We've been making our own Canadian/Back Bacon for several years now and have been pleased with the overall results. Every now and then we get a batch that is just a little too tough and dry. This week we tried a Sous Vide method to finish the cooking and this is a total game-changer.
We picked up a beautiful boneless pork loin for about $2.10 USD per pound. Combined with the ingredients needed for the brine and the cost of electricity for the smoker and Sous Vide our cost will come in around $2.75 USD.
- 1 gallon of water, divided into 1 quart & 3 quarts
- 1 cup kosher or pure salt, coarse or fine grind will work because it will be dissolved in the brine.
- 1 cup maple syrup (imitation maple will also work)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 2 teaspoons pink curing salt, or 1 teaspoon for every 5 pounds of meat (aka InstaCure or Prague Powder). This is called "Sal de Cura" in Costa Rica and I have found it at the Alajuela Central Market at vendor booth #34)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon of peppercorns
- 1 boneless pork loin, trimmed of excess fat (about 8 to 10 pounds). A thin layer of fat will caramelize and add flavor when the bacon is fried.
- 1 to 2 large chunks of light smoking wood, such as apple, pecan, lemon, or coffee wood
- Make the brine by combining 1 quart of water, salt, maple syrup, brown sugar, pink curing salt, bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve all the salt and sugar. Boil for about a minute.
- Pour 3 quarts of very cold water into a large container (I use an inverted plastic cake safe). Add the brine mixture and when it is completely chilled, submerge the pork into the cure. If the meat tries to float, place a heavyweight on top of it to keep it in the brining solution. Place the container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Turn the pork over every day to make sure it cures evenly.
- Remove the pork from the cure and dispose of the brining solution. Fill the container with fresh cold water and submerge the pork again for a minimum of 90 minutes. Remove pork from the water and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Heat your smoker or grill to about 165°F and when it at temperature, add the wood chunks for smoke and place the pork in the smoker. It is best to use indirect heat for this process. Smoke the pork for 1 hour in the smoker. While the meat is smoking, heat the water bath for the Sous Vide to 60°C/140°F.
- After the pork loin has been smoked, place it in a large vacuum seal bag (you may need to split the loin into two pieces to fit properly in the water bath container) and seal it. Place the sealed bags in the water bath for 5 hours.
- Let the bacon come to room temperature in the sealed bag and chill the bacon for several hours before attempting to slice.
- 5 pounds of Pork Loin yielded 48 slices of Sous Vide Home Cured Canadian/Back Bacon.
Pan-fry the slices and enjoy!