Bacon is the name given to the fatty part under the skin of an animal, mainly a pig . It can come from the side (English and American-style bacon) or from the belly (Italian pancetta), or from the back (fatback, which is almost pure fat).

Bacon is sold in many different forms. It can come in long slices or diced into lardons, and fresh or smoked. Pork side bacon is cut into thick slices. Unsliced bacon can be bought in trays in the delicatessen section of a supermarket or by the piece at a deli.

Fresh or smoked bacon can be bought in a thick block and diced into lardons of different sizes. It can only be cut into uniformly thin slices with an electric slicer.

Bacon can be blanched, pan-fried, or braised.

If fried without any added fat or oil, sliced bacon becomes crispy. It is an essential part of an American breakfast. If used to wrap paupiettes and stuffed vegetables, bacon leaves them tender and adds its characteristic flavor. When rendered, bacon fat becomes lard. It is used as a fat for cooking. Barding refers to rolling slices of fatty bacon around roasts to prevent them from drying out.

Cuts of bacon can be kept for three days in the refrigerator if wrapped tightly in its original packaging. If presliced and in a tray, it keeps for a week before opening, and up to three days after opening. Lard can be stored for several weeks in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen.