What Is Peameal Bacon?

G. Wiesen

Peameal bacon is a type of bacon that typically consists of what is otherwise known as “back bacon” that has been cured but not usually smoked. This type of bacon is essentially made from a pork loin, which comes from the back of a pig, rather than American bacon that comes from the belly area. Once the bacon is properly cured, it is then rolled in either ground peas, known as peameal, or cornmeal. Peameal bacon can be cooked and served a number of ways, including grilled or sliced and fried for use in sandwiches.

Peameal bacon is essentially made from pork loin.
Peameal bacon is essentially made from pork loin.

Also called Canadian bacon, or Canadian peameal bacon, this type of bacon likely originated in Canada and remains popular in many regions in and near Canada. Bacon typically refers to a cut of pork that is cured, and sometimes smoked, both to preserve the meat and to enhance its flavor. There are different types of bacon found in various countries, though most bacon comes from either the back or belly of the pig. Bacon from the belly is usually fattier and is used to make bacon in America, while back bacon, which is used for peameal bacon, is leaner and is essentially a pork loin.

Peameal bacon can be made by curing the pork with a dry salt rub.
Peameal bacon can be made by curing the pork with a dry salt rub.

Peameal bacon is made much like any other type of bacon, by curing the pork in a wet brine or a dry rub. While some other types of bacon are smoked after curing, this is typically not done for peameal bacon. Once the pork has been cured properly, it is then typically rolled in either peameal, which is made by drying yellow peas and crushing them into a powder, or cornmeal, which is easier to find. Regardless of which type of meal is used to coat the pork, this type of bacon is still called “peameal” after the traditional covering that was first used.

This covering of peameal or cornmeal helps preserve the bacon even more than curing alone, which was useful prior to modern refrigeration. Peameal bacon is a traditional dish found throughout Canada, and many people have preferred preparations based on personal traditions. This bacon can be purchased whole, as a loin or half loin, and then prepared according to preference. When roasted, it is typically sliced once along the length of the loin, allowing it to cook faster, and may be served with a maple syrup glaze. Peameal bacon can also be sliced across the grain of the bacon and fried, then made into a sandwich on a roll with mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, and cheddar cheese.

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