Saturday, March 1, 2014
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.