Growing up within spitting distance of Canada, I never gave much thought to “Canadian Bacon” as a kid; we had it quite frequently, I just figured my parents smuggled it in from Ontario like they used to have to buy bootleg margarine in Michigan. I rarely buy it for home use, I generally find it is pretty flavorless, and not a great value. Maybe, McDonald’s product, which is about as unbacony as a product can be has also put me off a bit.
As I progressed through the years, I came to understand what we call “Canadian Bacon” in the US is not Canadian at all, but rather a product similar in taste and texture to ham. And here’s where it gets really confusing: ham comes from the butt of a hog, bacon from the belly, and Canadian Bacon from a pork loin. Whew. Canadian bacon is usually leaner than ham, and lacks the sweeteners ham is sometimes cured with.
“Real” “Canadian Bacon” is called ‘back bacon’ up thataways, and “streaky bacon” in Canada’s motherland of jolly old England and other points in the crumbling empire.
And that product is generally more flavorful, with better texture, than most anything sold in the US, save for premium brands, no matter what ‘country’ label it has on it. In fact, hasn’t most processed pork in the US become a real disappointment? Whether you buy chops a tenderloin or roast, most mass market pork in the US tastes like nothing. At least to me. If I want real pork flavor, I’ll buy fresh from a farmer; some Carolina and Virginia hams are spectacular as well.
Anyway, back to the subject. Jones Dairy Farms is a meat producer located in Ft. Akinson, Wisconsin. They’v been selling processed pork products to the masses for over a hundred years. I’m not sure how wide-spread their distribution is, but they have a product locator on their website. I punched in zip codes at both ends of the country and found outlets.
(By the way, if you’re ever in Ft. Akinson on a Friday nite, (118 miles from the Sears Tower, 25 miles from Madison), there’s an exceptional fish fry at the Fireside).
Anyway, a package of Jones Dairy Canadian Bacon headed up in my fridge as a result of it being in the ‘scratch and dent’ bin at my local grocery. It was a buck and a half as opposed to a regular price in the range of $4.50 – $5.00, the equivalent of around $12 a pound.
How was it? As expected. Reminiscent of mild ham. Slightly sweet. The ingredient list, if you’re interested: Cured with Water, Potassium Lactate,Salt, Sugar, Natural Flavor, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Nitrite.
I’d be interested in trying their Old Fashioned Hickory Smoked Whole Ham.
Jones Canadian Bacon Review