Been hankerin for some fresh smoked back bacon (Canadian Bacon) as it has been awhile and the supply had run dry. This recipe is a compliation of many that were researched and works equally well in a wet or dry brine. If used as dry brine just grind the spices with a bit of the salt. This time I did the wet brine. Take a whole or half pork loin and trim the fat and silver skin to allow better access for the spicy brine to get into all of the meat, and it is pretty healthy.
The first image is actually a pan seared (with a little oil) piece of the cured meat before smoking; Canadians would call this peameal bacon (sans the peameal). I like to do this to taste test the product before smoking; if it seems too salty at this point you can always extend the rinsing process to dilute the saltiness.
4 quarts filtered water
1 cup kosher salt
5 bay leaves
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp whole Juniper berries
1 tbsp black peppercorns
Pink salt cure #1 (amount/weight of meat)
Prepare brine by first mixing dry ingredients with 1 quart of filtered water; bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a low simmer for 10 minutes. I usually wait to add the cure at this point but it probably doesn’t matter that it is added with other spices and heated. You could use a premixed pickling spice blend for the spices as well.
Submerge meat in the brine using a non-reactive container or large zip bag and refrigerate for 7-11 days; squish it around daily to keep spices distributed.
After brining, rinse in clean cold water and soak in ice-cold water for an hour to remove some of the surface salt. Pat dry with paper towels and, if you want, apply light coating of rub before smoking.
Smoke at 220°F until meat reaches an internal temperature of 140°F - 145°F. Allow smoked meat to rest and cool, then refrigerate overnight or 24 hours prior to use; this allows the moisture in meat to redistribute and the flavors to meld. Slice 1/4" thick for standard Canadian bacon and portion in vacuum sealed bags for freezing or gifting.
Meat in brine and ready for fridge:
Rinsed and ready for the rub:
Rubbed and ready for smoker:
Smoked, sliced and ready to eat:
Moist and tasty; melt-in-your mouth goodness: