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Educate Me: Parts of Bacon


Robenco15
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Hi All,

I went to a great butcher down the street from me and got a slab of panchetta and a slab of bacon. The panchetta looks like bacon, red with the marbling of fat, but obviously was cured differently, etc. - how you make panchetta.

The bacon however, look white. I asked about it and they said the redness in bacon comes from preservatives or something that makes it red (those are my words, they gave me a good explanation, I just can't remember). I trust them and all as this butcher is incredibly, but I'm trying to get a better education.

I'm attaching a picture of it hoping you can clarify it for me. Basically, I believe I can see I guess what is called the bacon "strip," but have no idea what the "meatier" part is that is above it. Canadian bacon? Should I remove and save that as I was really only looking for the traditional bacon to cut lardons, etc.

Thank you!

photo.JPG

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It's back bacon.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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In the UK, the rasher in your photo is what we call back bacon. It is normal (traditional) here to buy bacon like that. There are different ways to cure bacon too. Normally, it would be brined but can be dry cured in salt. So, yes what you purchased is called Canadian bacon in the US or back bacon in the UK (because it has the loin attached).

As for the colour - I am assuming the pancetta is dry cured and the back (Canadian) bacon was brined. This might account for the colour difference. However I stand to be corrected. Either way, that's a very nice looking rasher of bacon - would get the frying pan out and make up a bacon sandwich!

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I live in the USA and what's pictured isn't called Canadian bacon where I live....it's back bacon!!!!

Canadian bacon is just the loin in this neck-of-the-woods.

See this: http://englishbreakfastsociety.com/back-bacon.html

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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Well, sort of, what you've got is the loin and the top part of the side meat or belly.

See the following video at 1:30...it shows it in context pretty well....

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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Thank you! I'm going to talk with the butcher next time I go. maybe they used the other part of the belly for the various other things they make with it. They only get so many pigs in at a time so I guess they need to decide something different each time? Thanks again!

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In the US Canadian bacon is cured pork loin. I used tenderloin once. It was smaller in diameter and so took less time. Tastes like ham.

DSCF1353_zps1cd6632f.jpg

Per pound of meat use 1 tablespoon Tenderquick plus brown sugar and onion powder, garlic, rosemary etc. Rub on, seal in plastic wrap and turn daily for 7 days per inch (measured to the center). Remove, rinse, soak in cold water 6 hours, smoke at 200-230 until internal temp is 150-160 for fully done.

Use 1 Tbsp of it per Lb. of pork loin- plus any spice/herbs you may want to use. I think just garlic and onion is traditional. but honestly I am not sure there.

Then you rub the meat, wrap and keep chilled for 7 days PER INCH DIAMETER to cure. If your loin is 3" across...that's 1.5" diameter. Allow an extra day or so for fat caps, which cure does not penetrate very well. I usually add 3 extra days. If you use the right amount of cure, you cannot overcure..ONLY under...

5T. QT

1T. onion powder

1T. garlic powder

1T paprika

1t. montreal steak seasoning

one week per inch radius, soak in cold water 6 hours, dry out 1 or 2 days, smoke to 160º Before smoking, slice off end and fry, taste for salt and soak some more if needed.

OK.. for a dry cure... which I recommend- use 1 Tbsp TQ per Lb of meat. You may add some garlic, onion, rosemary...whatever flavors you like to this.

Curing time is 7 days per inch thickness... thickness being .5 times the total thickness as you are curing from both sides. And IMO... with the right amout of cure, you cannot OVER cure..only under...so add a couple days....patience is key.

After the curing time, Slice off a chunk and fry it up before smoking and check for salt. if it's salty to you, soak in cold water for 6 hours... and try it again. repeat if necc... but prolly won't be. Then let rest loosely covered in the fridge to develop the "pellicle" or well..just let it dry a bit.

Smoking it kinda personal in wood choice..I like apple, but hickory works. I will advise against mesquite for this,-it's too strong IMO, but whatever.

DSCF1354_zps869705e6.jpg

Run your smoker in the 200-225 range. Bring it to an internal of 150-160 for a ready to eat lunchmeat/bacon, or 125-130 for a "must be cooked" version. The lower internal temp stuff tends to be mellower in flavor, but the texture is little different than the other.

DSCF1355_zps786ae599.jpg

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Canadian bacon doesn't exist in Canada, I don't think, or at least not in Ontario where they have "peameal bacon" instead.

Per wiki: "Peameal bacon is made from boneless pork loins, short cut from the leaner portions of the loin, to ensure a more uniform product. External fat is generally trimmed to within 1/8 inch (3 mm). Smokeless and tender, this product is sweet pickle-cured and rolled in a traditional golden cornmeal coating."

Peameal must be cooked, then it looks like "Canadian bacon" but is tender and succulent. A very delicious thing.

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Robenco15, did you get that what you have is bacon made from the loin, i.e. the back of the pig ? It's popular with people who like that big chunk of lean meat (the eye of the loin) in their bacon, and as in yours, there isn't so much meat between the layers of fat in the fatty part. From the narrow band of pink round the eye and the pink in the thin strip of meat, it looks almost as if it has been quick-cured, so the cure didn't seep all the way in. Sodium Nitrite in particular, is the curing element that preserves a pink colour (and it's not really an optional ingredient in bacon).

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Yeah, I actually just got off the phone with them. They got out of sync with their brining so they used the back of the loin, which they only sell from time to time, and I just happened to be there the day they had the back bacon. Apparently today they started offered he traditional bacon from the belly. The bacon I got was brined for a week and then smoked.

Thank you for all of the help! I definitely got an education! I just had a conversation with my butcher and it sounded like I knew what I was talking about!

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Yeah, I actually just got off the phone with them. They got out of sync with their brining so they used the back of the loin, which they only sell from time to time, and I just happened to be there the day they had the back bacon. Apparently today they started offered he traditional bacon from the belly. The bacon I got was brined for a week and then smoked.

Thank you for all of the help! I definitely got an education! I just had a conversation with my butcher and it sounded like I knew what I was talking about!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacon

When I was growing up the only sort of "bacon" I recognized and knew as "bacon" was the equivalent of those "back bacon" slices you show. It was rare that I saw those rashers made from pork belly, and it was thought to be inferior bacon, if it was thought to be bacon at all. It wasn't until I came to the US that I experienced those pork belly rashers of "bacon" as the "default" type of "bacon", with the back bacon being rarer.

A cut-and-paste from the Wiki article:

Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. It is usually made from side and back cuts of pork,[4] except in the United States, where it is almost always prepared from pork belly (typically referred to as "streaky", "fatty", or "American style" outside of the US and Canada). The side cut has more meat and less fat than the belly. Bacon may be prepared from either of two distinct back cuts: fatback, which is almost pure fat, and pork loin, which is very lean. Bacon-cured pork loin is known as back bacon.
Edited by huiray (log)
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Have you also seen this?

http://www.thepauperedchef.com/2010/04/a-guide-to-bacon-styles-and-how-to-make-proper-british-rashers.html

ETA: p.s. Read the comments. Several commentators there corrected some details/nomenclature & what-not in the article itself - e.g. bacon would be far more commonly fried in a pan for a Full Breakfast (in the UK) than grilled (UK)/broiled (US).

Edited by huiray (log)
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