Monday, November 12, 2007

CANADIAN HEROES - Canadian Bacon (Peameal Bacon [Back Bacon])

In the United States, Canadian Bacon is often considered little more than a good ingredient on pizza, but in Canada it is so much more.

First of all, in the U.S. what is served as Canadian bacon is often just ham. Second, they don't call it Canadian bacon here, they call it back bacon and in Ontario there is also peameal bacon. Third, it's more than just a breakfast/pizza option in Canada. It's a breakfast item, a sandwich item and a dinner possibility. You can eat it all the time, though I think that would probably increase your blood pressure. Back bacon specifically refers to the cut of meat, and peameal bacon is a specific way it can be prepared. However, these terms are often confused, even in Canada. Here's a great description of peameal bacon:

Peameal bacon is made from the boneless pork loin, with the fat trimmed to 1/8" and cured in a sweet pickle brine. The loin is then rolled in yellow cornmeal giving it the signature 'peameal' coating and par-baked to ensure uniformity. (Source:

Peameal bacon became famous in Ontario around WWII. My guess is because of pork shortages, curing the meat made it last longer. Apparently they originally used peameal to coat the meat, but the availability of corn has made it the "meal" of choice these days. For a better history, go here.

In Toronto, St. Lawrence Market is famous for its peameal bacon sandwiches. I recommend that everyone try peameal bacon once, unless you're a vegetarian, but then you probably aren't reading this anyway. (I'm fairly certain Morningstar Farms doesn't offer a peameal bacon option yet.) As far as a country being known for a pork product, you could do a lot worse. And at Johnada, we love all bacon (even American bacon), as long as they treat the pigs right.


mimi said...

Mr. Johnada,

I'll admit I miss Canadian bacon on pizzas. But, as a reformed human being, I'm happy to see you mentioned the happy pig bit.

By the way, when RKF jr. was in Central Illinois last spring, I interviewed him and he talked a lot about the evils of giant hog factory farms. I looked up his name on googlenews, and looks like he's busy in Canada too.

Funny how everything can be connected to Canada in some way.

Karen said...

Funny, even my Canadian family (meaning, my family) has had such silly discussions about back bacon vs. peameal bacon. We may get confused sometimes, but we all know the American version is wrong.

BTW - another great Canadian Sloan song, The Rest of my Life:
'One thing I know about
The rest of my life
I know that I’ll be
Living it in Canada'

Now can you say that?

Johnada said...

The article isn't working for me.

I was actually going to use that Sloan song, but I preferred this video, and I haven't figured out how to embed music yet. No need to worry, I'll definitely feature more Sloan (one of the Wife's all time favourite bands). Also, before we moved here I often could be seen running around the neighbourhood with my iPod singing those exact lyrics, though I only meant them figuratively.

Mason Kessinger said...

this makes me happy.

i cry.

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