Homemade Canadian bacon (peameal)
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Apr 16, 2006
You might remember that Cold, Hard Football Facts sud stud Lew Bryson went to Ontario in March 2006 and filled his ample belly with all kinds of Canadian specialties, including peameal – something Americans know better as Canadian bacon.
As luck would have it – and believe you us, we're often lucky when it comes to finding food – the Chief Troll Kerry was out soon afterward at the Blue Frog Bakery in Boston stocking up on carbs when he got to talking with the owner, a fella named Brad Brown.
Brown, it turns out, is from Toronto. Not only was he familiar with peameal, Brown had some in his refrigerator! He made it himself, because he couldn't find any good peameal in the States (that's a picture of a pile of peameal there).
He was kind enough to share the recipe for homemade peameal with us, and now we're sharing it with you. Once your peameal is complete, you can make your own peameal sandwiches at home or when tailgating before the game.
Here's what you need:
- 1 large pork loin, up to 5 pounds
- 1 gallon cold water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 1 handful of whole peppercorns
Create a brine by mixing the salt and sugar in the cold water in a large, non-reactive container. A ceramic crock is perfect for brining meats. Toss in the peppercorns. The pork loin can be cut into smaller pieces of about 1 pound if desired. Add the pork to the brine and make sure it's covered completely (you can use a heavy piece of wood to hold it down). Store it in a cool, dark place for 24 hours. Remove the meat and then roll it into cornmeal to give it a crust. Wrap the peameal in plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator. It can also be put in freezer paper or plastic freezer bag and stored frozen.
By the way, feel free to experiment with your brine. As long as you have enough salt to cure the meat, you should be O.K. But try more or less sugar, different spices, whatever catches your fancy. Brining is as much art as science.
When it comes time to eat, make a peameal sandwich by frying or steaming slices of the pork loin and serving it between on fresh Kaiser roles. That's how it's often eaten in Canada. You can also use the slices in breakfast sandwiches, with your eggs or in any other dish that calls for a little cured pork.
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