When most people think of bacon, they’re thinking of the thin sliced, wet and slippery bacon of the Hormel, Wright, Tyson, etc varietal to be found at the grocery store. It’s often fried to a crisp and is super salty, maybe a little smoky, and usually satisfying. It’s bacon.
But American bacon is just cured (and often smoked) pork belly, which is a loose description that involves techniques that can be applied in many ways. Wet or dry cure? Wet is more popular in commercial production. How long is it cured? Is it smoked, and for how long? And is it dried? The longer the dry, the more moisture is lost and it doesn’t result in pieces ideal for frying (in my opinion).
But when it’s been cured, smoked, and sufficiently dried, it effectively becomes charcuterie. You can eat it “raw” (it’s also called fresh or green bacon), and it’s safe to eat and can be cut thin like you would prosciutto, without having a slithery unappealing character. A friend recently offered some up with a simple dressing of thyme, lemon, and pepper and it was fantastic. A new experience, and a different way of thinking of “bacon”. The possibilities are so much greater than what can be found at the store, and it’s so easy to do at home.