WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Canadian Bacon(gluten free, chemical free, corn-free, soy-free, )

Abby cannot have pork or beef but Derek has been corn-lite(going for corn-free!) and trying his best to eliminate chemicals from his diet.

He MUST have pork and beef, and he loves it cured and smoked, it is impossible to find safe cured or smoked meats in the grocery store.

Many DIY recipes call for salt peter(pink salt) to keep the meat an attractive "pink" color. Totally NOT necessary for flavor or safety. You don't need it. It isn't good for you.

Find a great local hog farmer. More and more are now recognizing that their cliental base includes many of us who would avoid corn and soy not just from allergies but because they are GMO. Better then 90 percent are now GMO. So safest option is to simply eliminate them(and the massive list of hidden sources!) from your diet. Our farmers are listening!

This was a grocery store bought pork loin(decent quality,but still likely full of stuff we usually try to avoid)... shame I know. But, at least with home curing we are removing some of the negatives. IF you are corn-free proceed with caution when you buy pork, do your research.

NOTE: My brine is almost twice as concentrated as many recipes I have read. We like a very intense flavor. It hasn't been too salty for us but if you want a blander or less flavor packed meat you simply increase the water. I have done this brine with twice as much water and it was good, but not the knock out this is with the reduced amount of water.

1 pork loin
8 cups of water
1 cup of salt(I finely ground pink himalayan)
1 cup of brown sugar(packed.) We use Domino's.
2 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed to release flavor
1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
3 bay leafs
3-4 tablespoons of grade B Maple syrup(Grade B has a much deeper maple flavor)

pour everything but the loin in a pot. Cook till the salt and sugar are well melted and incorporated(doesn't take long).

Allow to cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge.(DO NOT put the loin in a hot or warm brine ever!)

Once cooled, dump your loin in and seal it up. Either find a weight to hold the loin under the brine or each day make sure to flip the loin to make sure everything gets a good soak.

I let my soak 5 days. up to 7 days but never longer.

I pull it out and dry it off. At this point you can smoke it(I STRONGLY recommend this) or you can slow bake it off in the oven at 250 until the internal temperature reaches 160(I have read 150 too, but better safe then sorry).

If you opt to smoke it(I strongly recommend this) I find 3-4 hours smoking works. My smoker doesn't get hot enough to bring the internal temperature up high enough so after smoking I finish it in the oven, again cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160.
Don't try to cut until it is fully chilled. I wrap it tightly(smoked meat is a very strong odor in your fridge!) and slice it thinly the following morning. I usually split it up and freeze a few portions. Like any other meat leftover this is best used within a couple days. So make sure you go ahead and freeze what you don't intend to eat pretty quickly.
We use this instead of smoked ham lunchmeat for sandwiches- really amazing meat.


Anonymous said...

How do you smoke it??? I am not familiar with doing that....But this sounds great!!!

Diane said...

Here is a nice link to get you started. http://www.wikihow.com/Smoke-Meat :-)

Anonymous said...

What kind of smoker do you use? What is the difference in flavor between the oven and a smoker. What kind of wood do you use?

Kat said...

I really want to thank you for this recipe. Had no idea I could make my own. Would be a wonderful treat occasionally. (I am allergic to gluten, Casein/Dairy and SOY!)

Diane said...

You are welcome for the recipe. There are a lot of wonderful recipes for DIY canadian bacon on many blogs. Everyone seems to have a little something special they like to do. Until we had to eliminate so much for my youngest daughter I had no idea I could make this stuff ourselves. We like Hickory best for the smoke, though mesquite is great as well. I do prefer an intense flavor profile, I know others seem to like apple for a milder smoke finish.

Diane said...

I use a "homemade" smoker. I got an old metal file cabinet and stuck an electric single burner in the bottom, I have an old steel bowl I set on it and fill with my wood chips. If you google, DIY smoker there are even directions to make a smoker with a cardboard box(I thought a bit of a fire hazard so opted not to do it) Alton Brown has a webpage where he shows how to make an adorable deck smoker with a terra cotta flower pot and electric hot plate. On Amazon you can find the electric hot plate for under 20.oo- here is the link to the one I bought to use in my file cabinet. http://smile.amazon.com/Aroma-AHP-303-Single-Plate-Black/dp/B0007QCRNU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1393801832&sr=8-3&keywords=electric+single+burner
Here is the link to Alton Browns DIY smoker idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAydLWYGoJA You don't have to spend much to make a great smoker. Check your thrift stores for hot plates, I do see them now and then.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I just finished your Canadian bacon and we really enjoyed it. We tried alder as it was what we had and it turned out fine....except kinda chewy...is there a way to make it a bit more tender....

Diane said...

We have had a few "chewy" batches. I think it has to do with the cut of loin. There is a the tenderloin which when done tastes delicious. But is different then the "white" meat loin. The darker meat has more fat and is more tender. The best one I did though was a full loin, it was a huge amount meat to brine and smoke but I cut it into a couple pieces and packed the freezer with it when done.

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