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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pea Meal Bacon

Pea meal bacon is a cured pork loin that has not been smoked. It is not to be confused with bacon sold as "Canadian Bacon" which is more of a ham in texture and flavour. Rumour has it that it is mainly a Southwestern Ontario treat. Pea meal bacon originally got its name from the pea meal coating. That is no longer used and has been replaced with corn meal. Some stores also label pea meal bacon as sweet pickled pork backs. The meat itself is very lean so is perfect for anyone counting calories. It fries up nicely or you can bake it in a chunk. It is a nice fast cooking meat that is served often here during the winter months. Recipe is at end of entry.

I only make this cured meat when I can get pork loin or boneless pork loin chops on sale. Since it a popular meat here it seldom goes on sale however by curing it myself, I can cut the cost by about half. It is reall easy to make. I have two extra thick boneless pork loin chops that are ready for the coating later today. So I will give them the coating then vacuum seal. The meat will freeze well for longer term storage.

Cured Peameal Bacon

As mentioned, pea meal bacon is made from pork loin. It is a nice, low fat meat that cooks quickly when sliced. When baked it is a nice juicy meat. Basically the meat is placed in a zip loc bag along with rubbed in curing salt mixture. Then, and I know this is the hard part, put it into the meat keeper of the refrigerator and ignore it until the cured date of five days later. Honestly, do not look at it, do not fuss with it, leave it alone! Once the cure day arrives you can remove from the refrigerator and roll in corn meal. If using thick cut boneless pork loin chops roll only the outside in the cornmeal then bake.


The very best pan I've ever cooked pea meal bacon on has been cast iron. Slice the bacon either thin or thick. We prefer thick sliced. Unlike regular bacon, pea meal is very low fat so it cooks rather fast. A little browning is desireable. Heat the pan then add the bacon flipping when the fist side is just slightly browned. The bacon will be a nice pink shade. Do not overcook as that will make the bacon too dry.

Ready to Eat

Now this is a feast. We have it often during the winter for a fast meal. It is low in fat and quick cooking so two major points. Cooked pea meal bacon is really nice to have on hand for sandwiches as well. The method is included below. Once you have tried this bacon, you will be in seventh heaven!

What you will need is:

one pork loin or very thick boneless pork loin chops (if baking)
1 1/2 tbsp Morton's Tender QuickTM per pound of meat
1 tsp white sugar per pound of meat
1 zip loc bag or sealed container
yellow corn meal


Measure the Morton's Tender QuickTM and white sugar into a small bowl and mix well. Place the meat into the bag or container. Sprinkle the salt/sugar mix onto the meat and rub it in. Now seal the bag or container. Label with the start date and finish date which is five days from the start date. Don't worry if you go a day over the finish date. Place the meat in the meat keeper compartment of your fridge. In five days the meat will be cured. It does change colour a little and there will be a little liquid in the bag but don't worry! Remove the meat. Roll in corn meal. If you did the whole pork loin, slice and fry. If you did the thick pork loin chops, roll just the outside in corn meal then bake.

34 food lovers commented:

Amaizing said...

I know you are busy with your move so I will be patient waiting for an answer.

I am alergic to corn, do you think I can/should substitute something else for the cornmeal or, should I just not bother and leave it "naked".

thanks for you opinion.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi amaizing! Originally this meat was rolled in peameal - ground peas since that is what was available to the French Canadians. Peameal fell out of favour so was replaced with cornmeal but the meat retained its name.

Peameal is difficult to find unless you grind it yourself but you might be able to find it at specialty shops. You could leave it naked if you would like. The cornmeal just adds a bit of crunch and visual appeal but not a lot of flavour. You could also use cream of wheat if you want a bit of crunch.

Sonia said...

Interesting! I'll give it a try. After curing, how long can I store it in the fridge? Or should I slice and freeze it?


jayedee said...

sounds like another home run from your recipe box, gg. i can get pork at a good price right i'm putting a loin on my shopping list this week! thank you!

Love to Cook said...

Do you have to rinse the loin in water after curing it? Prior to putting the corn meal on?
Also, can it be frozen after you put the corn meal on so it can be used later?

Garden Gnome said...

No, there is no need to rinse. Take it out of the container or bag leaving as much liquid behind as possible. Roll in the cornmeal and your are set.

Peameal bacon can be frozen after putting the cornmeal on as is or sliced. It will keep about a week in the refrigerator or about 9 months in the freezer. If you leave as a chunk it can be baked from frozen without thawing. Slices will need to be thawed.


Anonymous said...

I had the bacon this week end and it came out perfect. My sister is visiting and we grew up eating peameal bacon in Rochester NY. She was shocked at how similar it was to what my father would bring home from hiss trips to Canada.

Thank You so much for sharing the recipe.

Mike said...

Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I could not believe it was so easy until I tried it and presto! peameal bacon. My dad grew up in London Ontario and always brings back a pea meal loin or two any time he gets back that way. Now we can just make it at home any time we like. I don't think I'll ever eat regular bacon again ;-). You can get something that looks like pea meal bacon in the groceries in BC but it's not the same (and it's very pricey). In fact, I had a chance to try my home-made peameal bacon side by side with some bought out west and it was immediately apparent that the west "cornmeal bacon" had been smoked. It appeared more "cooked" prior to going in the fry pan and it had a definite smoke-flavour - not nearly as tasty as proper peameal bacon.
Thanks again. I'm going to experiment with the cure on my next batch. I'll post the results.

Garden Gnome said...

You are quite welcome Anonymous :)

Garden Gnome said...

