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Old 03-23-2005, 04:14 PM   #1
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Ham, pork, bacon...

For once and for all can I get an explanation of what exactly is the difference. I realize bacon is smoke cured, I think, but I'd like a more definitive thing here...

Like ham and pork; this is where I get lost..If I get something called a "ham steak" what is the difference between that and a pork chop? They are from the same animal, I think. is one already salted or something? is it the cut that makes the difference?

may as well throw in all these terms; fat back, salt pork. what do those mean?

also can you go through the italian versions of this. Prosciutto, this is like bacon but it is not smoked? there are some other varieties of ham, but I cant recall what they call them...

Probably dumb questions, but I think other people might wonder as well, I know I am never really sure....

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Old 03-23-2005, 04:16 PM   #2
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Can't tell you myself. Even though they all come from the same place, they all counted as different meats in my book. I think bacon is the layer of meat and fat closest to the skin though, but I'm not sure.
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Old 03-23-2005, 04:26 PM   #3
 
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Ok. I will take the pork on!

bacon = American bacon = streaky bacon (British) Pronunciation: BAY-kuhn Notes: Bacon is a very fatty slab taken from the underside of a pig. The bacon sold in markets is usually cured and smoked, but it's also possible to buy uncured fresh bacon = pork belly = side pork.
[I often call pork belly -- joe bacon; if it is smoked, I call it smoked joe]

fatback Notes: This is a slab of fat that runs along the back of a pig. You can render it into lard, cut it into barding strips to wrap around lean roasts, or use it to line terrine or pâté pans. It you're cutting it into sheets, it helps to put it in the freezer first until it's firm. It's also sometimes cured like bacon. It's hard to find, ask your butcher. Substitutes: caul fat (great for making terrines or pâtés, but hard to find) OR bacon (blanch before using; good for barding or lining terrine pans) OR salt pork (blanch first)

pancetta = Italian bacon Pronunciation: pan-SHEH-tuh Notes: Pancetta is the Italian counterpart to our bacon. It's cured, but not smoked, and it's often used to give a subtle salty flavor to pasta sauces. Deli counters often carry cylinders of it, and slice it to order. Substitutes: equal parts prosciutto and salt pork OR unsmoked lean bacon OR bacon (Blanch it first in boiling water for a couple of minutes to tone down the smoky flavor.) OR prosciutto

salt pork Notes: This is a salt-cured chunk of fat that comes from pork bellies. It's used in much the same way as bacon, though salt pork is fattier and not smoked. Substitutes: bacon OR ham OR pancetta
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Old 03-23-2005, 04:56 PM   #4
 
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Oh, and I forgot. A ham steak is just a thick slice of ham -- either smoked or not.

see this link for an explanation of pork cuts http://www.foodsubs.com/MeatPork.html
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:00 PM   #5
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I still dont get the difference between pork and ham, but the other stuff you posted is useful. thx.
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:04 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpinmaryland
I still dont get the difference between pork and ham, but the other stuff you posted is useful. thx.
Pork is a fresh pig leg cut. Ham is the same cut, brined/salted or brined/salted and smoked.
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:11 PM   #7
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this article is quite useful (many cuts are dicsussed here) although on the pork vs ham thing; I do not think it is saying the same thing as you

http://www.ljworld.com/section/cookingqa/story/77325

what I gather from the article; ham is from a certain section of the pig and you are telling me it depends on whether it is brined or not. hmmm.

Is ham a sub group of pork? Getting this answered might help...
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:13 PM   #8
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My understanding is that pork is just a term used to talk about meat from a pig.

Ham is a cut of meat. The cut of meat from a hog's hind leg, generally from the middle of the shank bone to the aitch (hip) bone.
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:15 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpinmaryland
this article is quite useful (many cuts are dicsussed here) although on the pork vs ham thing; I do not think it is saying the same thing as you

http://www.ljworld.com/section/cookingqa/story/77325

what I gather from the article; ham is from a certain section of the pig and you are telling me it depends on whether it is brined or not. hmmm.

Is ham a sub group of pork? Getting this answered might help...
Yes. When I say brining, I don't mean a short soak in salt water, I mean a cure, which can use either salt water or a dry seasoning mixture.
http://www.foodsubs.com/MeatcureHams.html
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:26 PM   #10
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and bacon? Bacon comes from a different place than ham. So bacon is type of pork but it is not ham?
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