How is guanciale different from regular bacon

Bacon vs. ham vs. bacon

Unfortunately, there is a bad habit in Germany that bacon, bacon and raw ham (cooked ham is something else) are taken as synonyms. However, this is not the case. Unfortunately, as a symptom of this, one often sees that people use these pre-cut cubes of cured ham when it should actually be cubes of bacon. There are also packaged, chopped bacon cubes, but they are relatively rare. Please, please, please just take normal smoked bacon in one piece and cut it into small pieces ... If you don’t believe it, try two servings of scrambled eggs, one with bacon and one with ham. It's like night and day.

The biggest difference between bacon and ham is the piece of meat they're made of.

Bacon is usually made from the belly or, in the case of white bacon, from the back fat of the pig. It is salted in and then smoked with pleasure. A distinction can be made between lightly smoked breakfast bacon (as you put it on the burger) and cold-smoked bacon for a long time. In Italy there is also bacon that is not smoked at all, only air-dried.

Ham is mostly made from ... drum roll ... the ham (that is, the hip) of the pig. It can be made in a wide variety of ways. In the south, the famous Parma and Serrano ham are only produced by dehydrating the salt and drying it in the air. In Germany, because of the more humid climate, people usually smoke like Black Forest ham or Katenschinken. Be careful, there is also bacon that is smoked in a similar way to Black Forest ham and then sold as Black Forest bacon. Ham can be made from anything. E.g. made from beef (called bresaola in Italy), saddle of pork (salmon ham) or ribs (square ham).

Confusing the two is devastating because the bacon contains much more fat and usually less salt. You can fry it longer and crispier without it becoming dry or black and it does not make the rest of the food too salty. You can also cook with ham (e.g. wrapped around a piece of fish or vegetables or on veal escalope as a saltimboca), but the recipe then usually states explicitly that you should use raw ham, Parma ham or the like and the cooking times are correspondingly shorter.

Both bacon and ham can be found cooked in stores. The color is then pink (if nitrite curing salt was used) or gray and the taste is completely different. Bacon is prepared in this way and sold as corrugated meat or Wammerl and ham as cooked ham.

Ham bacon or South Tyrolean bacon has a confusing name. It is a lightly smoked and air-dried ham. However, it is eaten like bacon (into thick slices and then cut into strips) and I guess that's where the name comes from.