You are quite welcome Mike. I prefer pea meal bacon to regular. It is lower calorie as well. The pea meal bacon sold here is not smokey flavoured and some stores label it as "pickled pork". If you really want a touch of smokieness to the finished bacon you could add a drop or two of liquid smoke to the meat while it is curing.


Jennifer Robin said...

I can hardly wait to try this recipe! I have a bag of Tender Quick from another recipe you featured, and some loin chops in the freezer. Yum!

tahtimbo said...

This is a must do! I have bookmarked this page, so I can come back to it when I try this. Thank you!

Garden Gnome said...

Tahtimbo, you won't be sorry for trying this recipe. It consistently give results for real Canadian bacon :) There are several other posts in the archives of different ways I use peameal bacon. It is a quick cooking, low fat and tasty meat that just can't be beat!

Anonymous said...

I had peameal bacon recently while visiting Canada for the first time and thankfully I have finally found a recipe on your site. Looks pretty easy I am just not sure about the cut of meat; is it 'pork tenderloin' or 'loin'?

Thanks for the recipe!!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous, the cut of meat is pork loin. It is easy to make and I'm sure you will enjoy it :)

gailteach said...

I just finished my first attempt at making this bacon.

I retired in June and have long wanted to try my hand at making this family favorite.

It tastes great!! I does seem just a little "salty". Can this be reduced by slightly decreasing the Tender Quick or slightly increasing the sugar. Just wondering.

I am looking forward to serving this to a group of camping friends next month on a camping trip.

I will be back often to try other recipes.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi gailteach and thanks for visiting. The Morton's Tender Quick ratio is important for proper curing so no it should not be reduced. Peameal bacon is a saltier bacon to begin with and you will notice it more if you have reduced your sodium consumption. What you could try is once the cure is finished, remove the meat from the container and rinse it with clear water. Then continue with the cornmeal coating and put it into a different container than the one you used for curing. HTH

gailteach said...

Thank you for your quick response. I understand the need for the salt. I will try rinsing the next one I do.

From a transplanted Canadian my deepest thanks for a taste of my childhood.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi gailteach! You are quite welcome :) Please let me know how this idea works for you.

gailteach said...

Just wanted to update you on my solution to the saltiness. I measured the salt exactly, cured for exactly 5 days, and rinsed the meat before covering with cornmeal. It is perfect!!! My husband has high bloodpressure so the saltiness was a concern. Thanks again!!


Branon said...

The saltiness can be cut down dramatically by soaking the meat after the curing process for 2 hours in cold water. Change the water and flip the meat after the first hour.

My wife is Canadian and I started making peameal bacon last year for her since we can't get it in the states. She says it's the best she's ever had.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Branon and thanks for visiting. Thanks for the tip to reduce saltiness. This is a great tip for those who want to enjoy peameal bacon yet reduce the sodium content. I've been doing shorter soaks before rolling in the cornmeal which makes a big difference in the saltiness so will try a longer soak.

Please tell your wife I'm sorry she has to suffer living in the US - just kidding :) It's surprising how similar yet different the cuisines are.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Peameal bacon recipe. I loved the stuff when I lived in Canada. I will try to make it soon. Any chance you have a good recipe for Montreal smoked meat as in smoked meat sandwiches?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous and thanks for visiting :) You are quite welcome. I don't have a recipe for Montreaal smoked meat as I still don't have a smoker. It's on the list of culinary 'must buy' for the fall.

Simone said...

We just tried your recipe, but substituted with Morton's Kosher salt, as we could not find any TenderQuik in our area.
We just fried it up and it tasted great! :)

Anonymous said...

can peameal bacon be frozen even if you bought it from the store or if you can't freeze how long will it last

Garden Gnome said...

Hi :) Yes peameal bacon can be frozen for up to 6 months the same as regular bacon.

Anonymous said...

Hi - just wondered if you are curing boneless chops, is the time frame still 5 days even though they are much thinner - I can't get particularly thick cut chops here? Thanks.

Iris said...

I wanted original pea meal coated back bacon, so I found both green and yellow dried and split peas at the local grocery store. Ground them into a meal consistency in my blender.

The pea meals does impart an additional flavor not found by using corn meal.

Mrs said...

Hello. My husband bought a cured boneless pork loin rolled in cornmeal for Christmas Eve dinner. I wanted a regular pork loin roast, is it the same? Would it be ok to roast in a roasting pan with potatoes, carrots and onions? Will it taste like ham, or a pork roast?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Mrs and thanks for visiting. No, an uncured pork loin roast is not the same as a cured pork loin (peameal bacon) roast. The flavour is quite different. I would roast the cured pork loin roast separated, and roast your vegetables together in another pan. The flavour and texture of the cured pork loin is somewhere between ham and uncured pork loin. It is a rather unique flavour. I think you will really like it :)

Len said...

Just found your recipe for curing pork loin (peameal bacon). You use TenderQuick to do the curing but as you are in Ontario and Tenderquick is not sold here, where do you get it? Import from Buffalo? In fact, no cures (6.25% nitrite) are sold in Ontario that I can find.


Garden Gnome said...

Hi Len and thanks for visiting. I buy Morton's Tenderquick in the US or order online through the Windsor Salt website. Windsor Salt located in Amherstburg, ON was originally Canadian owned but is now a subsidiary of Morton's, a US based company.

Mrs said...

Hello Again. Thanks for your advice. I thought I replied, but I don't see it, I'm sorry about that!
We didn't cook it as a roast after all, but sliced and fried it. I froze some slices in packs of 4, for the family to have available at any given time.