Pepper Back (Canadian) Bacon

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I needed some more back bacon. For you Americans, what you call Canadian bacon, Canadians call back bacon. Get it right will you.

There was some rib end loin roasts on sale. I find them perfect for dry cure bacon. They have a nice marbling and they are thinner than the centre loin pieces. Dry cure can’t be injected so you shouldn’t dry cure any piece of meat that is thicker than 2 1/2 inches or it will take too long to cure safely.

I bought two roasts and decided to just cure one and to cure the other and smoke it with a layer of pepper. When you are dry curing, you have to deal with each piece of meat separately as you have to match the amount of cure to the weight of the meat and wrap each piece individually.

You start by measuring the thickest part of the roast you are going to cure. This determines how long the roast has to sit in the cure. The roast was 2 inches thick. The formula is to double the thickness of the roast in inches and add 5 (2 times 2 plus 5) which came up with 9 days this bacon will have to cure.

Then you weigh the meat to determine how much Mortons Tenderquick you will need. Tenderquick is salt with a curing agent added. If you don’t use enough, the bacon won’t cure properly and may allow toxins to form. If you use too much, an overdose of the curing agent could make you ill so be careful with your calculations. You need 30 grams of Tenderquick for every kilogram of meat (1 tablespoon Tenderquick per pound). My roast was just over one kilogram so I used 33 grams of Tenderquick.

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Then I add 10 ml of brown sugar per kilogram to the Tenderquick. I mix in 15 ml of maple syrup per kilogram to make a paste. I put the roast on a plate and rub the paste evenly over the roast and put it in a large Ziploc bag. Make sure you scrape as much as possible of the paste into the bag. You want all of the Tenderquick in with the roast.

I repeated this procedure and calculations with the second roast.

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Now the bagged roasts go in the fridge for 9 days. I turn them and rub any liquid in the bag into the meat every morning.

After 9 days, I take the roasts out of the bag and rinse them under running water thoroughly. Then I soak them in clean water for 20 minutes. I change the water and soak them another 20 minutes. Dry them thoroughly with paper towels and put in the fridge for 5 hours to dry the surface.

I took one of the roasts out and spread a thin layer of maple syrup on the roast. Then I spread a generous layer of cracked pepper over the roast. I put it back in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. You want the surface of the roasts to be dry.

The next morning I hooked up a new toy to the roasts, Thermoworks Blue Therm Duo to the roast to track the internal temperature. I will write a review on it later.

The bacon went into a smoker preheated to 180 F over maple smoke. You can make the bacon in a 180 F oven and it will be good but it will not have the great smoke taste.

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After 5 1/2 hours the internal temperature of the regular back bacon was 145 F and it was done. It took 6 hours for the pepper bacon to get to 145 F.

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I put them in the fridge overnight, covered, to allow the flavours to even out.

The next day I sliced it about 1/8 inch thick and fried some up.

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The Verdict

The regular bacon was as good as usual. A nice cured taste without being too salty. I am going to stop using maple syrup in the cure though. You can’t taste any maple taste, just a nice sweetness. Considering how expensive maple syrup is, I will just increase the amount of brown sugar to 20 ml per kilogram. Dry rub is easier to rub in too.

The pepper bacon was terrific. The combination of salty, sweet and spicy is off the hook. This will be a favourite!

The Old Fat Guy

4 thoughts on “Pepper Back (Canadian) Bacon”

    1. Thanks, LB. I wish the best to you and yours as well. May you party down and rest up during 2015.

      As for the bacon, I had some for breakfast with blueberry Coyote pancakes. The new year is starting off great!

      The Old Fat Guy

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