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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pork Loin (2) - Peameal Bacon

If you recall a few days ago I bought a pork loin so instead of making one extremely long post on what I did with the pork loin I decided to break it down into a few posts.  Anyone following this blog will know one of the first things I do when I get a pork loin is to cut a piece for making peameal bacon.  Peameal bacon is a true Canadian delicacy, one we enjoy on a fairly regular basis not only for breakfast but as a low fat, fast cooking dinner meat. 

middle cut of pork loin
I cure my own peameal bacon made from pork loin bought on sale.  Even full priced pork loin is cheaper than store bought peameal bacon so curing it is still cost effective.  When making peameal bacon it is important to use a kitchen scale as the amount of cure is dependent on the weight of the meat.

The middle section of the pork loin came out to just a little over 2 pounds.  How's that for guestimating?  I find this is a nice size for a chunk of peameal bacon as it is the ideal size for baking.  When sliced this will be enough bacon for 4 - 6 people for breakfast or 2 servings for dinner with left-overs.

salt cure added
Cured meats hold a certain mystic about them.  Many see the ham, bacon, corned beef and other cured meats as something difficult to make themselves.  However, curing meat is one of the easiest things to do.  There are two types of cure, brining and dry cure.  Brining uses a salt solution with or without additional seasonings.  The meat soaks in the solution for a given period of time to cure.  Then it is removed, rinsed and ready to use.  Dry curing uses the curing salt and for some meats (eg. peameal bacon) sugar is added.  The meat is placed in a zipper style freezer bag then the dry cure is poured onto both sides and rubbed in.  The meat is then refrigerated for the required number of days, turning at least once daily.  Once the meat has cured, it is soaked in plain water for 15 to 20 minutes to remove excess salt then any additional coating is added (eg. cornmeal for peameal bacon).

I use Morton Tender Quick for curing meats.  This is a nice product that gives good results.  It is a mixture of the curing salts and sugars meant for fast cure.  You should be able to find it in the baking aisle of the grocery store with the other salts.  Cured meat is not cooked as a result of the curing so it must be cooked prior to consumption.  Cured meats have a characteristic pink or red colouring when cooked.  The meat will be pink throughout on meat with a full cure.  Once the meat has been cured it can then be smoked but that is another topic that I will go into greater detail as I do a bit of smoking so watch for that topic coming soon.

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