I have this obsession. It can get a little out of hand at times.
If you can buy it, odds are I’ve thought “can I make that?” Doesn’t really matter what it is… I’ve thought that. 🙂
One of my favorite cookbooks is Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. I read it like some people read a magazine.
I have gone so far as to buy a meat grinder and have made my own sausages.
Anyways, I usually buy Canadian Bacon from our butcher, Butcher Boys. (Who are so cool they don’t even have a website.) 🙂
They make it there and it’s amazing. If you’ve only had the fake canadian bacon (you know, those round slices of compressed “meat”), you don’t know what you’re missing.
But one day I came across a recipe in Charcuterie for none other than Canadian Bacon and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. How have I not thought to make it myself before?!
I used the technique in Charcuterie but made my own brine recipe. It turned out absolutely amazing and I will never buy it again!
DIY CANADIAN BACON
4 lbs boneless pork loin
For the brine:
1 gallon(16 cups) water
5 garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
8 tsp pink salt (or another curing salt- I get it from my butcher)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
2 tsp peppercorns
Place all the brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Refrigerate until cold, then place the pork loin in a large container and add brine to cover. Weigh pork down with a plate if needed to keep it submerged.
Refrigerate for 48 hours.
Remove loin from brine and place on a rack over a tray and chill, uncovered for 12 to 24 hours.
(This will develop the pellicle, the tacky surface that allows the smoke to adhere.)
Hot smoke the pork to 160 degrees, which should take 2-3 hours.*
(the canadian bacon is on the right, I smoked a ham with it.)
Cool before wrapping. Refrigerate up to 10 days.
Easier to slice after fully cooled as well.
I sliced mine thinly and wrapped in packages of 4 oz in butcher paper and froze.
*Oven directions: Instead of smoking it, bake at 200 degrees until meat is 160 degrees. I haven’t tested this, but it will definitely be missing the smoke flavor, which really does add alot to this.