Makin' Bacon, Peameal Bacon
A true Toronto classic, Peameal Bacon! This week old brined, cornmeal rolled, unsmoked, uniquely Canadian fare created by pork empire giant William Davies has delighted folks since the 1850’s. To this day, the Peameal Bacon Sandwich is proudly served at the St Lawrence Market. The bright, slightly brackish, somewhat sweetened slices are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Purchasing from the St. Lawrence Market is incredible! But, sometimes, you need to take things into your own hands, roll up your sleeves, and award yourself via making your own. Patience is the virtue here. Waiting over three days, up to ten days if you can wait, will be needed to let your trimmed pork loin infuse all the traditional flavors.
This recipe calls for a 4 lb boneless pork loin (Trimmed down to 1/8 inch fat).
The Best Brine:
• 10 ½ cups of water
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ¾ cup Real maple syrup
• 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 3 cloves
• 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
• About 20 broken peppercorns
• 2 bay leafs
• A bag of cornmeal (Or yellow peas mulled in food processor if you wish)
• 1 teaspoon Prague Powder#1
• 1 cup kosher salt
All the ingredients above are common. The one you might not be familiar with is the Prague Powder #1. P.P. #1 is the common name for pink curing salt. It can be found at WalMart, and many online vendors. It contains 6.25% sodium nitrite. This, along with the rest being salt, prevents botulism. The nitrites break down into nitric oxide, and dissipates, leaving your meat a beautiful pink!
Bring all ingredients (with the exception of cornmeal) to a gentle boil for 5 minutes to get everything melted and dissolved. Let cool, then cool even further in the fridge for a half an hour. Once cooled, if you have a vacuum sealer, great! If you don’t, no worries, use a big zip lock, or brining bags will do the job. Place our nicely trimmed pork loin into the bag. Pour your brine in. Vacuum on wet setting. Or, ensure your loin is covered fully in your brine. Seal accordingly. Weigh down your pork if needed for full coverage.
Here comes the hardest step…Place in your fridge and forget about it for 10 whole days…
Is it time yet!?
What day are we on now!?
Ok, ok. It’s time now!
Time to open up your marinated gift of goodness. Rinse thoroughly. Pat dry. Now, break open your cornmeal. The olden days, yellow peas were used to preserve this Toronto treat. Feel free to purchase a pack, and grind em’ up in your food processor on course. Now a days, cornmeal is the preferred outer crust. Whichever you choose, roll, roll, roll your newly brined tenderloin in the ground corn or peas. Place back in fridge for 24 hours.
The recommended and my preferred method of cooking is to cut thin (1/8 inch) slices and throw it on the griddle or in a frying pan. Slice the four sides just through the fat to prevent the meat from flipping at the edges. Cook hot and quick until the edges get crusty and the bacon is cooked. Only takes a few minutes per side. Adding a drop of maple syrup while cooking adds a bit of a nice carmelization.
Now what!? As mentioned earlier, breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Up to you! The most famous of course is:
Peameal on bun. This prolific sandwich only needs a Kaiser bun, mustard of your liking, and this delectable meat. Since its inception back in the late 1800’s, add-ons have been plentiful. The traditional, simple version is the way to go when 1st encountering such a sandwich.
Breakfast can go like this:
Breakfast Strata with onion, cheese, and peameal
Make night in advance.
• 6 eggs
• 2 cups milk
• 10 slices old white bread
• 2 cups cheddar cheese
• 1 onion diced and slightly grilled
• 10 slices cooked peameal bacon
• Salt and Pepper to taste
Whisk eggs and milk. Add S&P to taste. Remove crusts from bread. Line greased 13 x 9 casserole dish with the bread. Place bacon covering bread. Place half of the cheese over the bacon. Pour egg and milk mixture over the ingredients. Add the rest of cheese. Cover with foil. Place in fridge for the morning breakfast. Let stand at room temp for an hour. Bake covered for 45 minutes at 350. Remove foil. Continue to bake uncovered until toothpick is clean at the center of the dish. Serve.
Lunch sounds awesome with:
Easy. Add peameal bacon to your burger. Again, just a peameal bacon sandwich alone is a great lunch! Or, throw peameal bacon into your minestrone soup? Make a peameal quesadilla? PLT(Peameal, lettuce, tomato). Lunch has no boundaries in the peameal bacon world.
Did someone say supper?
Simple. This time it is acceptable to keep your loin intact and call it a roast. Baste with maple syrup and grain mustard while cooking at 350 until internal temperature reads 145 degrees. Let rest before cutting. While cooking, make up some killer Yukon gold tators and veggies of your choice as hearty side.
Enjoy brining and dining on this treasure from Toronto!