Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How-to: Canadian Bacon.

In this recipe, lean is king. Canadian Bacon recipes call for all fat and sinew to be removed, so when shopping for the Pork Loin, I looked for the one with the most fine-grain marbling I could find. This view highlights the end of the Rib-eye section of the loin and the beginning of the Center-cut section. At the top right of the muscle, you can see the end of the Rib-eye's cap-muscle. 

This view shows the center of the loin, the cap off fat on top is beginning to dissipate, as well as the kernel. 

For the first step, turn the loin over with the Rib-eye section facing you. You can simply peel the cap and kernel away from the loin with your fingers. 

Any connective tissue is easily broken. 

Once you've peeled the majority of the cap off, you can roll the loin away from the cap. 

Once you've removed the cap, save it for later - You can make Salt Pork, or save for making Sausage. 

The second layer of tissue to be removed is almost as simple, but may require a knife. This kind of trimming utilizes a sort of pushing motion, you don't want to cut into the meat, but you're trying to take off the fat and silver skin in one piece. 

Now that the Loin is left fairly bare, the next step is going to be removing the heavy silver skin from the top of the Loin. 

In portions of an inch or so wide at a time, slip your knife in and push forward while tilting your knife slightly upwards. The idea here is to get all the silver off without cutting into the meat. 

Long knife strokes aren't the easiest but are absolutely worth practicing. 

Now we have an entirely lean Pork Loin. 

Now it's time to make the brine. Warm a gallon of water on the stove. While your water is warming, weigh out a cup and a half of Kosher salt, 1 cup sugar and 1 ounce Cure #1 (Sodium Nitrite). Tie together a bunch of Thyme and a bunch of Sage and smash a handful of Garlic Cloves. Add these ingredients to the warmed water and stir until Salts and Sugar are dissolved and the mixture becomes aromatic. Remove from heat and let to come to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator. DO NOT put the Loin in until the brine's temperature is below 40F. You do not want the brine to cook the meat!

Submerge the loin completely, weigh down with a plate and refrigerate. I allowed the Loin to brine for a little less than 3 full days. 

Remove the loin from the brine and rinse off thoroughly and discard the brine. 

Once you've rinsed the Loin off, pat dry with paper towels and refrigerate uncovered for a day (or two). 

I didn't want the Loin to be overly smoky, so I only smoked it for an hour and a half, then finished it in a 225F oven. Once the meat reached 150F I pulled it out, cut some up for my friends and refrigerated the rest. I feel the need to say that this was one of the best tasting and most enjoyable recipes I've recreated and I would definitely recommend you try this at home!

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