If you have followed this blog, you know that I love bacon. I have a friend who uses my recipe and wanted to try maple bacon. I also found a pork butt roast on sale. I decided it was time to do a detailed video on making Maple Buckboard Bacon.
If you don’t want to sit through a video, I will list my steps below.
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.
You can buy a boneless pork butt or shoulder roast, untie it and use the slab to make bacon. I found a whole butt and had to skin and bone it. I cut it into 3 slabs that have to be under 3 inches thick.
I did each piece individually.
I started by weighing a slab. For each kilogram of pork and put it on a plate. I injected 25 ml of maple syrup into the pork with a syringe injector. If you work with pounds, you want to inject 2 teaspoons of maple syrup for each pound of pork.
Then, for each kilogram of pork I mixed together:
- 3 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1
- 15 ml brown sugar
- 15 ml Kosher salt
I rubbed that mixture into the surface of the pork. I put the pork in a vacuum bag and got as much of the material that fell onto the plate as possible into the bag. I sealed the end of the bag with sucking the air out.
I repeated this with the other two slabs.
You need to put the bacon in the fridge to cure. For each inch of the thickest part of the pork, put the bacon in the fridge for 3 days plus one more day. My slabs were 3 inches thick so I put them in the fridge for 10 days (3 inches times 3 days plus a day). I turned them and rubbed the cure into the meat.
I rinsed the meat off under running water and then soaked it in cold water for an hour, changing the water once. I patted the pork dry with paper towels and then put it in the fridge, uncovered, overnight to let the surface dry. The surface of the pork has to be dry and tacky to get a good smoke taste.
I preheated my smoker to 180 F and smoked the pork until the internal temperature of the pork was between 130 and 140 F. This can be done in a 180 F oven but the bacon won’t have the smoke taste. I let it cool and covered it in the fridge overnight to let the smoke penetrate.
Here is the bacon after I sliced it.
Here is the video I made of the smoke. Please note, it is detailed and 25 minutes long.
This is a great bacon. Buckboard bacon is fattier than Canadian (Back) Bacon and leaner than Belly (Side) Bacon. The maple syrup gives a complex sweetness. Note the maple flavour is not what you get in commercial maple bacon where artificial flavours are used. This is much nicer. Give it a try!
The Old Fat Guy
- 1 kg (2.2 pounds) pork shoulder or butt slab (less than 3 inches thick), weighed after trimming
- 25 ml (2 tablespoons) maple syrup
- 3 grams (0.1 ounces) pink salt #1
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Kosher salt
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) brown sugar
- Put the pork on a plate and inject maple syrup into pork slab.
- Mix the pink salt, Kosher salt and brown sugar together.
- Rub the salt mixture over the surface.
- Put the pork in a sealable bag. Scrape as much of the material that fell onto the plate as possible into the bag. Seal the bag.
- Put the bag in the freezer and let it cure for 10 days, turning the bag every day or two.
- Rinse the pork under running water and then soak in cold water for 1 hour, changing the water once.
- Pat the pork dry with paper towels and put in the fridge, uncovered, overnight to get a dry surface.
- Put the pork in a 180 F oven or smoker and cook until the internal temperature is between 130 and 140 F.
- Let the pork cool and put it in the fridge, covered, overnight.
- Slice and freeze any bacon that will not be used in the next week.