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1st attempt Canadian Bacon - a little too salty and ham-like but still good

Discussion in 'Pork' started by noboundaries, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I picked up a 2.9 lb cryovac of pork tenderloin on sale at the local grocer for $3.99/lb and thought "lets try making Canadian bacon," a first attempt for me  The thickest part of tenderloins was about 3 inches.

    I found a wet cure recipe online that called for A LOT more curing salt than I expected to see in a recipe that only used a gallon of water.  The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups kosher salt and 8 teaspoons of curing salt for four pounds of meat.  The Prague #1 pink salt I have said 1 teaspoon for 25 lbs of meat.  I reduced the kosher salt to 3/4 cup and the curing salt to 5 tsps, leaving the rest of the ingredients alone.

    After cooking and cooling the brine I injected it, then submerged it, and put it in the refrigerator for what turned out to be 58 hours.  Then I rinsed it and dried it in the refrigerator for 30 hours.  Smoked it for 4 hours with apple wood between 206F and 225F in the Weber Kettle with most of the smoke time in the mid teens.  Kept it smoking until IT was 160F so it could be eaten without cooking.

    It had a GREAT skin and flavor, was moist and tender, pink through and through, but was just on the verge of being too salty.  Had a flavor that reminded me of a Virginia Ham.  My wife and I have both been enjoying it but decided next time to significantly cut the curing salt and maybe even the kosher salt a little more.

    I'm still not used to taking pics of what I cook and grabbed the camera after I started dissecting the tenderloins to see what I had inside.  On a scale of 1-10, this was about a 6.5 for success.  Makes a fantastic addition to baked beans though and that's how we've been enjoying it.

  2. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well it sure looks great! What you have to remember is to rinse /soak and test fry for saltiness before you smoke it. As for your brine that sure does sound like and a lot of cure and salt combined. I've gone to Hi Mountain buckboard bacon cure for canadian bacon. Easy and flavorful....and no wet brine soaking but I just keep looking for simpler and easier the older I get.
  3. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your CB looks really good. A day in the fridge will change the flavor some. Here is the brine that I use and it is not too salty. Just for comparison


    1 gallon of water

    1 cup granulated sugar

    3/4 cup of kosher salt

    1 cup brown sugar

    1 Tbs cure #1

    1 Tbs garlic powder

    1 Tbs onion powder

    1 Tbs molasses (mild flavor)
  4. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks all!  I'll give it another shot once what we have is gone, cutting the #1 to no more than 1 Tbs, possible 1 tsp.  Definitely will cut the kosher salt again to 3/4 cup.  The recipe I used did have a cup and half of sugar.  I added a bunch of fresh sage and thyme but really couldn't taste them.  There was fresh minced garlic in my recipe too.  I like the idea of adding onion powder and molasses.  I have plenty of that.  I like the idea of test frying a piece before smoking too.  I have used fresh water soaks for decades to "reconstitute" salt cod for a family Italian salad at Christmas so I know exactly how to do that if the pork is too salty.  Never crossed my mind this time.

    Always fun to experiment!  We even eat the "learning experiences," we just don't serve them to visitors.
  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm going to have to try the Hi Mountain Buckboard Bacon cure.  Must not be meant to have it this morning though.  Tried two different places to order 16oz and my order wouldn't go through at either place.  Weird.  Probably the holidays.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    NB, morning..... the LEAST amount of Cure #1 I would use..... A 120 Ppm equilibrium brine.... The cure is necessary to stop the promotion of botulism when smoking meats... 0.87 grams cure #1 / pound of water + salt + sugar + meat etc. will give you a 120 Ppm concentration...

    How to figure it.....

    Weigh the meat + water + salt + sugar + spices = total weight... convert to grams ( x 454 )

    Multiply grams total x .000120 = grams nitrite for 120 Ppm concentration....

    divide grams nitrite by 0.0625 (% nitrite in cure #1) to get the grams of cure #1 to add to the bucket of brining liquid and meat....

    Cure #1 .... 1 tsp. = 5.7 gms
    1 Tbs. = 17 gms

    Normally 1 tsp. is used to adequately cure 5 #'s ground meat.... approx. 156 Ppm nitrite...

    Bacon, wet brined max cure #1 is 100-120 Ppm depending skin on or off......


    Edit.... meats over 2" thick should be injected with 10% of their weight and brined for 10+ days........
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ah HAAAA!!!!! Thanks Dave.  I did a rough calculation based upon the ingredients I know I used and came up with 1.86 tsp!  HUUUUUUGGGE difference from the 5 tsps I used.  That formula is going in my log.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can change the multiplier 0.000120 to any concentration of nitrite you want to cure with.... 120 would be the minimum amount of cure.... For larger cuts of meat, it is advised to up the rate to 150 ish Ppm nitrite...

    If you are using a pre packaged rub that has spices etc. and cure, ALWAYS use the recommended amounts that come with the packaged mix... Some manufacturers cure amounts are adjusted for their specific "spice" mixes.....

    As an example.... My meat guy gave me several pounds of Maple sugar bacon cure when I bought bellies from him...
    The recommended rate is 2 #'s of the mix per 100 #'s of meat for a dry rub... If I remember correctly..... that's 150 Ppm nitrite.... 1.5% salt and 0.5% sugar.... or something close to that... Heck, I'd go look but it's too darn cold to get to my curing room and all my stuff... The cure amount in the mix I think is 0.75% nitrite.... 150 Ppm for a short term dry rub on bacon is within acceptable FSIS limits.... See FSIS note below.....

