Friday, March 18, 2016

Vegans - Avert Your Eyes - Homemade "Canadian Bacon"

Food is as much a part of a country as its people. Growing up with a Swedish/Norwegian Mom, and a Norwegian Step Mom after Mom passed away, I have quite a collection of their Mom's old country recipes.  (And, of course, every good  Scandinavian has a Thor Bobblehead).

But I also do cooking from all over the world and am always happy to learn about food traditions from other countries, such as why Canadian Bacon isn't called Canadian Bacon in Canada.  Up there, it's known (among my family and friends anyway) as "back bacon".  The name refers to the cut of meat, a center-cut from the back, and distinguishes it from other bacon made typically from pork belly. It is much leaner than streaky bacon and has a wonderful taste, different from, but still excellent, as a bacon choice with HALF THE FAT of fried bacon.
I love it on a pizza but I can also  make a great egg white omelette with a little Canadian bacon, pineapple and a sprinkle of mozzarella, so it can still be part of a healthy eating plan.

But it's pricey in the stores for the amount you get.  What to do?

Make your own. No Smoker?  No problem.  Oven directions are included.  
You will  need:
1 boneless pork loin 2-3 pounds (not the smaller tenderloin)
1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick per pound
1 Tablespoon Brown sugar per pound.
2 teaspoons maple sugar or real maple syrup per pound  (I used syrup)
1 teaspoon Hickory Smoked Salt or Applewood Smoked Salt (from Artisano's)
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (leave out if you're using a smoker rather than the oven)

Note:  I've never been a big liquid smoke fan.  But in this, in a "cure" that's then rinsed, the taste was very good and not overpowering.  But you could also substitute extra smoked salt and some smoked Paprika if using the oven method.

Trim the fat and silverskin from the loin. (putting the loin in the freezer for a bit first will help with this) Weigh.  Rub each loin with the curing mix over a plate, making sure you cover every inch and crevice. then place each one into a vacuum sealed bag (or tightly sealed freezer bag)  I like the vacuum as it presses against the meat forcing the cure into it.  Fold the bag opening down an inch like a pant cuff when adding the meat so none of the grains of the cure contaminate the sealing edges for a better seal.

You want it to cure for about six days.  Turn loin over once a day and keep your fridge between 36 and 40 degrees.  Don't worry, you'll likely have a "guard dog" or two, checking on it to make sure it stays safe.
Barkley could watch both the kitchen and back door without lifting a paw.

Remove from the cure, soak loin in spring or distilled water for 30 minutes, the pat dry. lightly season  with pepper(I dusted with some fresh cracked black pepper and McCormick Smokehouse Maple Seasoning) and refrigerate, uncovered, to dry completely before cooking.  The loin will develop a pellicle. The pellicle is a tacky skin on the meat that plays a key role in producing excellent smoked items. It acts as a sort of protective barrier for the food, playing an important role in capturing flavor and color

Then into the oven at 200 degrees F. for four hours or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. F.

OR put in your little smoker (preheated to about 250F ) with some maple chips that soaked overnight and smoke until the internal temperature comes up to  145-150 (the higher the temp the dryer the meat but no less than 140ish to be safe).

The photo of the oven cooked version was taken with a cell phone but you get the idea (and the photo reminded me I need to go out and get a battery charger for the new camera).

MMMMMM.  It looks a bit like ham but it's not too "hammy".  It's definitely the taste of "Canadian Bacon"  (and those aren't little silver dollar sized pieces like you get at the store). Sliced thick or thin,  shared with some fresh baked bread and fixings, it will makes a great breakfast sandwhich as well on a whole grain English muffin with a poached egg.

Storage:  After it's cooled (very loosely tented with foil), store the meat in a clean zip lock bag in the fridge to let the flavors mingle 1 to 2 days. Be patient. It's worth the wait.

For freezing, keep the piece uncut. In the fridge, it will keep about 10 days (like that will happen).

The texture was perfect, and the taste?  Wow. SO much better than store bought. Thor's even shaking his head up and down to indicate he likes it.


  1. All I saw was Thor and I had to come by! I was in the car looking at my phone and saw the bobble head and was like OMG! Thor! Hahaha. ;)

  2. I love, love all types of bacon. I remember traveling to the US as a kid and wondering what this Canadian Bacon was, because we didn't have it in Canada. That was until my parents explained it to me.


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