Wild Pork Canadian Bacon, Part One
Our north-of-the-border neighbors can scream about it till the pigs come home, but Canadian Bacon isn't bacon. It is, however, one of our favorite pizza toppings and pretty danged yummy. This two-part series shows how we cure and smoke our Canadian bacon made from the backstraps of a wild pig.
Being from the Midwest, I love sorghum molasses. This recipe substitutes sorghum for the traditional brown sugar normally used when curing Canadian bacon. The difference in the final product is subtle, but it's there. I think the sticky sorghum helps to hold a bit more smoke flavor as well.
Since this was a small pig (my favorite for table fare), the loins were on the small side. Because of this, I only cured them for three days. Larger loins can go four, five or even six days in cure before smoking in order for the brine to penetrate deeply into the meat.
I like to cut my pork loin into more or less equal sections before curing. In this case, the loins weighed in at about 2.5 pounds each (I told you it was a small hog) so I cut them each into two roughly 1.25 pound sections. Keeping the meat in equal portion sizes ensures that the brine penetrates at about the same level for each piece.
In this first part, we trim the loins, mix and apply the cure, then vacuum seal the meat and allow it to cure in the refrigerator. In part two, we will rinse, smoke and slice the finished product.
2 backstrap loins from a wild pig
For each pound of meat
1 tablespoon Morton's brand Tenderquick cure
1 tablespoon sorghum molasses
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Measure and mix all dry ingredients for the amount of meat you have on hand
Begin by trimming any excess fat and silverskin from your pork loin. Coat each piece with sorghum.
Once the meat has been thoroughly coated with the cure mix, I prefer to bag and vacuum seal the loin.
If you don't have a vacuum sealer, place the meat in a zip style bag or a large plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for three to six days, depending on the size of your loin pieces. Beware, the smell from the cure will permeate everything in your fridge if you don't vacuum seal. Turn the meat once per day so that the cure is evenly distributed.