    Dry Cured Bacon (rind-off): A maximum of 200 ppm of nitrite or equivalent of potassium nitrite (246 ppm) can be used in dry cured bacon. Note: the calculation method for nitrite in dry cured bacon is the same as that for nitrite in other dry cured products. Refer to pages 24-27.
  9. nosuchreality

    nosuchreality Newbie

    .del duplicated post.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  10. nosuchreality

    nosuchreality Newbie

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  11. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cool.  Math fight!!!! 

    Now, where'd I put my old Texas Instruments SR-52 Scientific Calculator?
  12. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Obviously new to this myself but I'm learning that some pink salt can have substantially more nitrite (6.25%) than other curing salts that are as low as 1%.  That is even addressed by the Charcuterie author Michael Ruhlman on his blog.  I've since found 1 gallon wet brine Canadian Bacon recipes online that suggest two teaspoons Prague #1 per gallon with 5 lbs of meat, which is pretty darn close to my calculations above.

    And like geerock said pre-mixed curing salts for wet or dry brining have their own directions to follow closely.  I'll move on to dry curing once I have this wet curing thing down.  I'll do another loin or tenderloin, depending upon what's on sale, to get the flavor I want.  Then try a boneless butt or shoulder.  I want to try injecting the brine with curing salt in a turkey to hot smoke too, but that's another thread entirely!     

    This has been fun and educational guys.  Many, many thanks.
  13. nosuchreality

    nosuchreality Newbie

  14. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry I am late to the party, I have been meaning to try curing tenderloin! You told me what I wanted to know. Basically you made a tender Tasso (a Cajun seasoning meat). But Tasso these days is really Tuff and dry and all these people today think any Cajun food or meat, needs to have enough pepper to scald a cat's ass! I bet that tenderloin is dynamite when used as Tasso.

    Try grating some of it and adding to an omelet! That same grated tasso makes a Tasso cream sauce, Pop says you could put Tasso cream sauce on Labrador poop and folks would ask for seconds knowing what it is! Broccoli/cheese casserole, creamed spinach, heck even mac and cheese!! Don't waste it, believe me you just gotta use it to learn to love it. And as you mentioned it pretty dang good as a seasoning meat for pinto's, green beans, black beans, red beans, etc etc etc Instead of chunks of ham in a pot of Navy beans, yes indeed use some tasso!

    Personally I think your "Tender Tasso" looks excellent. I am going to make some yet......
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am a little curious as to what kind of Canadian Bacon you had that did not taste like Ham? I have cured Loins, Tenders, Bellies, Butts and Shoulders and although the texture and color of the meat varies some what, virtually all the cuts of Pork with the possible exception of Belly, due to the high fat content, that you Brine with Salt, Sugar, Spices and Cure #1 then Smoke, taste similar to if not exactly like Ham. Even Turkey cured like Ham taste like Ham. So what flavor profile are you going for? I am always interested in trying something different with pork. Thanks...JJ
  16. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    NSR, I know the recipe you are referring to online.  Read the comments down below the recipe.  I don't post links due to the site agreement.

    Foamheart, thanks for the PM and the ideas, plus the reference to "Tasso."  Never heard of it. Learned something new!  The kids are visiting this weekend and there's only about a 2-3" end of one of the tenderloins left.  Grating it in an omelet is a fantastic idea.

    CJJ, yeah, "too ham-like" was probably not the best reference.  The taste I wanted was mildly salty, noticeably smoky with a touch of sweet.  With the recipe I used the salt was almost overpowering and the smoke was more like a chaser once the salt subsided on the tastebuds.  No sweet at all.  Gotta fix that because salt, smoke, and sweet in balance are the perfect complements to pork IMO.  For a first attempt it was a good learning experience.  I used baker's sugar this time and am looking forward to experimenting with brown sugar, molasses, pure maple syrup, and combinations of them all.  Might even try injecting a solution of simple sugar, maple syrup, and Applejack just before smoking!

    I love playing with my food.  It's one of my favorite playgrounds!
  17. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I was thinking the same thing chef. Especially for cured loin. Its going to taste a bit hammy when cured and its nice and moist. As long as it doesn't taste like chicken! ;)
  18. nosuchreality

    nosuchreality Newbie

    Thanks Noboundaries, I reread his blog entry. He covered the 1% sodium nitrite thing but didn't address the heavy use of Cure #1. He did comment about experimenting to get the 'salt' level right and thus the change of overall brine to the 5% solution using basically a Tbsp of Cure #1 @ 6.25% into 2 liters.  Perhaps I'll post directly to source and ask about why the very high nitrite concentration.  (okay, found it in the Celery Bacon article link to safety concerns)

    My first Canadian Bacon I did on the grill with smoke per the Charcuterie recipe was probably like yours.  Salt was all I tasted with a little hint of the hamesque umami savor.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  19. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's an interesting development.  Since making the over-cured (nitrated) Canadian bacon my wife has had her first-ever-in-her-life attack of gout!  I'm not saying that CB was the only culprit, but it obviously contributed to the issue since nitrites can form the crystals that cause gout.  Hydration is another big factor.  We always try to stay hydrated but she has been so busy with traveling, projects, and the holidays that she hasn't kept up her hydration routine.  Mix the two, nitrites and dehydrated state, and you've got the potential for gout.  Once she gets the gout cleared up I'll try it again with the lower concentrations.  I have two more tenderloins waiting to go but with this recent development they will become Asian BBQ instead.    
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    NB, morning..... sorry to hear your wife had a gout attack.... Thinking in the future, using the 120 Ppm rate, and smoking to an IT above 140 ish, there shouldn't be much nitrite left in the me.... It is partially consumed and broke down in the meat and then temps above 130 ish diminish it's content further.... Not sure of the amount in the final product.... Someone with more knowledge than I will maybe discuss this...

    Also, tell your wife "Black Cherry concentrate" seems to help or eliminate gout all together..


    Also members here have testimonials on the great results they have had taking black cherry for their gout....
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013