Grilling: Maple-Cured Canadian Bacon
Whew, I didn't know what I was getting into when I decided I wanted to make my own Canadian bacon. All I wanted was my own version of what's most commonly found sandwiched between an English muffin and poached egg. Turns out what we take for granted as Canadian bacon in the U.S. isn't so straightforward when we look up north.
What's "Canadian bacon" to Americans is most likely called back bacon elsewhere. This is made from boneless pork loin, which, compounding confusion, can be found fresh or cured and smoked or not-smoked depending on where you are. Add on top of that, in Canada, they're most likely to call peameal bacon their own—cured pork loin rolled in cornmeal, then sliced and cooked.
So many choices in what I thought was one simple bacon; my head was spinning trying to figure out what to do. I ended up choosing the American Canadian bacon path, setting forth with a maple syrup-heavy wet brine for five days, followed by a cook in a 225 degree smoker until the meat hit 140 degrees—undercooked since I planned on slicing and frying later.
The end product was quite satisfying—the bacon had a great sweet and salty mixture that was more pronounced and complex than what you get off the shelf, and when cooked right, the meat was pleasantly moist as well. Although happy with this particular bacon, I'm still left a bit unfulfilled knowing the universe of bacon choices that are still left to be explored, but I guess those others will all come in due time.
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About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.