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Mar 20, 2007 12:15 PM

Artisanal Bacon in Montreal

Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could recommend a boucherie that I can get good artisanal bacon in Montreal. I've been to the Atwater Market and to the butcher shops there; I bought some artisanal bacon at the shop near Premier Moisson bakery. It was a disappointment - too smokey and oddly spiced in my opinion. I may give the shop another go as that they had other types of bacon.

However, I'm looking for something along the lines of this:

Good ol' fashioned bacon, smoked over hickory, and with different and unique flavors. I'd love to get my hands on some thick cut maple flavored bacon. And no, the Maple Leaf stuff in the supermarkets just won't do.

BTW, if the link doesn't work, sorry. This is my first post and I'm still finding my way around chowhound.

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  1. Can't tell you what kind of wood it's smoked over, but the best bacon I've found in the city -- and I've tried all the purveyors at Jean-Talon Market as well as Anjou-Québec, Boucherie Atlantique, Queue de Cochon, etc. -- comes from Boucherie de Paris in Côte-des-Neiges (5216 Gatineau, 514 731-6615). Very meaty, nicely smoky but still porky, not too salty or sweet. Makes great lardons. Whenever I serve it to friends, they remark on its flavour. Thierry, the owner-butcher, sometimes also has an extra-smoky version (he calls it "boucané"), though I prefer the regular stuff. He slices it order.

    4 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      I got the bacon from Boucherie de Paris yesterday(Tuesday). Tried it, & found very good(although I haven't tried most of the bacon mentioned on this thread so I can compare). One thing I discovered is that Boucherie de Paris doesn't make their bacon. Any idea Carswell(or anyone else) who makes the bacon for Boucherie de Paris? I didn't feel comfortable asking them who supplies their bacon.

      1. re: BLM

        Dunno. Not long ago they showed me a crate filled with their house chorizo, which they were about to deliver to the Portuguese guy who does their smoking; maybe he handles their bacon too. Will try to remember to ask when I pick up my lamb this weekend.

        1. re: BLM

          All I could find out is that Boucherie de Paris purchases it from a one-man distribution firm that jealously guards its sources. Thierry did know that it's made locally in small quantities.

          1. re: carswell

            Thanks. Originally when I went in to look for the bacon at Boucherie de Paris, I couldn't find it. So I asked him if he had any bacon, which led him going to the back & getting the bacon. The bacon was in some kind of packaging(didn't get a good look), & that immediately made me to think to ask if they make their bacon.

      2. I really the bacon that Queue de cochon makes. A couple of locations, on Laurier East in the same location as Le Fromentier (under the Super choix video store) as well Plaza St-Hubert just south of Beaubien.

        The pork place from Îles-de-la-Madeleine which the name escapes me at JTM (facing Viandes St-Vincent) is also pretty good though sometimes a little fatty. I'm yet to try PorcMeilleur's bacon.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Campofiorin

          Porcmeilleur bacon is very good, although in all honesty, I can only compare it to industrial stuff.

          Much fattier than your typical bacon.

          1. re: ScoobySnacks20

            Though a little on the smoky side, La Queue de Cochon's bacon is probably the best I've ever tasted. Really meaty but striking a nice balance with the fat added a little saltiness, but not too much, that sort of balances the smokiness. Nice and crips and cut to order.

            1. re: Campofiorin

              How about the bacon and the much leaner smoked pork products at Central/Eastern European butcher's and delis? There is a nice Eastern European deli at the Jean-Talon Market, and Slovenia on Clark just south of Beaubien, and on St-Laurent in the strip between Prince-Arthur and avenue des Pins.

            2. re: ScoobySnacks20

              Had some of Porc Meilleur's bacon last night & found it seriously better than anything you can buy at the supermarche. There was actually a taste to it. I believe they also sell smoked bacon in the 1st case on the left as you enter the store.

              1. re: RhondaB

                Hi Everyone,

                Thanks for the tips about where to find artisanal bacon in Mtl. Lagatta, it's interesting that you would mention the leaner smoked bacon with the Eastern European flair. The bacon that I purchased from Atwater market may just be in that style. I had a friend visiting with me recently who is Croatian. I made us breakfast using that bacon, and he said that tasted similiar to croatian sausage. I'm not crazy about it myself, but I'll finish it off and probably proceed to Boucherie de Paris in Cotes-des-Neiges next. Since I live in NDG, it's not that far off.

          2. When next you go to Atwater, check out the cheese shop at the center of the lower level. Through the cheese room, then through the oils and spices room, you go on down into a deli counter area in the basement at the very back. I was looking for guanciale, which they didn't have, but the counterperson showed me a big chunk of pancetta that looked nicer than any I have yet seen. It had that artisanal cast to it, and I'm getting some next time I'm in there.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Laker115

              Yep, that back room is a great treasure trove - real good Bresaola also.

              Maitre Gourmet on Laurier E (within the golden triangle which is Queue de Cochon, Le Fromentier and Fouvrac) is where I currently get bacon.

              I wonder if someone can answer this - I'm from England, been in Montreal for 2 years and have only ever seen what we call 'streaky' bacon. I actually prefer 'back' bacon which is more like a pork loin cut - higher meat/fat ratio and consequently is never cooked to the point of carbon (which seems to be a N American thing). If anyone knows what I'm talking about - I'm all ears.

              1. re: uncompressed

                For back bacon aka peameal bacon aka Canadian bacon (from a US perspective), try Porcmeilleur (Jean-Talon Market) or perhaps Vieille Europe (St-Laurent blvd near Roy).

                1. re: Mr F

                  British back bacon isn't quite the same thing, though. It's not as lean as our back bacon. Looks more like a very thin boneless pork chop.

                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    The closest thing to that I've seen here is a type of smoked pork available in Central and European butcher's/delis such as Slovenia, Charcuterie Hongroise and Balkani at the Jean-Talon Market. Porcmeilleur sells smoked pork chops, but I don't think they are fully cooked.

                2. re: uncompressed

                  I you are talking aboubt bacon where the slices are wider than the average and there is a small piece of bone in each slice, then you can get this at many Polish and European places. I get mine sliced at Euro-Deli Batory on St-Viateur.

                3. re: Laker115

                  Hi Laker115,

                  Thanks for the tip. I was actually there when looking for bacon. However, since I didn't see any, I just assumed that they didn't have it and left.

                  This past Saturday, I went to Wavel, the polish bakery on Sherbrooke. I got some polish donuts (tasty, but heavy and greasy), 1 lb of potato and onion perogies, and 1/4 lb of bacon. Their bacon is ok, but not what I was looking for. Also, I didn't notice until after the fact, but it had the rind still on - which is not something I prefer. Sunday, I went to visit some family in the South Shore and wound up at Fruiterie 440 on Tascherau blvd. There's a bunch of nice little grocery stores in that mall. There's Pagel, the italian bakery, a few boucheries, and a small polish sausage shop. I got a 1/4 lb of what they call a bacon roll, but is probably their version of pancetta. I also got some sausages, 3 cajun chicken, and 3 louisanne. As a result, I've got a suffit of meat in the house now. I'll probably end up making bean and bacon and sausage soup now.

                  1. re: Chai Latte

                    Last night, when coming home from work, I decided to go to Atwater Market on the spur of the moment. I went back to William P. Walter, the boucherie near Premiere Moisson, and got some more bacon. This time around I got some bacon that was smoked over maple wood. I haven't made it yet, but will report back on how it tastes. If anyone's interested in other artisanal bacons, I guess that this boucherie isn't too bad in terms of choice. They have the bacon smoked over maple wood, the double smoked bacon (which must taste like nothing but smoke, I guess), black bacon and which is what I got last time (this is the one that my friend said tasted like croatian sausage), and this interesting looking Italian bacon called, "cochinelle" (sp?) and looked a bit like proscuitto. I think I'll get this next time.

                    Oddly enough, with all these boucheries, I couldn't find any that carried andouille sausage. The closest equivalent is kielbasa - but you can find that anywhere, even the supermarkets. So does anyone know where I can find andouille? Years ago, there was this boucherie/sausage place inside Le Faubourg that carried it. That place is now long defunct, alas.

                    1. re: Chai Latte

                      "So does anyone know where I can find andouille?"

                      Andouille, the smoked Cajun sausage, or Andouillette, the French chitterlings sausague? Dunno about the former but French butchers (Boucherie de Paris, for example) often stock the latter.

                      1. re: carswell

                        Andouille, the smoked cajun sausage. The little boucherie inside Le Faubourgh use to carry it.

                        1. re: Chai Latte

                          Just an update on bacon...the maple smoked one that I got from William P. Walter's wasn't bad. It had a nicey porky flavor, good lean meat, and a decent amount of fat. Alas, it didn't have much of a maple flavor, either in the way of taste or aroma. I was expecting a nice subtle smokey maple aftertaste. Instead, it was the usual salt and smoke.

                          I went to Jean Talon market on Saturday and passed by Porc Meilleur. Due to the Easter holidays, they're having a 20% discount on Bacon. I didn't get any though as that their bacon is very very fatty. I looked at it and the fat to meat ratio wasn't to my liking. Lots of fat, little meat. They also have their Easter Hams out now too.

                          1. re: Chai Latte

                            In that case, sorry I can't help you. I only know the other Andouille, they are much easier to find here.

                            Meanwhile, I'm making notes from this thread in anticipation of my next grocery trip for good bacon. Thanks everyone!

                    1. re: benila

                      They make quality bacon at Bucharest (Decarie & Snowdon) and Chopin (Decarie & Monkland) - in both cases I believe they're smoked in house. Bucharest also sells the "double-smoked).

                      They are both European-style, which seems to differ in that they use less (or no?) sugar to cure. The taste is different, but you can also see the difference because after frying, you don't end up with all that burned sugar crust stuck to the bottom of the pan - and of course the bacon doesn't get as crispy for the same reason.

                      I believe even the most "artisanal" Anglo-American style would have sugar added.

                      Note that Quebec Smoked Meat (Nower) makes superior-quality bacon. I wouldn't call it "artisanal", but certainly much better than what you buy at the supermarket.

                      1. re: mtlalex

                        Is there anywhere in Montreal where I can get unsmoked bacon? Marks and Spencer used to sell it ...

                        1. re: pyropaul99

                          Do you mean simply raw pork belly? I've seen that at lots of butchers. Tranzo usually has it.

                          1. re: mtlalex

                            I think he means cured but not smoked. Like pancetta. If it weren't cured it wouldn't be called bacon.

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              Exactly. Many butchers I asked could not get it into their heads that not all bacon is smoked and tried to just sell me pork. I said I wanted something similar to unsmoked ham in the state it's in before it's cooked, but still they persisted in trying to sell me pork.

                              What I want is cured pork that hasn't been cooked. Bacon in the UK comes in both smoked and unsmoked varieties, both uncooked. Same with ham, too.

                              1. re: pyropaul99

                                Well, pancetta would be one option. I would maybe check out Eastern European butchers. I have a vague recollection of seeing unsmoked bacon at Balkan on St-Hubert, but I'm really not certain.

                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                  What I really want is UK-style bacon like they used to sell in Marks and Spencers before it closed. Or a good piece of uncooked ham so I can cook it myself. I do not want anything smoked!

                                  1. re: pyropaul99

                                    Ok... Do you want streaky bacon or back bacon?

                                    1. re: SnackHappy

                                      I prefer back bacon to streaky. I've got used to the usual smoked streaky bacon over here but often have a hankering for unfatty unsmoked back bacon for a proper English breakfast.

                                      1. re: pyropaul99

                                        Well, then the peameal bacon from Beau Bien 2000 on Ontario would probably do the trick.

                                        Boucherie Beau-Bien (2000) Inc
                                        3748 Ontario E.
                                        (514) 527-0221

                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                          I'll give it a try when I'm in that area, thanks!

                                    2. re: pyropaul99

                                      I'm pretty sure the Valens and Viandes des Charlevoix lines of bacon are not smoked at least they don't taste smoked. One even less than the other, IIRC Valens really has zero smoke taste.


                                      1. re: ios94

                                        Yeah, the Valens product doesn't really taste like much of anything, and it's very expensive.

                                        I would maybe check out Porcmeilleur. I know you can buy unsmoked lardons from them, but not sure if the have unsmoked centre cut bacon.

                      2. Boucherie de Tours in Atwater Market buys their Bacon from Boucherie Viau in Hemmingford who due to a grandfather clause is one of only two Butchers in Quebec licenced to sell from an Apple fired open pit. He has two varieties light and heavy smoked. Tours buys the light smoked but will order the other.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: finefoodie55

                          I was under the impression that they had both on offer all the time, I've often bought the "double-smoked" (I'm guessing the heavy smoked?) bacon which comes in whole pieces shrink-wrapped in the fridge to the left of the cash, as well as both kinds in larger pieces not wrapped on display in the case at the front, the "farmer's bacon" and I think the other was called "wood smoked"?

                          When I asked about the difference they explained that the "farmers" is hot-smoked and saltier, and the "wood smoked" was cold-smoked, and the "double" is both (obviously).

                          Unless the "double smoked" is not the heavy smoked from Boucherie Viau but from somewhere else...

                          1. re: Chocolatesa

                            dizzying! How was the double-smoked you bought? Was it sooo smokey? I am looking for the smokiest bacon possible with the intention of making a 'benton's old fashioned'.

                            1. re: benila

                              The double-smoked is amaaaaaaaaazing. Yes it's very smokey. Your kitchen smells like campfire while you're cooking it! That benton's old fasioned sounds amazing, I'll have to try making that too now!

                              When you buy the double-smoked, you can take the package to the front counter first and ask them to remove the skin and slice it for you, I always ask them to slice it thick and put the skin back in the package so I can use it for soups and stews, it has a LOT of smoke on it so it's great for flavoring stuff.

                            1. re: finefoodie55

                              Yes I'd be curious to know as well who the other butcher is...

                              1. re: finefoodie55

                                Tried the 'double smoked' bacon sold at Boucherie de Tours in Atwater Market. The bacon is first smoked with maple, and then with applewood at Boucherie Viau in Hemmingford QC. The thin outside layer of the bacon has the very smoked flavour I was looking for. The inside of the bacon does not have as intense of a smoked flavour. It also was not as salty as I would have liked.
                                So, my search for smoky bacon continues...