Food - Drink
What Makes Pancetta And Bacon Different?
Most Americans are familiar with classic crispy bacon strips, but perhaps you've also wondered about pancetta, a similar fatty cured pork product. Cured pork expert Herb Eckhouse explains that “pancetta is sometimes called ‘Italian bacon.’ But it is not what we usually think of in the United States as bacon.”
According to USDA standards, bacon is “the cured belly of a swine carcass,” and its curing process involves soaking the meat in nitrates, sugar, and salt. The Spruce Eats notes that while bacon is traditionally cooked and eaten by itself in 1/16 inch-thick strips, or crumbled into bacon bits, pancetta is prepared and used differently.
Like bacon, pancetta is made from cured pork belly, but is unsmoked and flavored with spices including black pepper, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. After being seasoned, pancetta rests for 8 to 15 days, and the result is a softer and more clean-tasting pork product that can be eaten raw, or cooked as a component in sauces.