The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Perfect Peameal Bacon Slices

Peameal bacon has become an increasingly popular breakfast food in recent years. Also known as Canadian bacon, this lean and versatile pork product is a delicious alternative to regular bacon. While peameal bacon may look like ham, it has a milder, sweeter flavor that pairs wonderfully with eggs, pancakes, and more.

But cooking peameal bacon can be tricky. Undercook it and you’ll end up with tough, chewy meat. Overcook it and it becomes dry and loses its flavor. That’s why having the right techniques is key to cooking up tender, juicy peameal bacon slices every time.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to cook peameal bacon to perfection, including:

  • What is peameal bacon and where does it come from?
  • Preparing peameal bacon for cooking
  • Cooking methods: grilling, pan-frying, baking/roasting
  • Cooking tips for moist, tender peameal bacon
  • Serving suggestions and recipe ideas

Plus we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about peameal bacon so you can become an expert on this beloved breakfast meat Let’s get cooking!

What Is Peameal Bacon?

Peameal bacon is a specialty of Canadian cuisine that dates back to the 1850s. It’s made from the lean boneless loin section of a pig that has been trimmed of fat and cured. The curing process involves soaking the pork loins in a brine, which adds seasoning and preserves the meat.

Originally the cured pork loin was rolled in ground, dried yellow peas giving rise to the name “peameal”. Today, peameal bacon is more commonly rolled in cornmeal, which gives it a signature crusty exterior when cooked.

Peameal bacon is not smoked like traditional bacon. This results in a lighter color and milder flavor that isn’t overly salty or smoky. It has less fat as well, making it a healthier alternative to regular bacon.

You can find peameal bacon throughout Canada, particularly in southern Ontario where it’s considered a staple food. It’s also gained popularity in the northern United States.

Preparing Peameal Bacon for Cooking

Properly preparing peameal bacon before cooking is an important first step. Here are a few tips:

  • Remove packaging and blot dry: Unwrap the peameal bacon and pat off any excess moisture with paper towels. This helps it sear and brown better.

  • Bring to room temperature: If pan-frying or grilling, let the bacon come to room temp before cooking. This prevents uneven cooking.

  • Slice to desired thickness: Cut the peameal bacon into 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch slices. Thinner slices cook faster.

  • Season or glaze (optional): For added flavor, brush slices with maple syrup or sprinkle on seasoning like brown sugar, pepper, thyme, etc.

  • Preheat equipment: Heat up your grill, oven, or pan before adding the bacon to prevent sticking.

Now the peameal bacon is ready to be turned into a delicious breakfast!

Grilling Peameal Bacon Slices

Grilling is a quick and easy cooking method that gives peameal bacon nice charring and smoky flavor. Here’s how to grill peameal bacon to perfection:

  • Use a hot grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. The hotter the grill, the better the sear.

  • Grease the grates: Lightly oil or grease the grates first to prevent sticking.

  • Cook 5-7 minutes per side: Place bacon slices directly on the grill grates. Cook for 5-7 minutes without moving to get grill marks.

  • Flip carefully: Use tongs to gently flip each slice and cook 5-7 minutes more.

  • Optional glazing: Brush maple syrup or BBQ sauce on the bacon during the last 1-2 minutes of grilling.

  • Don’t overcook: Total cooking time should be 10-14 minutes. Overcooking makes it dry.

  • Let rest before serving: Let the grilled peameal bacon rest 5 minutes before eating.

Grilling gives you that charred, smoky flavor that pairs so well with breakfast. Try serving grilled peameal bacon with eggs, hashbrowns, and toast for a delicious start to the day.

Pan-Frying Peameal Bacon Slices

Pan-frying is one of the quickest and easiest ways to cook up peameal bacon. Here are tips for frying peameal bacon slices to crispy perfection:

  • Use medium-high heat: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. The pan should be hot but not smoking.

  • Add a small amount of oil: Pour in just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.

  • Blot bacon slices dry: Make sure your bacon is patted dry before frying.

  • Work in batches: Cook just 2-3 slices at a time so the bacon browns rather than steams.

  • Cook 1-2 minutes per side: Fry until the bottom is crispy and golden brown before flipping.

  • Drain on paper towels: Transfer the cooked bacon to paper towels to soak up excess grease.

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan: Too much bacon can cause steaming versus frying.

  • Pour off excess fat: Drain fat between batches to prevent greasiness.

  • Add maple syrup (optional): For the last 30 seconds of cooking, add a drizzle of maple syrup to caramelize the peameal bacon.

The key is getting the pan nice and hot at the start so the peameal bacon slices fry up crispy. Enjoy your perfectly fried peameal bacon on its own or on a breakfast sandwich.

