Canadian Bacon

With the low price specials on whole pork loins ($1.99 /lb for 10lbs),  I could no longer resist making some Canadian Bacon (or Back Bacon as they call it up there).  The recipe is based on the one in Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn with some more spices added. I have not yet adjusted the salt and pink salt as this is my first attempt and we generally don’t cook this until browned as we do with Bacon.

Brine

  • 4 liters (2 gallons) water
  • 650 grams kosher or pickling salt
  • 480 grams white sugar
  • 75 grams pink salt / Cure #1
  • 1 TB ground Nutmeg
  • 1 TB ground Allspice
  • 1 TB granulated Garlic
  • 2TB dried Sage
  • 2TB dried Thyme
  • 2 Bay leaves crumbled

I would have used fresh herbs but they are not up yet this spring.

Mix well. Note the salts and sugar are by weight. This is important as the density varies dramatically between types and brands.

Brining

Cut the pork loin in half. Trim off the silverskin and surface fat. This was a 10.5 lb pork loin after trimming.

Submerge in the brine and weight down with a plate or 2. Place in refrigerator for 48 hours. Since I was also doing a batch of Smoked Chicken Legs and Thighs  at the same time, this ended up in the crisper drawer of the garage fridge. This is actually quite convenient.

Cook and taste a sample to check for saltiness.  Slice a couple pieces off the end, rinse and pan fry. At the 36 hour point it was a bit saltier than we like so half the brine was poured off and replaced with water.

At 48 hours Remove, rinse and pat dry. Taste test again.  If OK place back in the fridge uncovered for 12 hours to equalize and from the pellicle.

Smoking

Hot smoke with cherry wood at 230F, until an internal temp of 150 degrees has been held for 30 -60 min. This takes about 4 hours. At this point, it is fully cooked and could be served ready to eat. Ours is slabbed like smoked pork chops and thin sliced for pizza and sandwiches.

The verdict

Delicious. Teal said we may never buy ham again!

 

Multigrain Sourdough

Another variation on the Multigrain Sourdough Boule from the King Arthur Flour website.  Each iteration is improving.

Starter

The night before ,feed the starter using 1/2 c starter , 2 cups flour, 1.5 to 1.75 cups warm water. Cover and rise over night at room temp +.   Our lower oven after baking in the top one is perfect. Using the proof setting of 100F  is actually too warm and the rise is not as nice later.

Ingredients

  • 1.5c KAF Harvest Grains Blend  + 1/4c poppy seeds
  • 1c boiling water
  • 3c fed starter
  • 2c whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 c bread flour
  • 3 TB sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Instant yeast (I use SAF)

Add the harvest grains to the water and let soak for 20 min

Mix and rise

Mix everything together and let sit for 30 min to hydrate the flour. This is especially important for whole grain flours.  Huge improvement in texture

Knead for 7 min  – Kitchenaid with dough hook and #2 . Mixer will get warm.   Dough will be soft moist, and very sticky

First rise 90 min at 100F in the mixer bowl covered with a hot wet dish towel.

Liberally butter the inside of a dutch oven (including the lid).

After the first rise scrape the dough into the dutch oven. No need to knead. Even out the top. Cover with the wet towel again .

Rise again for 40-60 minutes at 100F until doubled.

Bake

Preheat oven to 425F .

Move to the hot oven and bake covered on convect for 30-35 min.

Uncover and continue baking 10-20 min and check the internal temp. 190F is done.

Remove from oven when done. Rest in pan for 5 min, then turn out onto wire rack.

Eye of Round Roast

Rare Roast Beef sandwiches

Having the ideal tools now in hand I decided to tackle one of the tastier but more difficult cuts of meat to do well. This is the Eye of round.

This bullet shaped piece of meat is extremely lean and has sinewy bands through it. If you are not careful it can end up tough and chewy.

However prepared this way it is tender and delicious. The  secret is in not overcooking the meat and then slicing it extremely thinly . This cuts through the connective tissue and makes for a very tender sandwich without pieces sliding out of the sandwich when you take a bit but cannot easily bite through.

Spice blend

1TB freeze dried shallots (Penzey’s)  – ground in mortar and pestle

1TB Italian Seasoning  – add to the shallots and grind finely

1tsp Penzey’s seasoned salt -4S

2tsp granulated garlic

Cook and serve

Coat the roast with the spice blend and seal in a vacuum bag

Cook sous vide at 136F for 8 hours.  Some recipes call for 24-36 hours

Remove from the bag reserving the juice and pat dry

Sear directly over charcoal with cherry wood chunks. This will give a nice crust in 60-90 seconds per side. Brown all of the sides and the flat end . The browning adds a nice flavor component especially with the seasoning blend used.

Set aside to cool . I placed ours in the freezer for 30 min

Slice thinly. I set the meat slicer to 1.25. The rare meat stays together in nice thin slices and does not crumble as it might with a longer cooking time.

Serve on hard rolls with fried onions and cheese. Teal likes Muenster.  I prefer blue or Montamore with a good mustard.  this is time to break out one of the exotic ones

Store the rest of the meat in a closed container. Add the reserved juice and pack down. This will minimize the oxygen exposure preserving the flavor for 10 days or until gone.

Teal says this is her favorite sous vide recipe so far.

Penzeys spices https://www.penzeys.com/ is a local company with stores across the US.   Truly superior spices and a wonderful  view f public policy.