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I see pancetta next to the bacon at a local butcher and was wondering what the difference was between the two?

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I addition to what Tabiasopdenbrouw said, and more to the point of usage/taste:

  1. Bacon is typically cut thinner and ends up crispier than pancetta.
  2. Both are often rendered for their fat before adding onions, peppers, etc... to the pan to pick up those pork fat flavors.
  3. Pancetta is often saltier in flavor though this is usually the case because the pancetta is cut thicker or into dices, so you get bigger bites of it and thus more salt. This is the biggest different between the two.
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Bacon and pancetta are both made from pork bellies; the difference between them lies in how they’re prepared and cured. To make bacon, pork belly sides are brined and then smoked. Pancetta, the Italian version of bacon, is made by seasoning a pork belly side with salt and lots of pepper, curling it into a tight roll, and wrapping it in a casing to hold the shape. It’s cured, but it isn’t smoked.

From here.

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Actually, you can get smoked pancetta and un-smoked bacon. Usually Italian pancetta is much thinnly sliced or diced instead. Does not really cook well in a pan as bacon does. –  lorenzog Aug 5 '10 at 13:24
    
Yeah, perhaps I should have mentioned some more varieties. :) –  Tobias Op Den Brouw Aug 5 '10 at 13:30
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This assumes that we're asking about American bacon (uk: streaky bacon), not 'back bacon' (us: canadian bacon) –  Joe Aug 5 '10 at 14:30
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Canadian bacon, pfft. It's called peameal bacon. –  Aaronut Aug 5 '10 at 14:36
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mhhhh pancetta... mmmmhhh bacon.... There are only two things that nature intended to be used only as food: honey, and pork. –  Stefano Borini Aug 5 '10 at 21:01
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pancetta resembels to unsmoked bacon and it is cured in salt and spices usually rolled into a sausage shape and a bacon is normally not rolled and is smoked.....pancetta is from belly and bacon can be from back,belly and hind leg....hope this helps u...

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