What is Market Style Bacon? A Complete Guide to This Gourmet Cut

Bacon has long been a breakfast staple but not all bacons are created equal. One premium variety that is growing in popularity is market style bacon. Prized for its thick meaty texture and robust smoky flavor, market style has earned a reputation as the gourmet bacon of choice.

But what exactly sets market style bacon apart? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this upscale cut.

What is Market Style Bacon?

Market style bacon is a type of artisanal bacon that originated from small butcher shops and meat markets. It features a higher ratio of meat to fat compared to regular supermarket bacon. Market style bacon is cut thicker with a more uniform width and has a firmer, meatier texture when cooked.

The term “market style” comes from its roots being sold at specialty meat markets. It’s also sometimes called “butcher’s cut” bacon. This premium bacon provides a heartier bacon-eating experience compared to regular thin and fatty streaky bacon.

Characteristics of Market Style Bacon

Here are the main characteristics that set market style bacon apart

  • Thicker cut around 1⁄4 inch, uniform width
  • Higher meat-to-fat ratio than regular bacon
  • Firmer, chewier texture when cooked
  • Leaner looking with less white fat striations
  • Made from pork belly
  • Dry cured then hardwood smoked
  • Robust smoky, porky flavor
  • Sold at butcher shops, meat markets, upscale grocers
  • Higher price tag than regular bacon

Flavor Profile

The flavor of market style bacon is deeply porky, smoky, salty, and savory. The ample lean meat gives it a meatier flavor compared to regular bacon. The taste has been described as more “ham-like.”

Since market style bacon contains less fat overall, the smoky flavor doesn’t dominate as much. The smoke contributes a pleasant backdrop without being overpowering. Expect a more well-rounded bacon taste.

When cooked properly, market style bacon develops a pleasing balance of flavors. You get sweetness from the cure, savoriness from the pork, and smokiness from the hardwood smoking. It’s a more complete bacon-eating experience.

Where Does Market Style Bacon Come From on the Pig?

Authentic market style bacon is cut from the same part of the pig as regular bacon – the pork belly. This section of the belly runs from the shoulder to the hind legs on either side of the pig’s abdomen.

The difference lies in how the pork belly is prepared. Market style bacon comes from pork bellies that are higher quality with a greater amount of lean meat and less fat. The butcher or producer hand selects belly cuts with the ideal meat-to-fat ratio to achieve the thicker, meatier market style cuts.

How Is It Prepared?

Market style bacon undergoes a specialized dry curing and smoking process

1. Curing – The pork bellies are cured for 5-7 days in a mixture of salt, sugars, and nitrites. This adds flavor and preserves the meat.

2. Smoking – After curing, the pork bellies are smoked slowly over natural hardwoods like hickory, apple, maple, or cherry wood. This infuses a rich smoky flavor.

3. Slicing – The smoked pork belly is then hand-sliced into 1⁄4 inch thick slices. This showcases the bacon’s premium marbling and texture.

4. Packaging – The sliced market style bacon is packaged for retail sale at butcher shops, specialty grocers, and high-end markets.

So artisanal curing, smoking, and hand-slicing techniques result in the supersized flavor and texture of market style bacon.

Brief History of Market Style Bacon

Bacon has been eaten since ancient times, but market style traces its origins back to old-fashioned meat markets and butcher shops.

Before modern factory farming, pigs were raised on small farms. Local butchers would hand-select the best pork bellies to produce thicker sliced bacon for their shops, the early origins of market style.

As mass-produced streaky bacon became widely available in the 20th century, some specialty butchers continued preparing heritage market style bacon for discerning customers. Its popularity grew as consumers rediscovered traditional handcrafted foods.

Today market style bacon is sold at upscale butcher shops, gourmet markets, and restaurants. It appeals to bacon aficionados seeking a premium artisanal eating experience.

Benefits of Market Style Bacon

Why choose market style bacon over regular supermarket bacon? Here are some of the benefits that market style offers:

Meatier, more substantial texture – The thick 1⁄4 inch slices have a heartier chew.

Enhanced pork flavor – Higher meat content equals bigger pork taste.

Less greasy – More meat and less fat means less greasy shrinkage.

Traditional curing and smoking – Made using artisanal preparation methods.

Specialty flavor – Complex balance of cured pork, smoke, and salt.

Supports small producers – Buying market style supports small butchers and farmers.

Higher quality experience – Overall more satisfying and flavorful than regular bacon.

So market style bacon provides a premium meat-eating experience thanks to its production methods, texture, and flavor.

Prices and Where to Buy Market Style Bacon

Since it’s a specialty artisanal bacon made in smaller batches, market style bacon costs more than regular mass-produced bacon. Expect to pay:

  • $6 to $12 per pound at high-end butcher shops and meat markets
  • $4 to $8 per pound at upscale grocery stores

When buying, look for the terms “market style,” “butcher’s cut,” or “premium thick-sliced” to identify market style bacon packs.

You can find market style bacon at:

  • Specialty butcher shops
  • Gourmet grocery stores like Whole Foods
  • Farmers markets from pork vendors
  • Online mail order bacon retailers
  • High-end restaurants and hotels

Seek out local butchers and meat purveyors in your area offering market style to get the freshest options. You’ll taste the difference that artisanal craftsmanship makes.

Is Market Style Bacon Better Than Regular Bacon?

Market style and regular supermarket bacon both have their merits and are good choices for different reasons.

