06 March 2012

Back bacon (Canadian bacon)


The first time I'd ever heard of "Canadian bacon" was after I had moved to the U.S. in 1997. I'm a Canadian. At home, we refer to it as "back bacon". Only recently I've learned that's because it comes from the back of the pig (as opposed to regular bacon, that comes from the belly of the pig). Canadians serve back bacon on pizza and with eggs for breakfast. Americans use it for Eggs Benedict (which will be making an appearance here soon, I hope).

So as we near the end of our first winter in Massachusetts, it makes some kind of sense to make food that is commonly associated with the land of Winter. I modified the recipe in Ruhlman's Charcuterie:
4 liters water
1 ½ cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 ½ oz pink salt ← the curing salt containing sodium nitrite, not pink-colored salt
1 tbsp dried sage
1 bunch fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
one 4-lb pork loin
Mix all the ingredients (save the pork loin), and bring to a boil. Stir until the salts are all dissolved, then remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge.


When the brine is chilled, place the pork loin in it.

Pork loin

I warn you, brining pork looks gnarly. Really, not pretty.

Brining pork loin

Keep in the fridge for 48 to 72 hours. Then remove from the fridge, rinse the pork, and pat dry. Place back in the fridge for 12 hours to dry out a wee tad.

Brined pork loin

Fire up your smoker. I like mesquite for bacon, so that's what I used for back bacon.

Smoking pork loin

About two to three hours at 225°F, until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 150°F. Cool.

Back bacon

Slice thinly. I served it first on a nice bbq pizza (Hawaiian).

Hawaiian pizza

Salty and bright. Meaty, with a hint of smoke and thyme. This back bacon is awesome. It'll be figuring in a few other dishes over the next few posts. I wish I'd made this one ages ago.



Mike said...

Looks tasty! We haven't made Canadian Bacon yet, but it is on my list of things to try.

kipper said...

Try regular bacon that ruhlman has a recipe for...you will never go back

Ken said...

Like most backyard BBQ enthusiasts, I've smoked pork loin before: www.easy-bbq-recipes.com/grilling-pork-loin-roast.html. But I had no idea that this is where Canadian Bacon came from. My wife loves Canadian Bacon. I'll be making your recipe VERY soon and I will most certainly link back to your site when I do!

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