Saturday, April 6, 2013

THOR - Ancient Norse God of Bacon??

Food is as much a part of a country as its people. Growing up with a Swedish/Norwegian Mom, and a Norwegian Step Mom after Mom passed away, I have quite a collection of their Mom's old country recipes.  (And, of course, every good  Scandahoovian has a Thor Bobblehead).

But I also do cooking from all over the world and am always happy to learn about food traditions from other countries, such as why Canadian Bacon isn't called Canadian Bacon in Canada.  Up there, it's known (among my family and friends anyway) as "back bacon".  The name refers to the cut of meat, a center-cut from the back, and distinguishes it from other bacon made typically from pork belly. It is much leaner than streaky bacon and has a wonderful taste, different from, but still excellent, as a bacon choice. But it's pricey in the stores for the amount you get.  What to do?

Make your own. No Smoker?  No problem.  Oven directions are included.  
You will  need:
1 boneless pork loin 2-3 pounds (not the smaller tenderloin)
1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick per pound
1 Tablespoon Brown sugar per pound.
2 teaspoons maple sugar or real maple syrup per pound  (I used syrup)
1 teaspoon Hickory Smoked Salt or Applewood Smoked Salt (from Artisano's)
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (leave out if you're using a smoker rather than the oven)

Note:  I've never been a big liquid smoke fan.  But in this, in a "cure" that's then rinsed, the taste was very good and not overpowering.  But you could also substitute extra smoked salt and some smoked Paprika if using the oven method.

Trim the fat and silverskin from the loin. (putting the loin in the freezer for a bit first will help with this) Weigh.  Rub each loin with the curing mix over a plate, making sure you cover every inch and crevice. then place each one into a vacuum sealed bag (or tightly sealed freezer bag)  I like the vacuum as it presses against the meat forcing the cure into it.  Fold the bag opening down an inch like a pant cuff when adding the meat so none of the grains of the cure contaminate the sealing edges for a better seal.

You want it to cure for about six days.  Turn loin over once a day and keep your fridge between 36 and 40 degrees.  Don't worry, you'll likely have a "guard dog" or two, checking on it to make sure it stays safe.
I can see the kitchen and the back door without lifting a paw!

Remove from the cure, soak loin in spring or distilled water for 30 minutes, the pat dry. lightly season  with pepper(I dusted with some fresh cracked black pepper and McCormick Smokehouse Maple Seasoning) and refrigerate, uncovered, to dry completely before cooking.  The loin will develop a pellicle. The pellicle is a tacky skin on the meat that plays a key role in producing excellent smoked items. It acts as a sort of protective barrier for the food, playing an important role in capturing flavor and color

Then into the oven at 200 degrees F. for four hours or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. F.

OR put in your little smoker (preheated to about 250F ) with some maple chips that soaked overnight and smoke until the internal temperature comes up to  145-150 (the higher the temp the dryer the meat but no less than 140ish to be safe).

The photo of the oven cooked version was taken with a cell phone but you get the idea (and the photo reminded me I need to go out and get a battery charger for the new camera).

MMMMMM.  It looks a bit like ham but it's not too "hammy".  It's definitely the taste of "Canadian Bacon"  (and those aren't little silver dollar sized pieces like you get at the store). Sliced thick or thin,  shared with some fresh baked bread and fixings, it will make a mean  breakfast sandwich for your team (OR your family). Sorry, no photos, Google "shark, chum"  add  early morning caffeine and you'll get the idea.

Storage:  After it's cooled (very loosely tented with foil), store the meat in a clean zip lock bag in the fridge to let the flavors mingle 1 to 2 days. Be patient. It's worth the wait.

For freezing, keep the piece uncut. In the fridge, it will keep about 10 days (like that will happen).

The texture was perfect, and the taste?  Wow. SO much better than store bought. Thor's even shaking his head up and down to indicate he likes it.

Perfect on about anything. . Even homemade pizza (which was about all I could make with the bits left after I shared).

14 comments:

  1. Don't care where you learned it; that's one tasty looking piece of back bacon. Mmmmmmm....

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  2. You have surely earned a place in heaven with this post.
    Bacon. Mmmmm, bacon.....

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  3. That's a long wait for bacon, LOL. But it looks worth it !

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  4. Thanks for the warning!

    Bacon Canuque - tre manifique!

    I thought it was akin to Chinese food; just called food in China.

    gfa

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  5. Another thing to add to the list. I have a couple of friends who recently started curing their own meats like this. So far they have done some hams, some bacon, a corned beef, and a pastrami.

    It's another one of those things that don't look tough, they just need time/space.

    Tasty looking results, though.

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  6. I have some curing in my fridge right now - slightly different recipe than yours, but the basics are all the same. I never did understand why you south of the border folks call it "Canadian" bacon, but we'll keep it if you'd like us to!

    A friend's husband discovered this week that home cured back bacon was a very effective way to get me to change my mind about departing for home.

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  7. Oooooooooh.......

    I have everything to make this!

    Excuse me, going to go defrost some pork! Right now!

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  8. Rev Paul - thank you, and thanks for the note. My best to Sam, hope she tries this.

    Wirecutter - probably not pig heaven, but thanks.

    naturegirl - it was worth it, but it sure didn't last long.

    armledlaughing - "Chinese food. . " hahahahaha

    greg - We did some venison sausage in a cousins smoker not too long back but I haven't smoked anything in a while. This makes me want to invest in one of my own.

    Basinah - I have no idea where the title came from, but as will aways have a little piece of my heart up there for some folks, I like it.

    On a Wing - trust me on the "let it wait for a day or two after cooking". The perfect marriage of flavor.

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  9. M loves, loves, loves Canadian Bacon or Back Bacon... We will absolutely be making this!

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  10. Canadian Bacon and French fries.
    They should be honored we named them after them.

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  11. Mecca? Well, totally proverbially. Hey, there is lipstick for pigs! Also proverbially?

    Gah! Now I need bacon! Hmm, doing dishes... water is still hot... thaws faster that way. Might not be home-made, but it was farm raised. Thanks for the notion. I think.

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  12. I am skeptical, as all Canadian Bacon I have ever had tastes hammy, but I am willing to give it a shot. You wouldn't steer me wrong on bacon. Right?

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  13. Nice looking piece of bacon! When's dinner? :-D

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  14. Ahh, now you have really outdone yourself with this... (but then you keep doing that on a regular basis!)
    Mmm, mmm, good, yummo, etc. just will not do this justice! Thanks!

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