Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Old Time Homemade Buckboard and Canadian Bacon

How many of you remember old-time bacon with more meat than fat and cut in really thick pieces. Sometimes it was coated in course-ground black pepper. My grandmother used to fry it up and make coffee gravy from the drippings along with pancake style, buttermilk, soda biscuits, I could never get enough. I can remember the smell that the peppery bacon and strong coffee gave to the gravy as it was poured out on the hot biscuits. She would often stick a slab of that bacon in a biscuit wrapped in a cloth napkin and send out with me for a mid morning snack when I stayed over at the ranch. I hope she can cook for some of us in heaven someday, it was that good. I have been making my own Buckboard style bacon for several years now along with homemade Canadian bacon. If you have priced bacon or Canadian bacon lately it is very high, while here in Central Texas we see raw pork butts run on sale for as little as $ .99 a pound. I bought a pork loin for $1.97 a pound just this last week. Buckboard bacon and Canadian bacon are made the same way the difference is the cut of meat and the time required to cure. There are two products I use made by Morton Salt company. My favorite is Morton® Sugar Cure® The other is Morton® Tender Quick® If you cannot find these at your favorite grocery store you can order them directly from Morton Salt company on their website. Both of these are a mixture of salt, curing salts and sugar. I often add such spices as black pepper, garlic powder, all spice, maple syrup, sorghum syrup, cloves or molasses to the meat mixture while it is curing to add flavor to my bacon whether Buck board or Canadian style. Since you make it yourself you can use your favorite spices or try new combinations.

Now here is the difference in the two different types of bacon. The Canadian style is made with a lean pork loin and has very little fat. It makes wonderful sandwiches and pizza topping when sliced thin. It can be fried or broiled and used like any high-quality specialty ham. We often use it as a topping on a salad. The Buckboard style is a pork butt with the bone removed and split so that it will cure all the way through in 10-12 days. It has quite a bit of fat in it so it can be used just like any other bacon or ham. It is wonderful seasoning bacon for a pot of beans, greens or cabbage. I like it fried up just like regular bacon for breakfast or as one of the best BLT sandwiches you ever ate. My wife likes the BLT with Dijon mustard while I prefer Duke's mayonnaise.

The basic recipe is as follows: do not skimp on the cure, you can put a little extra but make sure and put enough for the weight of the meat. I use one tablespoon of cure and one tablespoon of brown sugar for each pound of meat. Rub the cure into the meat and pack the remainder around the meat in a large plastic bag such as a heavy-duty zip lock bag or place in a crock or plastic tub with sealable top and place in the refrigerator. Do not use a metal container. The meat will form a brine as it cures so I turn it every day to even out the cure. I use a rough time table of 5-6 days time for a pork loin and 10-12 days time for a split pork butt. The goal is to cure the meat all the way through, it is better to over cure than under as far as time in the cure. When the time is up remove the meat from the cure and rinse well. Soak in ice water for about and hour then dry. You now have raw cured Buckboard or Canadian Bacon and it can be fried or cooked any way you like. I prefer to bake or smoke the meat at about 220 degrees until an internal temperature of 150 degrees is reached. I then thin slice the meat and place in plastic bags in the refrigerator or freezer. It is now completely cooked and ready to eat right out of the bag as sandwich meat or you can lightly fry it if you like. My family thinks it tastes a lot better than store bought products and the cost is less per pound; it's really hard to beat. After all you made it yourself, Wild Ed


ChileFarmer said...

Ed, you sure making me hungry and homesick for my growing up days.
I make buckboard bacon, just because I like it better than regular or Canadian bacon. Fresh side meat I can not find, so it is out of the picture. Not much bacon meat on these wild hogs around here. Well there might be if it was a large hog. I am in the East Texas area. Enjoy your blog. CF

Wild Ed said...

We used to have a place in Llano County where we killed plenty of good fat wild hogs. They were eating the corn from deer feeders and cattle feed they were able to steal from the troughs. Now that we are in Lampasas County we do not have hogs on our place. I sure miss them even though most say we are lucky not to have them.