We're living in an age of bacon mania. It’s no wonder then that worshippers of this holy pork get awfully protective over their prized meat. Canadian bacon?! What the heck is that? With Canadian bacon being served cold, thick cut, and suspiciously ham-like, how can it even use the same word as the crispy, smoked goodness that defines its true form? To compare such a sublime substance with what looks like a slab of cool ham is blasphemy, right?

Well, maybe not. Here's the real difference between Canadian bacon vs bacon. 

Canadian Bacon vs Bacon

beef, sausage, pork, meat, bacon
Andrew Zaky

The classic American bacon is heavily salted, cured, and then traditionally smoked. It's fried up and stacked in liberal proportions on pancakes, heart-stopping burgers, and sometimes even made into bowls…seriously.

Canadian bacon is a leaner and meatier cut than its decadent cousin, but is pretty similar in preparation except that it’s not usually smoked and is often pre-cooked before serving. This stuff is best served on something like a classic Eggs Benedict.

While many assume that bacon is simply the American style, which is cut from the belly or side of the pig, the technical definition also includes British and Canadian-style cuts along the loin or back.

bun, cheese, sandwich, bacon
Kelsey Coughlin

But if bacon can mean so many things, what really makes bacon what it is? The answer can only be that it’s thinly cut pork that's cured in a specific way. After all, you can even get jowl bacon from the cheek of the pig or cottage bacon from the shoulder. 

Don’t shoot the messenger here, but this means that both Canadian and American bacon are equal claimants to the hallowed title of bacon. Does that mean American-style bacon needs a further qualification? Luckily, us Brits are way ahead and have already come up with a name—it’s called streaky bacon.

Going to Toronto and asking for Canadian bacon would get you nowhere either. They call it 'Back Bacon' and it's not always served cold. In fact, in the humble British Isles we also almost always eat back bacon. 

Which Is Healthier?

herb, sandwich, parsley, vegetable, toast, bread
Kristine Mahan

You know what the difference is now, but can anything more persuade you to embrace the Canadian cut of bacon? The calorie difference may convince you to give it a go.

American-style (streaky) bacon comes in between 120-150 calories and 10-12 grams of fat uncooked, while the Canadian style is a mere 30 calories with less than 1 gram of fat! That’s a pretty crazy difference.

Is it enough though to convince the legions of the streaky bacon devotees? I would guess not. We hardly eat it to feel like angels and if you’re going to go the enter this dark, crackly cult then you might as well go all the way and smother it in delicious fat.

On a little side note from the Brit however, the word 'bacon' comes from the Old Germanic word baka, which actually means 'back.' So even if the Brits and the Canadians don’t win on the taste factor, we might just have the claim of the original bacon cut, so there!