Market style advantages:

  • Thicker, meatier texture
  • Leaner and less greasy
  • More concentrated porky flavor
  • Artisanal preparation
  • Specialty experience

Regular bacon advantages:

  • Lower cost
  • Widely available
  • Thinner slices for biscuits etc.
  • Classic streaky appearance
  • Strong smoky flavor

So market style bacon provides a premium eating experience thanks to its production and flavor. But regular bacon is more affordable and accessible. Choose market style when you want an elevated bacon treat or regular for everyday cooking.

How to Cook Market Style Bacon

Cooking this thicker bacon requires some technique adjustments. Here are tips for getting the perfect texture and flavor:

  • Use a cast iron or ovenproof skillet to distribute heat evenly

  • Cook on medium-low heat to render fat slowly

  • Turn bacon often to prevent curling and ensure even cooking

  • Bake in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes if you prefer

  • Cook to your desired level of crispiness

  • Blot on paper towels to remove excess grease

Keep in mind that the meatier market style bacon can take a few minutes longer to reach crispy perfection. But the wait is worth it!

Serving and Storing Cooked Market Style Bacon

Market style bacon pairs deliciously with many foods. Its meaty texture also enables more serving possibilities:

Serving ideas

  • Breakfast tacos or sandwiches
  • BLT sandwiches
  • Bacon burgers
  • Salads or potatoes
  • Pizza or nachos
  • Wrapped around steak, chicken, or shrimp


  • Room temperature for 2 hours
  • Fridge 3-4 days
  • Freezer up to 2 months

You can chop, crumble, or slice cooked market style bacon to creatively incorporate it into recipes. Its versatility matches its big flavor.

7 Popular Dishes and Recipes Using Market Style Bacon

The hearty texture and savory taste of market style bacon makes it perfect for both sweet and savory recipes. Here are some mouthwatering ways to enjoy it:

1. Pigs in a Blanket – Wrap market style bacon slices around cocktail sausages and bake until crispy.

2. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops – Wrap sea scallops in half-slices of market style bacon and broil until cooked.

3. Bacon and Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers – Mix crumbled blue cheese into burger meat and top with market style bacon before cooking.

4. Bacon Jam – Slow cook market style bacon with onions, coffee, brown sugar, and balsamic for a sweet and savory spread.

5. Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf – Cover a meatloaf in a blanket of market style bacon slices before baking for amazing flavor.

6. Candied Bacon – Coat thick market style slices with brown sugar and cayenne and bake until caramelized.

7. Gourmet Bacon Mac and Cheese – Mix chopped market style bacon into macaroni and cheese. Next level comfort food!

The uses for market style bacon are practically endless. Let your imagination run wild with this premium specialty bacon.

Common Questions about Market Style Bacon

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about this unique bacon:

Is market style bacon better for you?

It’s slightly healthier thanks to a higher ratio of protein to fat. But all bacon should be eaten in moderation.

Does market style bacon shrink less?

Yes, less overall fat means less grease rendered and shrinkage.

How thick is market style bacon cut?

It’s cut into 1⁄4 inch thick slices on average.

Why does market style bacon cost more?

Small batch artisanal production, specialty pork, and labor-intensive methods make it more expensive.

Is market style bacon lean?

It has more meat than regular bacon but still contains considerable fat content.

Is it OK to freeze market style bacon?

Freezing is fine for storing market style bacon. It will keep for 4-6 months frozen.

The Takeaway

Market style bacon deserves its reputation as the gourmet choice for bacon lovers. With its thick, uniform slices, meaty texture, complex flavor, and artisanal production, market style satisfies like no other. While the cost may be higher, true bacon connoisseurs agree that the premium eating experience is worth it. So venture beyond regular bacon to enjoy market style’s rich, smoky goodness!

Bacon Review – How To Buy The BEST Bacon At The Store…And What To Avoid!


What is really thick bacon called?

Thick-cut Bacon Kendyll Hillegas. Just like standard bacon, only thicker. Use this cut when you want to slice bacon into matchsticks (known as lardons). Cook until crisp for chewy bites that add flavor to salads, soups, and baked potatoes. Try it in: Stovetop Bacon Lasagna.

What is the tastiest cut of bacon?

Three types exist — slab, regular, and center cut. Meat lovers should opt for the latter since it’s the lowest in fat, containing up to 30% less than a normal slice. Derived from a part of the pork belly near the bone, it imparts more pork flavor without losing that irresistible bacon quality.

Is Bacon a staple in American cuisine?

Bacon is a staple in American cuisine, and you can find it as a side dish with breakfast foods or as an ingredient in all sorts of recipes.

What is a cottage style bacon?

– Unlike traditional bacon slices, which come from the belly, cottage bacon is derived from **pork shoulder** or **pork butt**—cuts that come from the upper part of the pig’s shoulder. 2.**Shape and Appearance**:

What does American bacon taste like?

Characteristics: American-style bacon is fatty, and it creates a lot of grease when it’s cooked. Part of the Pig: American-style bacon comes from the belly and sides of the pig, which have high fat contents. Flavor Profile: Due to the high fat content, this type of bacon crisps up well, resulting in a crunchy texture and a salty and smoky flavor.

What is streaky bacon?

Other regions will refer to this fatty slice as streaky bacon or side bacon. Cut in strips, thick or thin-cut, this bacon is made from the belly of the pig, cured, and smoked. It’s obvious where the term streaky comes from: The slices of meat from this part of the animal are striped with fat and muscle, giving it that streaky look.

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