Meat counters are bigger than ever and loaded with a huge assortment of bacons, but have you noticed that it doesn’t taste as good as it did when you were a kid? So why not cure your own meat? Although the process may be a bit time consuming, home curing produces a more flavorful bacon than what you can find in the store.
5 lbs boneless pork loin (2.27 kg)
1/3 cup pickling salt (102 g)*
2 tbsp Prague Powder #1 (34.2 g)
1 tbsp liquid smoke, optional (15 ml)
1/4 cup maple extract (59.1 ml)
1 cup granulated sugar (232 g)
2 quarts chlorine-free water (1.9 L)
#10 elastic netting #10 elastic netting
1. Trim the fat on the topside of the pork loin to about 3/16” thick; refrigerate.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a non-reactive container, stir well until salt and sugar are dissolved, chill to 38°F (3°C).
3. Submerge meat in brine solution; place a platter on top to weight it down, cure for 7 days at 38°F (3°C); turning daily.
4. Remove loin from solution and rinse briefly under cold running water to remove excess salt.
5. Hang loin in preheated 130°F (54°C) smoker, vents wide open, no smoke, hold for 1-2 hours or until surface of meat is dry.
6. Close vents, gradually raise smoker temperature to 165°F (74°C), apply smoke, hold until the desired color is reached.
7. Close vents, increase smoker temperature to 165°F (74°C), hold until loin has an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
8. Remove product from smoker, shower with cold water until the internal temperature of the product drops to 110°F (43°C).
9. Refrigerate product overnight; next day slice bacon and cook in usual manner.
*Though bacon has been cured and smoked, it must be fully cooked before it can be eaten. Since there’s really no way to determine the temperature of meat sliced as thin as bacon, to be safe it should be cooked until it’s crispy.
If the finished product seems too salty for your taste buds, soaking it in cold water for one hour will remove much of the excess salt. Pat dry before slicing.
Calculating a 10% pump is as simple as weighing the ham and multiplying the green (original)weight by ten, for example, a 14 lb. (6.35 kg) ham times 10% would be 1.4 lb. (0.64 kg) or 20 oz. (591 ml) of pickling solution.