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Thursday 13 January 2011

Ham, Bacon or Gammon ?

Did you know? Regardless of where on the pig, if you apply salt to the pork it is then known as ham, bacon or gammon. Confusing right? Myself I try to simplify the terminology by applying this method, follow me and see if you agree.
Imagine a pig laid out in front of you, cut off it's head, now cut away the shoulder & hand after the fifth rib, cut away the pig middle from the leg. We now have 4 pieces of pork, with me so far?
If I was to salt the head, I would then refer to it as a cured pigs head.
The shoulder & hand I would probally seperate into two pieces and if I salted these I would refer to them as collared bacon for the shoulder and a cured hand of pork.
The pig middle as a whole piece salted, I would refer to as whole or middle bacon, if I were to seperate the belly pork from the loin and salt these individually, then I would refer to them as streaky bacon (belly) and shortback bacon (loin).
The leg of pork can be called a ham, but I prefer to call it a leg of pork, when salted it is then I refer to it as a ham. If I were to break it down into smaller joints, I would refer to them being gammon joints or smaller still as gammon steaks.
Do you agree with me in this explanation?


  1. I've only ever had back bacon in England, and it was a revelation! Of course, I'm very fond of our usual bacon here (streaky bacon); but given a choice, I would take back bacon any time.

  2. May I be your apprentice? I'll be a good girl, promise :D

  3. Here in the States, we call cured and smoked belly "bacon", and cured and smoked Loin" Canadian Bacon" ( but not sure why )..

    PS... If you don't want Sommer as an intern, I"ll take her. :)


  4. Todd, C'Mon who in their right mind would refuse Sommer as an "intern"...ha ha

    Jean, Does your family remember Ayrshire roll and Black bacon?

    Sommer, This weekend Maria of www.thisismariaelia.com starts as my new apprentice, she is keen to become trained in Butchery and Charcuterie, she is already an accomplished chef in her own right. I have been thinking of contacting you for a joint venture in Germany when I'm there next, a little earner for us both to host.

  5. I like your nomenclature of bacon. What about green bacon? Is that a term still used in your area? Also I like the word flitch, I've been trying work it into regular usage.


  6. Hi Mac, we still use the word "green" bacon as we do black bacon, flitch I like to use to describe the whole middle, all this terminology can get frustrating if you are new to the subject hence the post. You are very familiar with the subject, how do you describe the bacon cuts stateside?