For my first attempt at curing, I chose to do Canadian bacon, the recipe for which I adapted from Charcuterie (see the left side bar). It really is so easy. The only special things you’ll need is pink salt (aka Prague powder #1 or Instacure #1 or sodium nitrite curing salt) and a smoker, although the smoker is not really necessary. Roasting in a oven should work just fine. I don’t have a smoker, but my neighbor allowed me to use his (thanks Dennis!).
The results were far better than I expected. I was afraid the pork would be too salty or dry, but the brine salted the meat perfectly and the pink salt gave the finished product a wonderful pink color. Without it, I think the color would have been grey. The texture was right on and it wasn’t dry at all. Smoking the pork gave it the extra touch, as you can imagine.
Adapted from Charcuterie
- 2 quarts water
- 6 oz kosher salt
- 4 oz sugar
- 0.75 oz pink salt* (see note)
- 1 tbs coriander seeds
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 ½ lbs trimmed pork loin
In a large (non-reactive) pot heat the water with the other brine ingredients until all the salt and sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temp before sticking it in the fridge to chill. When it’s completely chilled, add the pork loin. Make sure it’s completely submerged. Let the pork loin brine for 48 hours. I actually left it in for like 60 hours because I forgot about it and it still turned out fine. After that time, remove it from the brine and pat it dry. Let it sit in the fridge, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours. It’s best if you can suspend it on a rack over a tray to let it drip and allow air to circulate around it. Hot smoke the pork loin at 200ºF until it reaches an internal temperature of 150º. This took me about 3.5 hours. If you don’t have a smoker, you can roast the pork in the oven and I’m sure the result will still be tasty. According to the recipe, the Canadian bacon can be kept for up to 10 days after it's cooked, but I'm sure it will be gone well before that time!
Before I "sign-off" I want to direct your attention to the Foodie Blogroll icon in the left side bar. I just joined because I like the idea of having so many food blogs at my fingertips! It's also a great way to network. I encourage you to take a gander.