Canadian Bacon


 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
Yesterday I hot smoked my latest batch of Candian bacon. (Sorry, no pictures.) I'd bought two full pork loins and cut each into three roughly equal pieces. Dry cured them for about two weeks, then cold smoked them for about six hours, finishing with the hot smoke a couple days later.

Chris posted a video yesterday about expanding the WSM capacity and mentioned having trouble after using a rib rack to hold some spatchcocked chickens. The chickens fit into the rack fine when raw but the meat tightened up when cooked and was nearly impossible to get out of the rack. In a rather odd coincidence in timing, before watching the video I used a rib rack to hold three of the pieces of pork loin. They fit fine before cooking, but it was impossible to get them out of the rack without mangling them when they were done. (Kudos to my Zenware rib rack for being far too well made from me to pry the bars apart to slide the pork loins out.)

So I now have about 12 pounds of Canadian bacon in the refrigerator waiting for the smoke to fully penetrate and be ready to eat. I should probably get started on the next batch so I don't have to wait so long after this batch runs out.
 

John F Ford

TVWBB Fan
Yesterday I hot smoked my latest batch of Candian bacon. (Sorry, no pictures.) I'd bought two full pork loins and cut each into three roughly equal pieces. Dry cured them for about two weeks, then cold smoked them for about six hours, finishing with the hot smoke a couple days later.

Chris posted a video yesterday about expanding the WSM capacity and mentioned having trouble after using a rib rack to hold some spatchcocked chickens. The chickens fit into the rack fine when raw but the meat tightened up when cooked and was nearly impossible to get out of the rack. In a rather odd coincidence in timing, before watching the video I used a rib rack to hold three of the pieces of pork loin. They fit fine before cooking, but it was impossible to get them out of the rack without mangling them when they were done. (Kudos to my Zenware rib rack for being far too well made from me to pry the bars apart to slide the pork loins out.)

So I now have about 12 pounds of Canadian bacon in the refrigerator waiting for the smoke to fully penetrate and be ready to eat. I should probably get started on the next batch so I don't have to wait so long after this batch runs out.
always wanted to try that. What cure did you use? covered or uncovered in the fridge?
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
My first batch was a wet cure but I've been using a dry cure for everything since then. Just seems easier and less likely to create a mess to me. I've been using the Digging Dog Farm calculator with the default percentages. (You'd want to at least verify your Cure #1 has the specified percent of sodium nitrite.) I have a lot of sage and thyme in the garden. Last time I added a bit of both to the cure. This time I went with just sage.

I trim the excess fat and remove any silver skin, cutting the whole loin into more manageable pieces that will fit into a gallon zip-loc bag. I weigh each piece and weigh out the proper amount of cure ingredients for each. It helps to have a scale that reads to 0.1g. Each piece gets rubbed with the cure, placed in its own zip-loc bag, and then any cure left in the pan added to the bag. The bag goes in the fridge and gets massaged and turned every couple days. There's some guidance about X days per inch of thickness but I've just been leaving it in the cure for two weeks. That's almost certainly longer than necessary, but I don't think you can over cure it.

Then I remove the meat from the bag, rinse it briefly under running water, mostly to get off the excess herbage that was coating the outside. Then it goes back into the fridge on a cooling rack set in a sheet pan, uncovered, for a couple days to form a pellicle. Then I do the cold smoke. I've been using a mix of apple and oak, mostly because that's what I have on hand. Then back into zip-locs in the fridge for a couple days. Then I hot smoke at a low temp (~200-225F) to an internal of 150F. Then back into zip-locs for another rest in the fridge.

Aside from the cure and the hot smoke I can't say that any of these steps are actually necessary. I haven't always done the cold smoke but I wanted to get more smoke into the meat and that seemed like a reasonable approach. Plus I'm usually attracted to things that make my life more difficult, so another step and two more days in the fridge worked well for that. I would probably leave the meat uncovered after the cold smoke and hot smoke but I don't have a separate fridge for this and don't want everything in the main fridge to reek of smoke.

While this probably sounds like a lot of steps, none of it is all that difficult or tricky. It just takes waiting time and a bit of work over the course of a few days. I was honestly surprised I could turn out something resistant to spoilage that tasted so good with so little effort.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
Exactly how I do mine, except that I prefer a lower smoke temp (180-200F.) Nice looking, CB, JH!
I skipped a bit on the hot smoke part. I actually started at ~175F and slowly ramped up to ~225F toward the end when I was getting impatient and figured it had taken on plenty of smoke by then, so we're mostly in agreement on that too.

And since the discussion has gone on a bit, here's a picture... The green stuff is chopped fresh sage from the garden.

EKUXHX7.png
 

John F Ford

TVWBB Fan
My first batch was a wet cure but I've been using a dry cure for everything since then. Just seems easier and less likely to create a mess to me. I've been using the Digging Dog Farm calculator with the default percentages. (You'd want to at least verify your Cure #1 has the specified percent of sodium nitrite.) I have a lot of sage and thyme in the garden. Last time I added a bit of both to the cure. This time I went with just sage.

I trim the excess fat and remove any silver skin, cutting the whole loin into more manageable pieces that will fit into a gallon zip-loc bag. I weigh each piece and weigh out the proper amount of cure ingredients for each. It helps to have a scale that reads to 0.1g. Each piece gets rubbed with the cure, placed in its own zip-loc bag, and then any cure left in the pan added to the bag. The bag goes in the fridge and gets massaged and turned every couple days. There's some guidance about X days per inch of thickness but I've just been leaving it in the cure for two weeks. That's almost certainly longer than necessary, but I don't think you can over cure it.

Then I remove the meat from the bag, rinse it briefly under running water, mostly to get off the excess herbage that was coating the outside. Then it goes back into the fridge on a cooling rack set in a sheet pan, uncovered, for a couple days to form a pellicle. Then I do the cold smoke. I've been using a mix of apple and oak, mostly because that's what I have on hand. Then back into zip-locs in the fridge for a couple days. Then I hot smoke at a low temp (~200-225F) to an internal of 150F. Then back into zip-locs for another rest in the fridge.

Aside from the cure and the hot smoke I can't say that any of these steps are actually necessary. I haven't always done the cold smoke but I wanted to get more smoke into the meat and that seemed like a reasonable approach. Plus I'm usually attracted to things that make my life more difficult, so another step and two more days in the fridge worked well for that. I would probably leave the meat uncovered after the cold smoke and hot smoke but I don't have a separate fridge for this and don't want everything in the main fridge to reek of smoke.

While this probably sounds like a lot of steps, none of it is all that difficult or tricky. It just takes waiting time and a bit of work over the course of a few days. I was honestly surprised I could turn out something resistant to spoilage that tasted so good with so little effort.
Thanks for the details I really appreciate this, thank you so much. I will book this post for reference.
 

JayHeyl

TVWBB Pro
Finally got around to slicing up what I haven't already eaten. The mangling of some of the pieces due to them getting stuck in the rib rack caused some issues here. Many of the pieces in the lower right stack wanted to fall apart. They were difficult to handle. The rest of them were fine. I'll never use that rib rack for this again.

GboZ3BT.jpg
 

Bob Bailey

TVWBB Fan
Finally got around to slicing up what I haven't already eaten. The mangling of some of the pieces due to them getting stuck in the rib rack caused some issues here. Many of the pieces in the lower right stack wanted to fall apart. They were difficult to handle. The rest of them were fine. I'll never use that rib rack for this again.

GboZ3BT.jpg
Nice haul.
 

 

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