Archive for September, 2008

Homemade Canadian bacon.

14 September, 2008

I got a good deal on some pork loin, so I am going to make some Canadian bacon. For the record, loin bacon is also used by the Irish, so one will also hear this bacon referred to as Irish bacon; but here in the states, it’s usually called Canadian.

For one gallon of brine (boil some of the water to dissolve the salt & sugar, and mingle the spices, then add it to the rest of the gallon. Chill to fridge temp before inserting meat) Note: one gallon of brine was more than enough to cover the meat; I saved the rest to brine a venison backstrap down the road:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt;
  • 1 1/2 cups dextrose, or 1 cup sugar, or 1 cup brown sugar (I used dextrose this time);
  • 8 teaspoons pink salt
  • 4 crumbled bay leaves;
  • 8 crushed juniper berries;
  • 3 smashed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper;
  • 1 gallon water;
  • Note: this is a recipe for savory bacon. You could add any number of aromatics, such as fresh thyme or sage, or even extra sweeteners (for sweeter bacon), such as maple syrup or honey or molasses, or just increase the sugar of your choice.

For the meat:

  • 5.5 pounds pork loin (that’s just what mine weighed).

Brine the meat (be sure it is fully covered–I cut my loin into two pieces and used large Ziploc bags) for 48 hours (actually, I brined one piece for 2 days, and another for 4 days. Both tasted great pan seared before smoking (chef’s perks). Rinse the meat after brining, and let it rest on a rack uncovered in the fridge for at least 24 hours to form a pellicle (this can be short-cutted by putting the meat on a rack and running the air from a fan over it for a couple of hours). Smoke the meat until an inner temp of 145 has been reached. Slice and store in the fridge, or freeze for longer storage. Pan fry or steam to reheat, or add to soups or stews.

The procedure I used was to hot smoke the meat, which took about 8 hours at sub 200 degree heat in my smoker (fall day, small fire). You could also cold smoke the meat (keeping the temp at about 90 degrees for as man as 12 hours, but you will have to consider it still raw and cook it (of course, if you brined the meat for longer and hung it, you would get a loin prociuto, but that is for another post [or you could cure the meat, simmer it to an internal temp of 150 +/-, then cold smoke it for 12 hours (or smoke than simmer) and have a loin ham}). If you hot smoke your bacon (or, if you don’t have a smoker, slowly heat it in a 200 degree oven until the internal temp reaches 145-150 degrees, you can consider it cooked and eat it reheated, or cold.

Pictures? Well, I forgot to take them. I will say that both the two day and the four day brined pieces were equally good, and it was hard to tell a difference between the two. This ham/Canadian bacon made excellent cold cut sandwiches, for the record.


Mote pillo: Ecuadorian hominy with eggs.

5 September, 2008

Mote pillo is a hominy and egg brunch dish from Ecuador. I made it with Goya brand maiz mote pelado, and it is best served with homemade queso fresco and home-roasted coffee (naturally). In lieu of using the huge mote pelado corn, one could use Goya golden (or white) hominy corn (maiz trillado amarillo (or maiz trillado blanco)), or even canned hominy. I, however, like a beefier kernel, so the huge mote pelado is right for me. Here’s a link to the site that inspired me to try this dish.

I was cooking for one when I made this, so I will not give exact ratios. Just think of this as a hominy scramble–not unlike an egg scramble–and wing it. If you are using dried hominy, you will need to have cooked it earlier–like the day before. In butter, saute a pinch of powdered anchiote, some pinhead diced red onion, followed by minced garlic. Throw in some (optional) jalapeno (green or red), and the hominy, along with a splash of milk. When the milk has evaporated and or been absorbed by the hominy, add beaten egg (I used one egg with about 2/3 cup of cooked hominy). As the egg nearly sets, throw in some finely chopped scallions, minced red bell pepper (which I included for color contrast, really), and finely chopped parsley (cilantro would have been better, but I was out). Stir to mix and break up the egg. Plate and enjoy.