Gammon, Bacon or Ham… What’s the difference?

Brilliant Bacon

Back, streaky and middle bacon rashers come from either the back or belly of the pig.  The curing process uses a salt preparation to remove water from the meat; either in the form of a dry cure rubbed over the meat or a wet cure in which the meat is immersed or injected.  Wet cure tends to add weight to the meat and therefore when cooked a curd type white liquid will be released into your pan.  Dry cure removes water from the meat and will give a superior cooked bacon without the white scum.   After curing, bacon may be smoked to give another subtle level of flavour.
Streaky, back or middle are the most popular rashers, but bacon can also be produced from collar.

mangalitza back bacon

Mangalitza back bacon

Glorious Gammon

This is cured pork from the hind legs of the pig.  The curing process is the same as that used for bacon, a highly skilled method of preserving meat using salt (either in a brine solution or dry cured using a salt based rub).  Dry curing tends to prduce more subtle flavour and an improved meat texture.  After curing, gammon may also be smoked to give a more intense flavour.
Gammon is available from your butcher as a bone-in or boneless joint and also as gammon steaks.

Hero Ham

Ham is quite simply another term for the slices from a cooked gammon – sometimes known as Gammon ham.
Ham is often flavoured during the cooking process with specialist coatings: honey, mustard or a brown sugar glaze.  It is possible to buy a raw ham joint to cook at home but most people prefer to buy ham that is pre-cooked, sliced and ready to eat.
Whilst ham is traditionally served in sandwiches and salads it’s great combined with pasta, or added to omelettes. pies and quiches, savoury scones and muffins.

The Cuts – Rashers, Joints or Steaks… what’s the difference?

Collar Joint

This cut makes an excellent joint which can be boiled or braised.  The collar joint may also be sliced into rashers.  As a joint it needs to be well soaked before cooking.

Back Bacon Rashers

Made from the loin or back of the pig, can be dry cured or brine cured.  This cut is usually sold as rashers or thick bacon chops.  It is lean and cut thinly as rashers.  Bacon chops can be fried, grilled or baked.  Alternatively a thick piece can also be used for boiling, braising or roasting.

Middle Bacon Rashers

An economical buy, middle rashers are a breakfast time favourite for many and are essentially both the back bacon rashers and streaky bacon rashers in one piece.  Usually rolled.

middle bacon on slicer

middle bacon on slicer

Forehock or Gammon Hock

Hocks provide really tasty meat for casseroles, soups, pies, terrines and mincing.

Streaky Bacon Rashers

Streaky bacon is cured pork belly.  A firm favourite with some, streaky bacon rashers offer a balance of tasty lean with fat and are best when grilled.  A joint of streaky bacon is good boiled and pressed, to eat cold.  Streaky bacon gives especially good value for money.

streaky bacon on slicer

streaky bacon on slicer

Middle Gammon

A lean, meaty cut for boiling, braising, roasting or baking.  This is a prime joint and a convenient size for many uses.  Gammon steaks are usually cut from this joint.  They are excellent grilled or fried.

For more information see

About cwildman

Local Food Evangelist, 5th Generation Butcher based in the Yorkshire Dales, England. Town End Farm Shop, Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie, Home of The Yorkshire Chorizo.
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1 Response to Gammon, Bacon or Ham… What’s the difference?

  1. Pingback: Gammon, Bacon or Ham… What’s the difference? - Leeds Foodies

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