and savory.
The delicious taste of fat is something we have to keep in mind. We are drawn to salt because it is a key component of our bodies.
It enhances the flavors and counterbalances the sweet flavor.
What Is the Best Way to Eat Bacon?
When it’s dry, crisp, and served whole, bacon can be considered a portion of finger food. If it is cut into pieces, thick slices, or cooked but limp, it should be eaten using knives and forks.
It can be used as an ingredient in dishes such as soups, salads, and even desserts such as maple bacon ice cream.
Similarities and Differences Between Prosciutto and Bacon
Prosciutto and bacon are both cuts of pork from any breed of pig, and they both undergo a dry-curing process using salt as a natural preservative to achieve the final result.
Sometimes they are substituted for each other as recipe ingredients because they look and taste similar.
Differences Between Prosciutto and Bacon
These are some of the differences you will find between prosciutto and a slice of bacon.
To make prosciutto, the meat from the hind leg of a pig is used, it is cured in a lengthy process and takes over a year to complete, it starts with the leg being salted heavily and refrigerated for nearly a week.
The meat is hung and refrigerated for another two to three months to allow the salt to absorb into the meat thoroughly.
The meat needs to be washed to remove the salt. For a few more days, it was hung again.
The meat is softened with a teaspoon of salt, pepper, and lard mixture to prevent it from drying out too quickly as it is hung again at room temperature, to begin drying and hardening for three months.
The space is like a cellar and has less air and light to cure it. Some can cure for up to three years, while others only cure for at least nine months.
The law requires it to be cured for at least 400 days. This multi-staged, salt-curing process makes it safe to eat raw as an antipasto delicacy.
It is possible to smoke-cured bacon from the belly of an animal. A cured meat such as bacon is a type of meat.
It can be cured by seasoning the pork with a mixture of salt, sodium, nitrates, and sometimes sugar.
The meat is left for a couple of weeks to be washed off.
For extra flavor and preservation, a smoker is used, the meat is placed in a conventional oven or left to air dry, for weeks or months.
This is a faster version of dry curing and can be used to cure meat.
The bacon is injected with the standard curing ingredients like sugar, salt, seasonings, and other chemicals. Dry-cured meat is the same as cold-smoked meat.
Taste and Appearance
Prosciutto is a cut of meat that has a sweet and salty taste and has a buttery texture.
It typically has a salmon pink to rosy color and is sold in wafer-thin slices that are streaked with fat in each slice. Different types of wood are used for the smoking of bacon.
It could be applewood, which gives the particular tree its flavor. It has a deep pink color, a golden rind, can be cut thick or thinly, and can be smoked.
Prosciutto has a bad reputation due to its high salt content. Two prosciutto slices contain approximately 690 mg of sodium.
However, it is still a healthier option than bacon. A hundred grams of bacon has 1717 mg of salt content which is equal to 70% of your daily allowance.
How to Eat Prosciutto and Bacon?
Prosciutto is never cooked and bacon is never eaten raw.
Although their taste is the same, the typical dishes that use them as ingredients differ: as well as a staple delicacy on an antipasto board, prosciutto can be added to a salad as-is or used to add oomph to another dish.
Its delicate flavor works well with intense flavors like cheese and fruits.
According to the old saying, “everything’s better with bacon”, a full breakfast wouldn’t be incomplete without bacon.
Whenever there is a need for a hint of smoky taste, bacon is an excellent choice.
Cornbread can be converted completely with the help of bacon. Adding richness to a dish is something that could be done.
Prosciutto vs. Bacon Comparison Table
|Safe to eat raw.||Cooked before eating|
|Made from hind leg meat.||Made from the belly meat|
|Curing process can take 14 to 36 months.||Meat is smoked and cured for one week.|
|Sweet and salty taste||Has a smoky flavor|
Dry-cured meat, such as prosciutto and bacon, is popular in traditional Italian dishes.
Though they both go through a curing process and are both made from pork meat, they cannot be easily substituted for one another.
Prosciutto can be eaten raw, but it is made from the animal’s hindquarters and can only be cured for up to 24 months.
Bacon is made from the pig’s belly and cured for a week before being smoked and must be cooked.
From their source to our plates, you can see the similarities and differences between prosciutto and bacon.
As the Italians say, “goditi la tua carne!” Enjoy your meat.