I have been making back (Canadian) bacon using Pop's brine for awhile. I add some maple syrup to it and inject the loin. It is very good but I found some loin rib ends on sale at the supermarket. I like them for back (Canadian) bacon because they usually have some fat lines in them. Also, they are thinner than the centre loin which makes them perfect for a dry cure.
Here are the loins I picked up.
The first thing I did was measure the thickest part of the loins.
The thickest part were two inches thick. I usually don't dry cure a loin that is thicker than 2 inches. I have slightly modified Bearcarver's formula for how long to dry cure bacon. I multiply the thickest part in inches by 2 and add 5. So, 2 inches times 2 plus 5 equals 9 which is the number of days I will dry cure the bacon.
Next, I weighed each loin to determine how much Mortons Tenderquick I would need for each loin. It is important to get the amount of cure right if you are dry curing. The first loin was just over 1 kilogram. You need to use 15 grams of Tenderquick per each 500 grams of pork loin. So I needed just over 30 grams of Tenderquick for that loin.
Following Bearcarver's recipe, I added 10 ml of brown sugar to the Tenderquick. My own addition was 15 ml of maple syrup to the Tenderquick and brown sugar.
Then, I rubbed the mixture all over the pork loin. Before doing this, I put the pork loin on a plate. It is important that you get all the mixture of the cure into the plastic bag you cure the bacon in and the plate makes that easier.
I put the pork in a large Ziploc bag and made sure I got all the cure mixture in the bag. I sealed it and put it in the fridge.
I repeated this procedure with the second loin.
Both loins went in the fridge for 9 days. I turned the bags and rubbed the liquid that came out into the loins every morning.
After 9 days, I took the loins out of the bags and rinsed them of under running water. Then I soaked them in water for 20 minutes. I changed the water and soaked them for another 20 minutes.
I dried each loin with paper towels and put them in the fridge, uncovered, for 5 hours.
I like to make a new smoke with a version of the old smoke so I can compare. So I only took one loin to make into pepper bacon. I rubbed maple syrup into it and sprinkle a liberal amount of coarse ground pepper over it.
It went back into the fridge with the unpeppered version overnight.
The next morning I put them on the rack for my Bradley and put in the probes of a little present I got myself for Christmas, a Thermoworks BlueTherm Duo. I think I purchased the Rolls Royce of remote thermometers but I will write a review later.
The loins were nice and dry so I did not put them in the smoker without smoke at 140 f for a couple of hours to develop pellicle.
I put the loins in a 180 F Bradley over maple smoke. I only left the smoke on for four hours. The unpeppered loin was ready after five and half hours and the peppered took six hours. I took both to an internal temperature of 145 F.
I put them in the fridge under plastic wrap overnight.
The next day I sliced them with my trusty ham slicer.
Of course, you have to fry some up and try it.
As usual, Bearcarver's recipe worked great. The straight up bacon has a great but not overpowering salt taste and a nice sweetness. However, here is where my advanced age and stupidity caught up to me. I had forgotten how the maple syrup just adds sweetness and not much maple flavour. Considering the cost of maple syrup, I will just double the brown sugar to 20 ml per kilogram of pork next time and leave out the maple syrup. It will be easier to rub in a totally dry rub as well.
As for the peppered version, it is the best bacon I have made. It had way more pepper flavour than I expected and the touch of heat with the sweet salty bacon taste is magnificent. I love it!
Put some spice in your life and make peppered back (Canadian) bacon.