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Where Does Bacon Come From

by Lyndon Langley
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Where Does Bacon Come From

Where Does Bacon Come From

If you’re like me, then you love bacon. You may even enjoy it more than ham or sausage. It’s salty and crispy with just enough fat to make your mouth water. In fact, I can’t get enough bacon. The only problem that I’ve had lately is trying to figure out where all this delicious bacon goodness comes from. And if you ever wondered about what happens after the pig gets butchered, you’ll learn everything you need to know in this article.
First things first – why do we eat pork? For one thing, pork contains selenium which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Pork also contains vitamin B6, niacin, folate and zinc. These nutrients help our bodies metabolize carbohydrates and fats properly. So not only are pigs full of nutrition, they’re also good for us. But perhaps the most important reason to eat pork is because it tastes so darn good!
Pigs are omnivores, meaning that they consume both plant and animal matter. They feed on acorns, roots vegetables, fruits, weeds, bugs and worms. Pigs will root around in mud looking for food. This means that their digestive system works much better than ours. Their stomach acid is very strong, containing hydrochloric acid which helps break down plants and other materials within the stomach. They also possess special bacteria that allow them to digest cellulose, such as hay, wood chips and tree bark.

After the pig has eaten its fill it goes right back to sleep. When it wakes up again it looks for something else to eat. During the winter months when pigs aren’t eating anything at all they end up going through tremendous weight loss due to lack of calories.
Once the pig reaches slaughter size its body parts are divided into three categories: edible meat, non-edible meat and trimmings. Edible meat is used for human consumption while the rest is used for pet food or fertilizer. Trimmings include all of the remaining pieces of flesh, skin, blood, bone, hooves, ears and tails. All of these items are considered byproducts.
The next step is to remove any excess fat surrounding each organ. There are two methods of doing this. First method involves removing the outer layer of muscle tissue with a knife. Second method uses chemicals to dissolve the connective tissues between muscles. The second method is preferred because it produces less waste and doesn’t require refrigeration. Once the surface fat has been removed the individual organs are separated from each other. Each organ is washed thoroughly and placed on a table to be inspected.
Next, each organ is examined carefully. If an organ appears misshapen or otherwise unhealthy it will be rejected. Skin is trimmed away from the organs using scissors. Next, the bones are cut away using a sharp blade. Finally, the internal organs are put into a big pot to be boiled. After boiling, the organs are cleaned and inspected once more before being sent off to be processed.
Now let’s talk processing. Processing begins by injecting air into the intestines. Air injection prevents the intestines from becoming too rigid during cooking. Once the intestines are injected with air, they are packed tightly together to prevent leakage. Then, the intestines are filled with brine solution and tied shut. This process is repeated until the intestines reach the desired thickness. A machine known as a gut packer puts pressure on the intestines to hold them together. This allows them to cook evenly without leaking. The intestinal casing is set aside and the contents are cooked further.
Cooking the bacon takes place in large pots over high heat. An operator controls the temperature inside the pot using a series of burners. As the contents of the pot boil, they release a lot of steam. To keep the temperature lower it’s necessary to add extra oxygen (through the use of soda). Also, the addition of carbon dioxide gas keeps the temperature higher. The main purpose of adding carbon dioxide is to keep the moisture level low. Too much moisture causes the meat to spoil. Carbon dioxide is added at the rate of 80 pounds per cubic foot every 10 minutes.

To ensure that the product cooks evenly, each batch is manually turned over five times throughout the cooking process. Cooking time varies depending on how thick the slices of bacon are. Thick cuts take longer to cook. Thin cuts should only take about 30 minutes. After cooking, the finished bacon is cooled down quickly with cold water.
When it comes to making bacon, no two batches are exactly alike. That’s because every part of the pig undergoes various treatments. Different regions of the country produce bacon with varying quality levels. Some areas use natural curing agents while others rely solely on salt. Salt provides ample amounts of sodium nitrite which protects against bacterial contamination. Sodium nitrite is actually a chemical compound used in medicine.
As mentioned earlier, bacon is made from pork belly. Pork bellies are usually cured by smokehouses. However, some people prefer to cure their own pork bellies. Curing pork bellies requires the use of spices and herbs. Many recipes call for brown sugar, molasses, mustard seed, cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, sage, thyme and pepper. Other ingredients include turmeric, coriander, chili powder and paprika.
Smoked bacon is produced by smoking fresh pork belly. Smoking is accomplished by suspending the pork belly above burning coals or oak logs. The smoke imparts a sweet flavor similar to hickory. Smokers typically run 24 hours a day. After the smoker runs for a few days, the bacon is ready to be sliced and packaged.
Hog casings are primarily used to package fresh bacon. Hog casings come in either natural or synthetic form. Natural hog casings are made from collagen fibers found in the skins of slaughtered hogs. Synthetic casings are made from plastic. Both types are available in bulk quantities from many grocery stores. Before slicing, fresh bacon must pass through a hydraulic press. Pressing squeezes out excess liquid and breaks apart the cells. Then it’s ready to be wrapped in hog casings.
Making bacon isn’t difficult, but it does take practice. Every part of the pig contributes to the final taste. By following the steps outlined here you’ll be able to create truly unique flavors. Bon Appetit!
You might think that bacon is easy to make since it’s pretty much just raw pork. Not so fast. Bacon production is a complex process requiring lots of attention. Here are just a few of the tasks involved:
1) Chopping the meat into strips
2) Cutting the fat
3) Spicing the meat
4) Slicing the meat
5) Drying the meat
6) Packaging the meat
7) Spraying the meat with lard
8) Storing the meat
9) Preparing the bacon
10) Wrapping the bacon
11) Cooking the bacon
12) Inspecting the bacon
13) Checking the equipment
14) Restringing the bacon
15) Defrosting the bacon
16) Blocking the bacon
17) Finishing the bacon
18) Packing the bacon
19) Shaping and cutting the bacon
20) Placing the bacon in the oven
21) Cooking the bacon
22) Cooling the bacon
23) Unwrapping the bacon
24) Cleaning the bacon slicers
25) Testing the bacon
26) Chilling the bacon
27) Making the bacon
28) Refrigerating the bacon
29) Removing the bacon from packaging
30) Rolling the bacon
31) Slitting the bacon
32) Defrosting the bacon
33) Defragging the bacon
34) Brushing the bacon
35) Storing the bacon
36) Putting the bacon in the oven
37) Pulling the bacon
38) Coiling the bacon
39) Sealing the bacon
40) Rewrapping the bacon
41) Cooking the bacon
42) Opening the bacon
43) Striking the bacon
44) Cutting the bacon
45) Grinding the bacon
46) Slicing the bacon
47) Tying the bacon
48) Blocking the bacon
49) Finishing the bacon
50) Packing the bacon
51) Defrosting the bacon
52) Defragging the bacon
53) Brushing the bacon
54) Storing the bacon
55) Making the bacon
56) Rolled the bacon
57) Slitted the bacon
58) Cut the bacon
59) Ground the bacon
60) Cook the bacon
61) Wrap the bacon
62) Block the bacon
63) Finish the bacon
64) Put the bacon in the oven
65) Take the bacon out of the oven
66) Wash the bacon
67) Dry the bacon
68) Place the bacon in the fridge
69) Remove the bacon from the packaging
70) Lay the bacon flat
71) Pierce the bacon
72) Fry the bacon
73) Cook the bacon
74) Rub the bacon
75) Grill the bacon
76) Bake the bacon
77) Broil the bacon
78) Poach the bacon
79) Smoke the bacon

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