The Real Difference Between Ham And Bacon

When most people think about both ham and bacon, there are probably not many differences that come to mind. Since they both come from a pig, they're pretty much the same, right? Well actually, that's not exactly as true as you might think. Though both may seem as if they're one in the same, there's a huge difference between the two beloved meats — and no, it's not just the taste that they both present. 

According to the Wiltshire Bacon Co., the main difference between ham and bacon can be identified right at the beginning of their creation. Ham, while regularly coming from the hind leg of a pig, can actually be derived from multiple parts of the carcass and has a less exact definition than you might think. Additionally, ham is typically sold pre-cooked and can be consumed immediately after purchasing, which is probably why Heritage Foods describes it as being "one of the most consumed pork products in the world".

Bacon may need a little more work

Bacon, on the other hand (which WebstaurantStore defines as being "a type of salt-cured pork") is cut from a few parts of the pig other than the legs. In the United States, bacon commonly comes from the belly and side of a pig (sometimes referred to as the pork belly); but in other areas of the world, like the United Kingdom, bacon — which is sometimes called Irish bacon, rasher, or Canadian bacon — is frequently cut from the loin in the middle of the pig's back, according to The Spruce Eats. Furthermore, bacon, unlike ham, is usually sold raw and therefore must be cooked before consuming (via Wiltshire Bacon Co.).

Ultimately, Wiltshire Bacon Co. says that one of the most identifiable differences about ham and bacon is the way that they are each served, with ham usually being divvied out cold and bacon being consumed while still hot. (Though we've all likely had our fair share of perfect pineapple-topped glazed hams.) Regardless of your preference between the two, there are more than enough mouthwatering dishes featuring both meats available to please any palate.