I thought peameal bacon, back bacon, and "Canadian bacon" were all the same thing (which is basically just glorified ham).
...next on: The Puzzlemaster's Court!
Don't feel too bad, all Americans think that. :)
Back bacon is cut from the pork loin and includes pork belly, it can be cured wet in brine or dry, however brine cured back bacon seems to be much more popular/common than dry. It looks like: [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bacon.JPG]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bacon.JPG[/url]
Peameal bacon is back bacon that is wet cured in brine, then rolled in ground corn meal. The reason it is called "peameal" is because it was originally rolled in ground yellow pea meal, however after World War II they switched to using corn meal I believe due to it being cheaper but retained the name "peameal" which has stuck ever since. While there are a variety of variations on the way back bacon is prepared and named in Canada, peameal is arguably the most common. Sometimes it is also sold just called "back bacon" also, with "peameal" being implied (and corn meal being implied on that). :)
Canadian bacon? What's that? :) Well, oddly enough... Canadian bacon is not from Canada, it is an American construction which should be labeled "American not really Canadian bacon" because it only exists in the US. Looking up "Canadian bacon" online shows what looks like a slice of formed ham, and reading up about it suggests that that is exactly what it is - smoked ham cut from the loin eye.
This is why American's always think back bacon is just ham - because they've seen "Canadian bacon" in the grocery store in the USA and think that when Canadian's mention "back bacon" that that is what we are talking about. Except... it isn't. If you took American "Canadian bacon" out of the wrapper and put it on a Canadian's plate, they would call it "smoked ham" because that is what it looks and probably tastes like, and that's pretty much what American friends who have had it have described it as.
Back bacon, whether peameal rolled or not however doesn't taste anything like smoked or unsmoked ham at all, nor does it look like it either. I think some American came to Canada and had back bacon once and loved it so much he asked for the recipe but they didn't want to give him their family secret, so they gave him a recipe for smoked ham instead and he went back to the US and called it "Canadian bacon".
Thing is, we have smoked ham in Canada too, and it isn't anything like back bacon at all, completely different flavour/taste both because it is a different cut of meat, and the brine it is cured in imparts a very different flavour. I would encourage all Americans who think they know what "Canadian bacon" is to order some authentic peameal bacon directly from Canada (not some US made thing that might be labelled peameal bacon), and try the actual real thing directly. The only way you're likely to think it is just ham, is if you have no tastebuds. :)
Best served with maple syrup either along with pancakes, or bacon and eggs with home fries or similar traditional breakfasts. It's also nice cooked up as a slab on a rotisserie on the BBQ then sliced. Also nice to have a slice or two of peameal bacon on top of a hamburger. Even nicer if you put regular smoked bacon on top of that too. And of course, back bacon is also great diced up and sprinkled on top of authentic poutine as well.
I really shouldn't be telling all of you this however eh, because I'm giving away all of our Canadian secrets. :) As for American "Canadian bacon" though... how should I put it... um... "y'all c'n keep that thar abomination". :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_bacon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peameal_bacon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_bacon#.22Canadian_bacon.22
Just look at the photos on wikipedia there and see how vastly different back bacon looks from American "Canadian bacon". :) http://cdn2.listsoplenty.com/listsoplenty-cdn/uploads/2011/07/Canadian-Peameal-Bacon.jpg
Oh, one other thing - back bacon, like regular bacon is cured but raw. It must be cooked before eating. That American "Canadian bacon" seems to be pre-cooked ham ready to eat. :)