There are few things in this world as fun as smoking your own meat..... and then there is making Canadian bacon. Canadian bacon is one of nature's most expensive meats ($25 a pound) and a luxury that most people only have with Eggs Benedict when they go out for brunch. Also known as Back bacon or Irish bacon, Canadian bacon is actually unbelievably easy and cheap to make. Just like our friend Gravlax, Canadian bacon is a great first step into the world of charcuterie. Charcuterie, as previously mentioned, is the art of curing meats or vegetables. As with most curing techniques, Canadian bacon is cured with salt but there are also other flavors you can add that you will not find in the commercially made versions. This recipe will also call for you to order a special ingredient, but don't worry we'll get to that later. It's cheap and it will last forever and that's all you need to know now (hint: It's the Pink Salt).
Unlike Mr. Salmon that we cured in a dry rub, this pork loin will be cured in a brine. At its basic a brine is a saltwater solution that helps preserve meat, fish, or vegetables. When you add spices and herbs to it, a brine becomes an unlimited source of inspiration and an unstoppable way to add flavors to your food. The salt carries the flavors of the herbs and spices into the meat through osmosis (nerd alert!), penetrating deeper into the item being brined than just salting alone. The osmotic process also plumps up the cell wall of the meat with salt water making your meat almost impossible to dry out by over cooking.
There is no crazy technique needed in making back bacon. It takes care of itself and is pretty hard to screw up (unless you let it sit in your brine for longer than described). It really is all about patience. Most of the time, your bacon is will be out of sight and out of mind. The recipe takes 3 days to complete, and while this sounds daunting, it really means nothing more than your meat is chilling in the fridge. Even when it comes to the actual cooking, the pork just sits on your grill and soaks up smoke. You will do nothing more complicated than adding more wood chips to your smoker. So your total active time of cooking will be around 30 minutes over three days and it will yield you over 8 pounds of Canadian bacon. That works out to $200 worth of bacon for basically drinking beer and watching TV. I think that sounds pretty fucking awesome and if you do too then read on and let's get on with the bacon makin.
8 Pounds of Pork Loin
3 Ounces (84 grams) Pink Salt* (see bottom for notes on Pink Salt and where to buy)
3 Cups (700 grams) of Salt
2 Cups (450 grams) of Sugar
2 Tablespoon (56 grams) of Black Pepper
|I will add here that I am not really in the habit of cleaning the inside of my grill. The racks yes, the inside not so much.|