Bacon is a cut from the fatty pork belly that is usually cured and smoked over aromatic woods such as apple, hickory, and mesquite. It is available pre-sliced (thin or thick) or whole, called slab bacon. Bacon is often fried and served with eggs or in sandwiches, and it may be wrapped around lean meats to keep them moist while cooking, called barding. Bacon may be flavored with ingredients like maple, peppercorns, or paprika. Like many cured meats, bacon contains nitrates, which contribute to the characteristic cured flavor and reddish-pink color of cured meats and act as a preservative to prevent rancidity. Nitrates and salt inhibit the growth of botulism. Nitrate-free bacon is available in natural foods stores.

from Quirk Books: