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Mar 11, 2010 07:48 PM

Source for *real* Canadian bacon (back bacon) or Irish bacon in San Francisco?

Hi Chowhounds,

Does anyone have a Bay Area source for real Canadian bacon (not the ham-like slices labeled Canadian bacon) or, Irish bacon? Bacon made from back pork loin rather than American-style streaky bacon made from pork belly.

Any tips appreciated! Online sources fine too if authenticity can be vouched for.

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    1. re: turtl_girl

      Qu'est-ce que c'est "real Canadian bacon"? Being a Canuck, I am curious about what you are actually seeking... From Wikipedia:

      Back bacon comes from the loin in the middle of the back of the pig. It is a very lean, meaty cut of bacon, with less fat compared to other cuts. It has a ham-like texture... Americans may call this cut Irish bacon or Canadian bacon.

      In Canada: The term bacon on its own refers generically to strip bacon from the belly meat of the pig, which is the most popular type of bacon sold in Canada.[citation needed]
      The term back bacon is used interchangeably to describe either smoked or unsmoked back bacon.
      Canadian bacon, meaning back bacon, is not in common parlance amongst Canadians.

      1. re: grayelf

        Pardon my fractured French but:Mon cherie, c'est pareil que transformant des frites en pommes frites Francaise.

        1. re: wolfe

          Based on Grayself's definition above, the Mi Tierra Market in the Mission has smoked cured, bone-in pork lion. They call it "Chuleta de Jamon" but I think it is what you are looking for. Not sure who their supplier is, but this stuff is very high quality. Hard to beat at 4.50 a pound.

          Mi Tierra Market
          16th and Misssion, SF

        2. re: grayelf

          grayelf -- in the us what is called "canadian bacon" is usually a brined pork loin that is very lean and cylindrical in shape. the slices are circular.

          in the us it is very hard to find irish bacon rashers (slices). if you go to a butcher and ask for "back bacon" they will usually think of these rashers and not what we normally call "canadian bacon." these rashers have a lean oval part, but the fat is attached and there is usually a small more fatty part of the bacon slice also attached.

          in ireland if you say "bacon" but don't say "rashers," people might refer to a whole joint. it is often boiled with cabbage ("bacon and cabbage", as opposed to "corned beef and cabbage" which is not really made in ireland.)

          1. re: grayelf

            I believe in Canadian parlance it's peameal bacon. I read about it (in Saveur?) a few years ago and ordered some by air mail for a ridiculous fee, possibly from this website, which will explain the original location on the animal better than I could:

            It was really delicious, though... I'm visiting Toronto now and considering trying to bring some home to Cali with me.

            1. re: Cicely

              I have heard bacon referred to as peameal exactly once in all my breakfast eating in Canada and that was in Winnipeg. That refers to the bacon that actually has a "meal" on the outside of it I believe. At least it did at the resto we ate it in (Fort Garry Hotel). Which was excellent, btw and completely OT :-).

        3. Thanks for the replies and for the rashers discussion link! Some good tips to follow up on. I am looking for the tender flavorful, rather wider bacon that is common in Canada and somewhat similar in Ireland. I grew up abroad so may have the terminology all wrong, but in our Canadian-heavy circle Canadian-style bacon was referred to as "back bacon", American-style crispy bacon "streaky bacon". The round slices of ham labeled "Canadian bacon" in the US can be good, but are not the tender strips of bacon I seek.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kyuukaru

            Is this what it looks like?
            I have gotten Irish bacon at Andronico's, Shattuck. They don't always have it so call first.

            1. re: kyuukaru

              Check Mi Tierra, I think you will be surprised and impressed if you are in the hood.
              "Back bacon" as you described, is a smoked/cured cut from the 'back' of the animal, correct?

              What they have at Mi Tierra is basically a smoked/cured "standing rib" cut. You ask them to cut the thickness you like, but you get are these ham-porterhouse style cuts. Very tender, very little fat, terrific smoky flavor.

            2. I used to get back bacon from the butcher section at Tower Market (nee Molly Stones) on Twin Peaks/Diamond Heights years ago.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nerdigrrl

                Now Molly Stones nee Tower Market.

              2. Shanahan's (on 9th and Kirkham) usually have several brands of irish bacon to choose from.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sfbing

                  Shanahan's is now Roxie Market & Deli. They still sell lots of Irish foods (and they make GREAT sandwiches.)

                2. Thanks for the tips everyone, would like to report to progress so far, Irish rashers found in John Campbells Irish bakery (Geary & 20th) and Tower Market / Mollie Stones on Portola (Shannon brand).

                  Mollie Stone's
                  851 Cherry Ave # 22, San Bruno, CA