Problem was that most recipes I saw used Morton Tender Quick or Morton's Sugar Cure and I couldn't find either locally. I kept meaning to order some but just never got around to it. Homemade Canadian or "back bacon" seemed destined to spend an eternity on my food "bucket list".
That all changed when this recipe recently fell into my lap. It only uses salt and pink salt as the main curing agents and I can find that at my regular grocery store, Food City.
Ingredients (2 lbs)
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 2 Tbsp pink salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 lb boneless pork loin
- Make the brine. In a large pot, heat 3 quarts of water, salts, and sugars until the salt and sugar is well dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool at least to room temp. Best practice is to chill it to 40f.
- Place the pork loin in a container. Stir the vanilla extract into the cold brine and stir. Pour over the pork to cover. Place in refrigeration and let brine for 48 hours.
- Remove from brine, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry. Place on a raised rack and put back in refrigeration UNCOVERED to air dry for 24 more hours.
- Remove pork from refrigeration. Set up a smoker for a 250f cook using either hickory, fruit wood, or a blend of both. Smoke pork loin until it reaches an internal temperature of 150f. This took just over 2 1/2 hours for mine.
- Allow to rest and cool. Place in a Glad zip top gallon bag and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
- Slice thinly and serve as desired.
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|Use a container small enough so that the liquid covers the meat completely. Use a plate to keep the meat submerged.|
|After curing and air-drying. You could only see slight coloration changes.|
Here are the times and temps from my cook. I smoked mine on my Big Green Egg using cherry wood at 250f.
|Time (min)||Cooker Temp (f)||Internal Temp (f)|
|After smoking. That's the color I was looking for!|
|It slices much easier after refrigeration.|
I was worried how this would turn out. Concerned enough that I bought a pack of Canadian Bacon as insurance for my Eggs Benny this morning.
The worry was for nothing, this turned out fantastic. The bacon had the best smoke flavor I have ever had in Canadian Bacon. Not too strong but definitely a key player. It also had that salty/sweet taste I expect without being the slightest bit "hammy". I used it to make Trevor a pair of egg mcmuffins and he loved them. I made Alexis and me Eggs Benedict and I was very impressed.
So where did I find this recipe? From a book that I received to review from Simon and Schuster.
Make the Bread, Buy the Butter
What you should (and shouldn't!) cook from scratch to save time and money
This book is so much more than a "cookbook". The whole premise is about not just CAN and HOW you make something yourself, but whether you SHOULD bother. I have to say up front, this is probably one of the most practical books I have gotten in 2-3 years and it is a fun read as well.
Author, Jennifer Reese (The Tipsy Baker blog), takes us through her trial and error journey of making things at home instead of buying them at the grocery store and gives us her wit and wisdom about her experiences. She shares our pain. Anyone interested in food sometimes compelled to make everything from scratch. But is making it from scratch really worth it? Maybe not.
The book walks through 120 "how to's" and in the end, makes a judgement call on whether it is better to buy it or make it yourself. I like that the judgement is subjective and isn't only based on cost per ounce. Jennifer also takes into consideration quality and the hassle. Sometimes the buy it vs make it recommendation fit what I expected but just as often I was surprised. Either way, you know WHY she reached that decision so you can decide for yourself.
Alexis and I both thumbed through the book it it was full of "Ooooh, I always wanted to make THAT at home" ideas. I would list them but there are too bleeping many! Trust me, if you are into food at all, you are going to like this book.
But what really keeps the book entertaining as well as functional is the fun and humor that Jennifer injects into her trials, like this excerpt from her attempts to raise her own turkey.
We loved her instantly, perhaps because she was such a tragic figure. If a turkey could get a bad boob job, smoke a pack a day, and drink three martinis with every lunch, she would resemble this wheezing, sclerotic bird.
I could go on and on about the genius of this book but you would yawn and move on. So I will say this. I like this book so much that I am going to buy a copy for one of you.
This isn't sponsored by the publisher, I'm going spend my own dime (or 150 dimes as it were) to give away a copy of Make The Bread, Buy The Butter. TO ENTER, leave a comment about ONE item you have always wanted to make at home and whether you think the end result would be better to BUY IT or MAKE IT. (for example: I have always wanted to make my own English Muffins but it's probably better to BUY IT.)
Entries close on 12/8/12 at midnight Eastern time. I will draw one random comment on 12/9/2012 and buy that person a copy of Make The Bread, Buy The Butter. Good luck!
Drawing WinnerThe 21st comment was the random winner. Cloudfish, please contact me with shipping details. I can't find contact info on your profile or blog. Thanks!!
[Standard Disclaimer] I received a copy of this book for free but I'm buying one in the giveaway so that makes us even, just in case the FTC is watching. Yeah, that's how I roll, stickin' it to "the man"!