Tuesday, January 5, 2016

1/3 Making Real "Canadian Bacon"

Except actually what most people call "Canadian Bacon" is not Canadian or bacon.  It is really a smoked ham product and is not sold in Canada.

All of my grandparents were born in Canada, so every few months when I was growing up, my dad used to drive across the bridge into Canada and get the real thing, which over there is called "peameal bacon."  I grew up considering it a treat for breakfast or for sandwiches.  There are a very few meat markets in the Detroit area that make it, but otherwise it is very hard to find in the U.S.

Peameal bacon is a brined and slightly spiced raw pork product that comes from the pork loin. (Think pork chops without the bone.) It is rolled in cornmeal and is very lean so must be fried in a little butter or it will stick to the pan. 

It is a long way to drive to Canada to get peameal bacon, so I looked up some recipes and decided to make my own.  I followed an online recipe that included the required salt brine and spices (pickling spiced and garlic in this recipe) plus maple syrup.  I bought a boneless pork roast, cut it in pieces, and soaked it in the brine for four days.  Here are some photos, except I forgot to take photos of the brine.

Here is the meat after it was brined and rinsed in fresh water.

It is cut in chunks and rolled in corn meal.

At least it looks like peameal bacon!  The test will be cooking it.

I wrapped it up and froze part of it.

The following photos were taken a couple of days later when I decided to make myself a sandwich.  You slice it about 1/3 inch thick and fry it in a little butter until it is cooked completely through.

The opposite side in the photo below is a little overdone for my taste, but edible. The small piece was a slice from the outside, but the bigger one is a middle slice.  I wanted to see if the brine had made it into the middle.
The result was that the end piece was a little too salty, but the middle piece was just the way it should have been.  Might leave it in brine only 3 days next time. Yea! 

A couple of slices fried up also taste great with eggs and toast for breakfast, or even as a roast.  Here is an interesting article about peameal bacon from an Ann Arbor, Michigan, restaurant:   http://www.zingermansroadhouse.com/2008/07/canadian-peameal-bacon/

No mayo, lettuce, or tomato on MY sandwiches, however!  Just like mine served hot on a good roll or bread.  Oh, and since peameal bacon is brined, you can bring it back to the U.S. legally if you buy it in a sealed package and leave it sealed! 

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