Canadian Bacon Final Score
Using the results from John’s taste test, we can now calculate the DIY food quotient for canadian bacon. I decided to weight the 4 components of the score as follows:
- 50% based on results of the taste test: % of participants preferring home made product
- 25% based on how difficult it was to make
- 12.5% based on how expensive it was to make (vs. store bought)
- 12.5% based on how useful the product is in everyday cooking
The canadian bacon scored a “10” on the taste test. Of 24 taste testers, only 1 chose the store bought bacon as their favorite. I gave the canadian bacon a “6” for difficulty. It isn’t terribly hard to make compared to other meats we have tried – just a brine and a smoke. No sausage stuffing, humidity-controlled fermentation, or waiting for weeks on end. What’s more, a single loin yielded maybe 3 pounds of meat. It’d be easy to double up and really make a lot of freezer fodder if one was so inclined.
Cost was also a strong point for the home made product. It was slightly less expensive than store bought. This earned the bacon an “8” in the cost category. Lastly, its usefulness, perhaps the most subjective subject. I gave it a “7” for this one – I can see the canadian bacon being used in soups and stews, sliced thin at breakfast with eggs, and just being eaten as a cold cut. Not extremely useful, but pretty good.
Total score: 8.4. Problem is, we don’t have anything to compare that to. My hunch is this will be a relatively high score, though, driven by its overwhelming taste test results. Our conclusion – the home cook can and should make canadian bacon.
The secondary results of the testing surprised me quite a bit. As John noted in his post, the store bought pork actually beat the local pork in 2 recipes we tested. Also, the Ruhlman recipe beat out the Rytek Kutas in both store-bough and local pork varieties. That leads us to conclude that the most important factor for canadian bacon is making it yourself. The second most important factor is using the right recipe. And, it doesn’t matter if you use store-bought meat.
In retrospect, something like a canadian bacon that is heavily salted and spiced might be the perfect thing to do with store bought meat, because it drowns out the subtle differences in flavor. In any case, we have the salami taste tests coming up, so we’ll be able to compare retail vs. local on another totally different product type.