I have made maple bacon and I have made Chipotle (ground dried smoked chilies). Both are really good. However, I got an email from my niece telling me how much she enjoyed the Chipotle bacon while I was eating some maple bacon. As usual, my brain had a spasm and I thought the two might be great together. I like the combination of sweet/hot. I had to give it a try. I decided to go with Back (Canadian) Bacon and picked up a pork loin.
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.
Some pork loins have a thick fat cap. You can trim the fat or leave it on depending how much bacon you like on your bacon.
I reduced the sugar from my regular cure mix as I would be injecting maple syrup.
Weigh your piece of pork. For each kilogram of meat, mix together:
- 3 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1
- 15 ml brown sugar
- 15 ml kosher salt
If you work with US measures, for each pound of meat, mix together:
- 0.05 ounce (1/5 teaspoon) Prague powder #1
- 1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Put the pork on a tray or plate. You want to catch any maple syrup that comes out or any rub that falls off.
For each kilogram of pork, inject 25 ml of maple syrup every inch or so into the pork loin. In US measures, inject 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. You inject by inserting the needle into the pork and giving light pressure on the plunger while pulling the needle out.
Rub the cure mixture all over the pork loin. Put the pork loin in a resealable plastic bag or a vacuum sealer bag. Scrape any syrup or rub that fell onto the plate or tray into the bag. Seal the bag but don’t suck the air out if using a vacuum sealer bag.
Measure the thickest part of the loin. Leave it in the fridge for 4 days for every inch plus 2 days. So, for a 2 inch loin you would leave it in the fridge for 10 days (2 inches times 2 days plus 2 days).
Take the bacon out of the bag and rinse it off. Put it in cold water for 60 minutes, changing the water once. Put it on a rack and pat it dry with paper towels.
For every kilogram of pork, rub 15 ml of chipotle over the surface. In US measures, use 1 1/2 teaspoon for every pound. Put the pork in the fridge, uncovered, overnight to dry. The pork has to be dry to take the smoke well.
Put the pork in a preheated 180 F smoker and smoke until the internal temperature is 155 F, four to five hours.
Let it cool to room temperature. Wrap it in foil and put it in the fridge overnight.
Slice it up and freeze any you will not be using in a week.
Of course, you will need to fry some up for quality control.
This is a big hit! The touch of sweet/spice is delicious. You really need to give this a try!
The Old Fat Guy
- 1 kg (2.2 pounds) pork loin
- 25 ml (2 tablespoons) maple syrup
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) kosher salt
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) brown sugar
- 3 grams (2.2 ml) (0.106 ounces (1/2 teaspoon)) Prague Powder #1
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) ground chipotle
- Put the pork loin on a large plate or tray.
- Inject the maple syrup into the pork loin in 1 inch intervals.
- Mix the salt, brown sugar and Prague powder #1 together.
- Rub the loin with the salt mixture.
- Put the loin in a resealable bag and scrape any syrup or rub on the plate into the bag.
- For every inch of thickness of the loin, multiply by 4 and add 2 (2 inches would be 10 days).
- Refrigerate the pork loin for the days from the calculation. Turning and rubbing every day or so.
- Rinse the loin under running water.
- Soak the loin in cold water for 60 minutes, changing the water once.
- Put the loin on a rack and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Rub the chipotle over the loin. Put it, uncovered, in the fridge overnight to dry out.
- Smoke at 180 F to an internal temperature of 155 F.
- Slice and freeze any bacon that will not be eaten in the next week.