If it is the dry brined cured Canadian bacon that is cured for six days you may want to try the below recipe and maybe use maple sugar, and/or a mix of maple and brown sugar. Or maybe coat the pieces with maple syrup just before placing them into the smoker, and right after taking them out of the smoker. I've tried adding maple syrup flavor, not never been successful if getting adequate maple flavor. The Basic Cure Recipe is included below this recipe.
Boneless pork loin (size will depend on how much bacon you want to make.)
1 Tbl. Morton Tender Quick (or Basic Dry Cure) per pound
1 tsp. dark brown sugar per pound
1 tsp. garlic powder per pound
1 tsp. onion powder per pound
Trim fat and silver skin from pork loin. Cut into 3 to 4 pound sections.
Weight each section.
Make a note of the weight of each piece before measuring the dry ingredients.
Measure all dry ingredients for each section of meat based on the weight of each section, and thoroughly mix.
(Example if you have two sections; one weighting 4 pounds and one weighting 3 pounds, measure all the dry ingredients for the 4 pound piece and place that in one bowl; and measure all the ingredients you will use on the 3 pound piece and put that in a separate bowl.)
Rub the entire mixture on to the loin.
(Make sure to cover all surfaces, and work the dry cure into any crevices in the meat.)
Place loins into separate one gallon sealable plastic bags, and remove as much air as possible.
Cure meat in the refrigerator at 36- 40 F
(My refrigerator was at 38 F.)
Due to the thickness of the loin you will need to cure them for 6 days.
Once a day turn meat over.
(You do not have to open the bags, if some liquid has formed give the bag a few shakes to redistribute the liquid.)
When the loins are fully cured, remove loins from plastic bags and thoroughly rinse off.
Soak loin pieces in about three gallons of cool water for 30 minutes; remove from soak and pat dry. Slice a small piece off the end; pan fry and test taste for saltiness. If it is too salty for your taste, give it another 30 minute soak.
Refrigerate uncovered overnight, or long enough to allow to dry and to form pellicle on the surface. Once the cure is remove, the curing process still continues. Letting the loin rest overnight give the cure time to equally distribute throughout the meat.
(You may also see an iridescent sheen on the surface; so do not be concerned.) *
Place loins into a 225 F preheated Bradley. Apply maple smoke for 1:40 to 2:00 hours. Continue to cook until an internal temperature of 140°F – 145°F is reached (USDA recommends 145°F). The higher you take the internal temperature, the less moisture will remain in the meat.
(It is important to take the internal temperature of each piece of loin. **
I now only take may Canadian Bacon to 140 F. The texture and moistness is much better. If you decide to use the 140 F temperature, make sure that your probe is in the thickest part of the meat. After it the meat reaches 140 F, slowly move the probe in and out. If there is a drop in temperature, leave the probe at that spot and continue to cook until the 140 F internal temperature is reached. If you have a good instant read thermometer, also use that to get your final reading.)
Remove loins from smoker, and tent foil until loins are cool enough to be handled by hand. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two days.
Cut into 1/8 inch thick slices and serve
(if serving with crackers you may have to quarter each slice.)
This recipe is a modification of Morton Tender Quick recipe and curing methods; and Mallard Wacker?s cooking guidelines for Buck Board Bacon.
You can add or subtract as many spices and flavoring you want to this recipe, as long as you maintain the correct amount of Tender Quick.
The dark brown sugar gives it a nice distinctive flavor, but you can replace it with light brown sugar, or regular sugar or use maple granules or no sugar at all.
You can increase the amount of applied smoke, but I like my Canadian bacon and pastrami lightly smoked. Keep in mind, that smoking a 225 F, your loins are going to reach 145 F -150 F in about 3 to 4 hours.
*OPTIONAL: At this point I used butcher's twine and tied the loin every 2-3 inches. This helps the bacon maintain a more rounded shape, and the even shape helps all parts cook more uniformly.
This recipe/formula comes from Charcuterie, by Ruhlman and Polcyn, and I've found it to be a good substitute for Morton's Tender Quick. For cuts of meat 4 pounds or less, I measure the cure the same way I measured TQ. For cuts above 4 pounds I use 2 ounces of cure per pound.
Basic Dry Cure:
1 pound/450 grams pickling salt
8 ounces/225 grams granulated sugar
2.5 ounces/68 grams pink salt (InstaCure #1; or DQ Powder; or Prague Powder #1; or Cure #1; or TCM)
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
Combine all ingredients and mix well. It is important to mix this thoroughly to ensure that the pink salt and other ingredients are equally distributed.
I used a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (do not use the whisk). I mixed the ingredients at speed #2 for two minutes. Scraped the sides and mixed for two more minutes.
Measure 1 Tablespoon per pound.
The actual measurement should be 2 ounces per 5 pounds of meat. Which comes to about 2.25 teaspoons per pound, but you don't have to be that precise when using this dry cure.
Store in an air tight container away from sunlight, and it will last indefinitely. If hard lumps form during storage discard and make a new batch. If the lumps fall apart easily with a little pressure the cure is still good to use.
To use the Basic Cure Mix as part of your favorite curing recipes, measure out the amount per pound that your need, then you can add your additional seasonings such as additional sugar, garlic, onions and/or herbs (do not add additional salt).
If like the flavor of Turbinado sugar, and if you have some patients you can use that instead of granulated sugar. Turbinado sugar comes in large crystals, but in a dry cure you want all ingredients about the same size so that they evenly mix, and don't separate during storage. So you will need to grind the Turbinado sugar to white sugar granular size, without turning it into powder form. I have a small blade grinder and the best way I've found to do this is to pulse 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until you get the right uniformity. There are about 8 tablespoons in 8 ounces of Turbinado sugar.
Comment by Habanero Smoker: I like Morton's Tender Quick for it convenience, but most of today's recipes call for pink salt, and Morton's TQ is not easy to find in my area. I have a plenty of pink salt, and I was happy when I came across this recipe. I've been using this cure a lot, not only as a substitute for Morton's Tender Quick, but it is handy to have this cure mixture on hand instead of starting from scratch each time I want to cure bacon, or pastrami.
Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. Charcuterie. The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing. NY/London. W.M. Morton Co.; 2005