I make my own bacon and have done several posts. I find mine is less salty and has a nice sweet hit. I decided to try something a little different and seasoned it with some Cajun spices.
First, let me explain the term back bacon to my American friends. Canadians do not call bacon made from a pork loin Canadian Bacon. We call it Back Bacon. However, an American friend asked what my nationality was. I said Canadian. He asked me who made the bacon. I said I did. He shrugged and said Canadian Bacon and smiled. Sigh.
I got a good deal on a whole pork loin and cut it into 3 pieces. I did the other two as a regular Back Bacon and a Pepper Bacon. I will only deal with my treatment of the Cajun Back Bacon as I have posted the others previously.
To make dry cured bacon you need to understand the process of curing. You make a mixture of salt, curing salt and a sweetener.
The salt pulls the moisture out of the meat.
The curing salt is a mixture of salt and sodium nitrite that gives the bacon its cured flavour and red colour. It also inhibits bacterial growth. Bacon is cooked at low temperatures and cured for a long period of time. Without the curing salts, the meat may spoil. The curing salt usually used is called Prague Powder #1, Instacure #1 or many other names. Whatever it is called, you are looking for a product that is 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite.
It is important that you don’t use too much curing salt as excessive sodium nitrite is bad for you. It is important to not use too little or the pork may spoil during smoking.
The sweetener adds a nice touch of sweet to offset the saltiness of the bacon.
I weighed the bacon. You need the weight to determine how much dry cure to mix.
For each kilogram of pork you need to make a mixture of the following:
- 3 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1
- 30 ml brown sugar
- 15 ml Kosher salt
If you are metrically challenged, you will need the following amounts for each pound of pork:
- 0.05 ounces (1/5 teaspoon) Prague powder #1
- 2 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
If you have 2 kilogram of pork, double the amounts. One half kilogram, use half the amounts.
I put the pork on a plate and rubbed the mixture into the surface of the pork. I put the pork in a vacuum bag and made sure to get all the cure mixture that fell onto the plate into the bag. I sealed it but did not suck the air out.
I put the pork in the fridge. You determine the length of time it will be in the fridge by multiplying the thickest part of the pork in inches by four and adding two. This pork was 2 1/2 inches thick so 2 1/2 times 4 equals 10. I added 2 to make 12. The pork needs to sit in the fridge for 12 days. Turn and rub the bag every day or so to work the rub into the pork.
I took the pork out of the bag and rinsed it under running water. I soaked it in cold water for 40 minutes, changing the water once. I put the pork on a rack and patted it dry with a paper towel. For every kilogram of pork, I rubbed 5 ml of Cajun spice over the surface of the pork. That would be 1/2 teaspoon for every pound.
I put the pork on the rack, uncovered, in the fridge overnight to get the surface to dry totally.
I like my bacon smoky so I did a double smoke. If you like a less smoky bacon, skip the next cold smoke step and go right to the hot smoke.
I filled my A-Maze-N Tube Smoker with hickory pellets and lit it. I put it in my smoker but did not turn my smoker on. I put the pork in the smoker, closed the lid and cold smoked it for six hours.
I wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I preheated my smoker to 180 F. I put the bacon in and smoked it to an internal temperature of 140 F. That took about 4 1/2 hours but will vary greatly from one batch to the other.
I let it cool and then wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge overnight.
I sliced it up and put most of it in vacuum sealed bags in the freezer. Of course I did have to try some.
The Cajun spice add just a hint of heat that I really like. You could make it stronger by adding it at the beginning of the cure but I want to taste bacon, not Cajun spice. This method just adds a nice touch of complexity. It is going in the bacon rotation!
The Old Fat Guy.
- 1 kg (2 pounds) pork loin
- 3 grams (2 ml) (2/5 teaspoon) Prague powder #1
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) brown sugar
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Kosher salt
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) Cajun spice
- Mix the Prague powder #1, brown sugar and Kosher salt.
- Put the pork on a plate and rub the mixture in.
- Put the pork in a sealable bag and make sure to get any excess rub that fell on the plate into the bag.
- For every inch of the thickest part of the pork, put the pork in the fridge for 4 days and then leave in for 2 more days. Rub and turn the bag every day or so.
- Rinse the pork under cold water. Soak it in cold water for 40 minutes, changing the water once.
- Pat the pork dry with a paper towel.. Rub the Cajun spice into the surface of the pork.
- Put the pork on a rack uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry the surface.
- It is optional to cold smoke the pork for 6 hours. If you do, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight after cold smoking.
- Smoke the pork at 180 F to an internal temperature of 140 F.
- Cool the bacon and wrap it in plastic wrap. Put it into the fridge overnight.
- Slice and freeze any bacon that will not be used in the next week.