Homemade back bacon

A truly Canadian breakfast or brunch treat!

I remember the first time I tasted back bacon as a kid. I loved that it was so much less salty than ‘regular’ bacon though I couldn’t understand why it was also known as peameal bacon when it was actually rolled in cornmeal. There are just so many food mysteries in this world, aren’t there? (I later learned that pre-World War II, dried yellow peas were ground up and used for making what Americans refer to as ‘Canadian bacon’.) As Canada’s big 150th birthday party is fast approaching, I decided to try my hand at making my own peameal or back bacon and the good news is that it was surprisingly easy to prepare and fantastically delicious! Inspired by Montreal’s famous Joe Beef restaurant’s recipe, this will be the perfect addition to any Canada Day brunch menu. If you want to make some ‘regular’ bacon as well, here’s a simple, fool-proof recipe plus one for candied bacon which is always a hit whenever I serve it.

Ingredients

  • boneless pork loin roast (approximately 2 lbs/1 kg)
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) cold water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) curing salt (Prague Powder)*
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) coarse kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup (180 mL) dried split yellow peas or coarse cornmeal

*You can find curing salt at shops that specialize in outdoor cooking like Cabela’s.

 

Method

  • Find a plastic container (with a tight lid) that is big enough to hold the pork roast and the brine, and deep enough so that the meat will be completely submerged.
  • In the container, mix together the water, maple syrup, curing salt, coriander seeds, peppercorns and salt.
  • Remove 2/3 cup (180 mL) of the brine. With a marinade injector, inject the 2/3 cup of brine directly into the pork loin, inserting the needle every 1/2 to 1 inch, to a depth of about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. This step is essential and marinade injectors are very inexpensive and useful to have in your kitchen or barbeque arsenal.
  • Place the injected meat into the container of brine, weighing it down with a saucer if necessary to keep it submerged. Cover and refrigerate for four full days.
  • After four days, remove the meat from the fridge and discard the brine.
  • Grind the dried yellow peas to the texture of coarse meal in a food processor or heavy duty blender.
  • Pat the meat dry with paper towels then roll it in the peameal or cornmeal (do not roll coat the cut ends of the roast in the meal).
  • Let the meat rest, uncovered, for one more day in the fridge before slicing thinly.
  • To serve, fry up slices in a lightly greased pan, along with a light drizzle of maple syrup if desired.
  • Uncooked sliced back bacon can be frozen for up to 4 months.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

7 thoughts

  1. Hello: Thank you for the recipe!

    I must say though that this is not called back bacon here. It is called peameal bacon.
    Also, this is not what is called Canadian bacon in the states. What they call Canadian bacon has no resemblance to Peameal Bacon. This is the best bacon ever.
    To cook fry in a pan for just a minute for both sides, depending on thickness. You want it pale and juicy, not dry and crisp.

    1. Where is home for you? I grew up (in eastern Canada) calling it back bacon though I did hear peameal bacon sometimes). Now that cornmeal is used most commonly it seems peameal is not heard as much. From wiki: “ “Canadian” bacon is made only from the lean eye of the loin and is ready to eat. … The term “Canadian bacon” is not used in Canada, where the product is generally known simply as back bacon” . At least whatever it is called, it’s delicious, right!

      1. I grew up in Ontario. I have lived in NB for since the 80’s, with two stints elsewhere.
        I really have never heard it called back bacon.

        1. That’s so interesting! I thought ‘back bacon’ became extremely well known thanks to the comedic antics of Bob and Doug McKenzie in the 80s. 🙂

  2. I grew up in Toronto Canada and never really heard it referred to as back bacon either. We always called it peameal. I am hoping that this recipe of yours will be what I’m looking for! I have made it before…with other recipes, and there were cloves in it, and other ingredients I didn’t think belonged…and they didn’t! lol, Thanks for the recipe and I’m going to make it this week! (I will double it though)

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