Since a lot of this blog’s audience is Canadian and we have some Americans, we often get questions about this mysterious food product that circulates North of the 49th parallel, forever out of reach of our American bacon friends’ reach. What, exactly, is Canadian bacon?
Unfortunately, making things worse for our American friends is the fact that they have something already in their grocery departments that makes the absurd claim that it is Canadian bacon, but it’s actually something else entirely. Today, on the Republic of Bacon, we delve into this matter and try to pull out the juicy truth of it all. Follow us after the break as we tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Canadian bacon.
You Call That Canadian Bacon?
First of all, the good news many of our American friends is this: the Canadian bacon that they already know as Canadian bacon, is not actually bacon (or Canadian, for that matter). Canadian bacon is more like ham than bacon. It’s pickled in a sweet mixture, it’s thicker, and when it’s fully cooked, it’s usually soft and juicy. If you were to try to crispify American’s Canadian bacon, you’d get something super dried out. (Think about what would happen if you tried to fry a Sunday ham. Not pretty.)
Some Americans do get to try something that’s closer to Canadian bacon: and that’s when they order Canadian back bacon. Regular American bacon (or as the Brits call it, streaky bacon) is made from the belly of pigs. Canadian back bacon is, well, from the back. This makes it less fatty than American bacon. I know – for some people, less fat means less flavour. But for true back bacon fans, less fat means more meat. And I don’t think I can argue with that logic.
So What Is Canadian Bacon?
Canadian bacon – or the stuff we Canadians eat and that Americans don’t really eat – is called peameal bacon. It’s got a light brine on it, and it has that edge of cornmeal on it. It’s also not smoked, the way that regular bacon is. It’s basically as close to a cross between ham and bacon that you can get. While it does have a bit of a salty flavour, it is more sweet than other types of bacon. It’s also not going to get as crispy as American bacon. But that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious! For example, Canadian Living has this recipe for Grilled Peameal Bacon.
Which Is the Best?
Clearly, anything made in Canada is the best. But as we make all three types of bacon, the choice between the three is pretty hard to make. Americans think of streaky bacon as their thing, but we’ve got plenty of great Canadian companies making streaky bacon. Maple Leaf Foods has a wide selection of streaky bacon types, for instance. So, if you are going to choose the best, I think you need to go by your own tastebuds. And thank the bacon gods that you live in a country that has so much bacon choice! (Note to American friends: you are always free to join us for a delicious bacon meal.)
Image Provided by Stefano A