Baking Peameal Bacon Slices in the Oven

Baking in the oven is a hands-off approach to cooking peameal bacon with delicious results. Here are some tips:

  • Line a baking sheet: Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

  • Use a rack or cooling rack (optional): The bacon will cook more evenly if placed on a rack atop the baking sheet.

  • Spread out slices: Arrange the slices evenly on the sheet without overlapping.

  • Bake at 375°F: Bake in a preheated 375°F oven.

  • Flip halfway through: Flip each slice after 12-15 minutes. This prevents cupping.

  • Cook 20-25 minutes total: Total baking time should be 20-25 minutes.

  • Brush with glaze: Apply maple syrup, brown sugar, or other glazes during the last 5 minutes.

  • Let rest before serving: Let the baked bacon cool for 5-10 minutes before eating to firm up.

Baking allows you to cook up a large batch of peameal bacon evenly. Serve it straight from the oven or use it to top baked potatoes, make BLTs, and more.

Cooking Tips for Moist, Tender Peameal Bacon

Follow these tips no matter which cooking method you use to ensure tender, juicy peameal bacon every time:

  • Don’t overcook: Peameal bacon can go from juicy to dry and chewy quickly. Stop cooking at the first signs of browning.

  • Cook low and slow: Gentler heat helps render fat and cook the bacon evenly without drying it out.

  • Blot fat before cooking: Excess moisture on the surface causes splattering grease.

  • Cook partially covered: Covering traps steam which keeps the bacon tender. Remove cover halfway through cooking.

  • Let rest before slicing: Allow the cooked bacon to rest at least 5 minutes before cutting to let juices redistribute.

  • Cook to 145°F internal temperature: Use an instant-read thermometer to test doneness. 145°F ensures it’s fully cooked but still juicy.

  • Avoid overcrowding: Too many slices in the pan or oven leads to steaming versus frying/roasting.

Follow these tips and you’ll enjoy tender, flavorful peameal bacon every morning!

Serving and Recipe Ideas for Peameal Bacon

Beyond breakfast, peameal bacon is delicious in sandwiches, salads, pizza, baked potatoes, and more. Here are just a few serving ideas:

  • Breakfast sandwiches – Layer peameal bacon with cheese and a fried egg on an English muffin.

  • BLTs – Crispy peameal bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on toasted bread.

  • Potato topping – Dice and mix into baked potatoes with cheese, scallions, and sour cream.

  • Brussels sprouts – Toss roasted Brussels sprouts with chopped peameal bacon.

  • Pizza – Top pizza with peameal bacon slices alongside pineapple for a sweet and savory combo.

  • Spinach salads – Crumble cooked and cooled peameal bacon over spinach salads.

  • Baked beans or soups – Add chopped peameal bacon to bean dishes, potato soup, chowders, etc.

  • Quesadillas – Include sliced peameal bacon when making breakfast quesadillas.

The possibilities are endless when cooking with peameal bacon! Its milder flavor pairs well with both sweet and savory ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions About Peameal Bacon

Still have questions about cooking and serving this Canadian specialty? Here are answers to some common peameal bacon FAQs:

Is peameal bacon the same as back bacon?

Yes, peameal bacon and back bacon refer to the same product. Back bacon comes from the pork loin whereas regular bacon is from the belly.

Should I refrigerate leftover peameal bacon?

Yes, always refrigerate cooked peameal bacon within 2 hours and use within 4-5 days. It can also be frozen for 1-2 months.

Can I use peameal bacon in place of regular bacon?

Absolutely! While the flavor is milder, peameal bacon can be swapped in for regular bacon in any recipe.

Should I bake, fry, or grill peameal bacon?

All methods work well! Baking yields uniform doneness while frying or grilling give you crispy texture and caramelized flavors.

Why does my peameal bacon curl when I cook it?

Curling happens from one side cooking faster than the other. To minimize this, flip the bacon halfway through cooking and don’t overcrowd the pan.

How can I keep peameal bacon from sticking to my pan?

Good pan prep is key. Use a well-seasoned pan or coat lightly with oil before cooking. Cook over gentler heat and don’t move the bacon until well browned.

Enjoy Perfectly Cooked Peameal Bacon Every Time

Now you have all the tips and tricks for cooking moist, tender peameal bacon anytime! Follow the guidelines in this article for grilling, pan-frying, or baking peameal bacon slices to crispy, juicy perfection.

Take your breakfast sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and potato dishes to the next level with the signature sweet-savory flavor of peameal bacon. And feel free to experiment with your own peameal bacon creations.

Let us know how your peameal bacon turns out and any favorite serving ideas in the comments below!

Peameal Bacon Sandwich

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