So I finally managed to get some pink salt here a couple weeks back to make some Canadian bacon.
While I was doing some research on brine, I found out that what us Americans refer to as “Canadian bacon” is not a thing in Canada. There are tons of posts on peameal bacon, which as far as I can tell is done in about the same brine as what I am using for Canadian bacon but instead of smoking it when it is done brining you roll it in corn meal then either roast the whole thing or slice it and fry it up. (They used to use ground, dried, yellow peas for the outside to help protect the meat but corn meal was cheaper and more readily available but the name “peameal” stuck after the switch though). So, I decided to make some of each. I bought a whole pork loin and cut it into nice size chunks of about 1.5 lbs. I only used the best hunks to brine. The ends I froze for roasting or cutting into chops and ended up with a couple lbs of fat and trimmings to use for sausage.
For the brine I loosely followed the recipe in Ruhlman’s Charcuterie book. I used water, sugar, salt, pink salt, garlic, onion powder, Worcestershire, lemon juice, crushed red peppers, honey, maple syrup, black pepper and thyme. I used a quart of water to boil everything to make sure all the salt and sugar were dissolved. I then added 3 quarts of ice water to get it chilled down to 40 degrees to add the pork.
Now I am kind of a saltaholic and I let the pork brine for four days. I will just say that next time it will only go for 2-3 days. 🙂 I then pulled the pork out and rinsed it with cold water. I put some corn meal into a pie pan and rolled the cured pork loin in it to coat the outside making sure I pressed it on as best as I could.
I have to say that I am very happy with this as it was my first attempt. The peameal bacon is delightfully salty with a hint of sweetness and oh so tender and porky. The corn meal gave the edges a nice, contrasting texture that I liked as well. I will do this again the next time I make Canadian bacon but I will probably do more since I gave away about half of my stash and I wanted to do some like chicken fried steak and also some for making peameal bacon and waffles with a bunch of maple syrup. 🙂