Who Invented Bacon?


Bacon is a beloved and widely consumed food item. Its crispy, salty, and smoky flavor has made it a staple in many cuisines around the world. But have you ever wondered who invented bacon? In this article, we will delve into the history of bacon and explore the origins of this mouthwatering delight.

The Early Origins of Bacon

The concept of curing and smoking meat has been practiced for centuries. The preservation of meat through salting, smoking, or drying was a common method used by ancient civilizations to ensure a longer shelf life for their food. The origins of bacon can be traced back to ancient times when people discovered the art of preserving pork.

Ancient Civilizations and the Origins of Cured Pork

One of the earliest recorded forms of cured pork can be attributed to the ancient Chinese civilization. The Chinese were known for their culinary innovations, and they were among the first to preserve pork by salting and smoking it. This method allowed the pork to be stored for extended periods, making it a valuable food source.

Around the same time, the Romans were also experimenting with the preservation of pork. They created a product called “petaso,” which was made by boiling pork with figs, and then smoking and drying it. This early form of bacon was a favorite among the Roman soldiers, who found it to be a convenient and nutritious food during their military campaigns.

The Evolution of Bacon

While the ancient civilizations laid the foundation for bacon, it was during the Middle Ages that bacon started to resemble the product we know today. During this period, bacon was made from pork belly, which is the same cut used in modern-day bacon.

The Influence of the Normans

In the 11th century, the Normans invaded England, bringing with them their culinary traditions. They introduced a method of curing pork that involved rubbing the meat with salt and allowing it to air-dry for several weeks. This technique, known as “dry curing,” transformed the pork into a delicious and flavorful product.

The Rise of Back Bacon

During the 17th century, a new type of bacon emerged in England called back bacon. Unlike traditional bacon made from pork belly, back bacon was made from the loin, which is a leaner cut of meat. This cut included the back and the tenderloin, resulting in a meatier and less fatty bacon.

The History of Bacon

BACON | How It’s Made

Bacon in America

The arrival of European settlers in America brought bacon to the New World. American colonists continued the tradition of curing and smoking pork, and bacon became a staple in their diet. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that bacon production in America began to industrialize.

The Industrial Revolution and Bacon Production

The invention of the refrigerated railroad car in the mid-19th century revolutionized the meat industry. This innovation allowed for the transportation of fresh meat over long distances, including bacon. As a result, bacon production increased, and it became more readily available to consumers.

The Birth of “Streaky” Bacon

With the industrialization of bacon production, a new type of bacon called “streaky” bacon was introduced. Streaky bacon is made from pork belly, but unlike traditional bacon, it includes both the fatty and lean portions of the belly. This type of bacon gained popularity in America and remains a favorite choice for many bacon lovers.

The Modern Bacon Industry

Today, bacon is a multi-billion dollar industry, with various types and flavors available to consumers worldwide. The invention of modern food processing techniques, such as injection curing and liquid smoking, has further expanded the possibilities for bacon production.

Bacon Varieties and Flavors

There are numerous varieties and flavors of bacon, catering to different tastes and preferences. Some popular varieties include maple bacon, peppered bacon, applewood-smoked bacon, and even vegetarian bacon made from plant-based ingredients.

The Future of Bacon

As technology and culinary innovation continue to advance, the future of bacon looks promising. Scientists and food researchers are constantly exploring new methods to enhance the taste and texture of bacon while making it healthier and more sustainable.


Bacon has come a long way from its ancient origins. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly who invented bacon, it is clear that various civilizations and cultures have contributed to its development over time. From the ancient Chinese and Romans to the Normans and American colonists, bacon has evolved into a global culinary phenomenon that continues to delight taste buds around the world.

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