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.
- Boneless pork loin roast (approximately 2 lbs / 1 kg)
- 6 cups (1.5 litres) 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 outdoor shops like Cabela’s, or order online from my very favourite spice shop.
- 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.