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Canadian Bacon

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Alright, after seeing several recent threads about curing pork loins for Canadian Bacon, I decided to give it a go myself.  I mixed up a batch of Pop's Brine and tossed about 9 lbs of pork loin into three ziplock bags and covered with brine (and got the air all out of the bags) and put the bags into a cake pan and into the fridge.  Today was the 11th day they have been in the brine, so I figured it was time to take them out (they were about 3" thick at the largest part, so according to Bear's calculations, that's a minimum of 8-9 days).  I rinsed them off and popped them into some cold water to soak for 1/2 hour.  Took them out, patted them dry and cut the thickest one in the center to make sure the cure got all the way through.  Here is the picture (which looks like it did...but then there's the REALLY dark area on the outside that looks weird):

 

 

 

I cut a couple of slices for the fry test and my wife says that it tasted a bit too salty - but I told her to wait until after it's smoked to see if she still thinks that's the case (especially since she told me before I started this adventure that she likes her ham like she likes her husbands: salty!).  Since I don't have a "taste baseline", I don't know if the salty flavor now will meld with the smokey flavor so it doesn't seem as salty later...but in the future, if I think it's too salty after I take them out of the brine, is there any way to de-saltify them a bit?  Would soaking in regular water for awhile remove some of the salt?

One lesson I also learned is that I should've put them in the brining buckets that I have instead of the ziplocks.  I figured ziplocks would take up less of the valuable shelf space in our fridge (until I can get a project fridge for the garage) - but they inevitably leaked like I was worried about.  Lesson #1 for me: just use the brining buckets, that's what I got them for.

 

The pieces are in the fridge to form the pellicle, or at least dry the outside a bit, which seems to be the prevailing process.  I plan on smoking either tomorrow or Friday. 

post #2 of 7
The dark side is just a separate muscle... pretty common with loins for it to be that way.

To me pop's original brine ratio is too salty for my tastes and his low salt is not salty enough for me... salt is subjective, but I like 3/4 cup per gallon water. The smoke will not desalinate it and you need to soak it out before you smoke because once it's smoked it's done... if it's really salty, 1 hour isn't a long soak honestly, but a soak is only going to draw out the salts closest to the surface then it will take time for the rest to re-distribute
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by uzikaduzi View Post

The dark side is just a separate muscle... pretty common with loins for it to be that way.

To me pop's original brine ratio is too salty for my tastes and his low salt is not salty enough for me... salt is subjective, but I like 3/4 cup per gallon water. The smoke will not desalinate it and you need to soak it out before you smoke because once it's smoked it's done... if it's really salty, 1 hour isn't a long soak honestly, but a soak is only going to draw out the salts closest to the surface then it will take time for the rest to re-distribute

Thanks for the input (especially on the different muscles).  I didn't mean to imply that smoking would reduce the salinity - I just meant to question whether the salty TASTE itself might be reduced when combined with the smokey flavor. 

post #4 of 7
To me it does not at all. The fry test should be your real life indicator of how salty it will be... I will say, especially the first few times, you and the misses are likely going to be a little more focused and maybe a little more critical of the tastes... at least that was my experience... at 2.25% for dry curing and 3/4 cup to 1 gallon for wet, I don't even fry test anymore
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I left them uncovered in the fridge all day yesterday, so today is smoking day!  I wrapped them in netting, put them on the hooks, and hung them in the Smokin'-It #3D.  I'm using the Amazen expandable tube with a mix of apple with a bit of hickory.  I started at 130* for one hour to get some smoke onto the outside, then I'm bumping it up to 220 until it hits 150* IT.  I hope it turns out OK.



post #6 of 7

looks great and i bet it comes out great... i take my Canadian bacon to 145 personally but i don't think 5* would make a huge difference... 145 is a safe temp and it also looks done (i know some people get nervous with med-rare pork)

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
And they're finished...taste is awesome. First bite was salty, but after that, perfect.



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