Store bought Canadian bacon and Irish bacon is OK but it pales in comparison to the homemade stuff.
Curing meats such as bacon, ham, or pastrami is fun and the results are often better than store-bought. But curing is very different from any other recipe because you are using a preservative, sodium nitrite. You must read and thoroughly understand my article on the Science Of Curing Meats before attempting to cure meat or before you ask any questions. You no longer need to use the calculator on that page because this page has it built in.
Special thanks to the AmazingRibs.com science advisor, Prof. Greg Blonder of Boston University, for developing the formulae for these calculations.
Here we show you how to make Canadian bacon, i.e. cured, smoked pork loin sliced into discs about 1/8″ thick, and is often called back bacon. It is exactly what you want if you are making Eggs McMuffins or Eggs Benedict. In Canada you can also find “peameal bacon” which has been rolled in cornmeal. Irish bacon is cured like Canadian bacon but it is not smoked so just leave the wood out of this recipe if you want to make it Irish.
Both bacons are lean, perhaps 10:1 meat to fat, while American bacon, also called streaky bacon, is often 50% fat. Because Canadian and Irish bacon are much thicker than American bacon, so the curing time is longer. Order boneless pork loin (not tenderloin, that is an entirely different cut). They can be cut thisk and grilled and served like ham steaks because they are made the same way and taste very similar.
pork loin(See Curing Calculator below for details)
sugar(See Curing Calculator below for details)
Morton's kosher salt(See Curing Calculator below for details)
garlic powder(See Curing Calculator below for details)
distilled water(See Curing Calculator below for details)
PLEASE NOTE: The cure time depends on the thickness that you enter below. You can go longer by as much as 20%, but do not go less.
Prep. Put everything except the meat in a very clean nonreactive pot stainless, enamel coated, glass). Dissolve the salts and sugar. The garlic will not dissolve thoroughly. Let it cool in the refrigerator.
Cure. Scrub the exterior of the meat thoroughly (don't use soap). Put the pork in the pot and keep it submerged for at least 0.8 days in the fridge (you can go about 20% longer if you have to). If necessary weigh it down with a dinner plate or something else.
Cook. For Canadian bacon, after the cure, it is time to smoke. Before smoking, rinse the surface really well because there will be a heavier concentration of salt on there. Smoke at 325°F until it is 145°F in the deepest part of the center. Depending on how thick your meat is, this will take from 1 to 2 hours. The reason we cook at 325°F is to prevent the stall which will happen at lower temperatures and that can result in a much longer cook and drier meat. You can refrigerate it for up to two weeks or freeze it for longer. If you vacuum seal, it will keep longer still.
For Irish bacon,after the cure, rinse the surface really well because there will be a heavier concentration of salt on there. Then, in the grill or oven, roast it at 325°F until it is 145°F in the deepest part of the center. You can refrigerate it for up to two weeks or freeze it for longer. If you vacuum seal, it will keep longer still.
Serve. You can serve it right out of the smoker or oven or slice into discs and sear it on the grill or in a medium hot frying pan with a little bit of oil.
Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.
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