5 quarts water
6 ounces powdered dextrose (or sweetening of your choice)
2 ounces Prague Powder #1
8 ounces kosher salt
Mix and chill to below 40 F.
Usually, when you buy a whole boneless pork loin, 5 pounds or more,
you will have two halves held together by a flap. Just cut across that
and trim all excess fat. Spray pump to 10% of weight (or one cup for 5
pounds) and let it cure at least 4 days in the fridge.
Take it out, wash it off, let it drain.
Now the nasty part, troublesome but well worth it, putting on the
casing. It can be easy. Last time I used a 5 inch bologna casing and
the bacon tasted just fine, but this time I decided to torture myself
by using 3 1/2 inch salami casings. It took 5 minutes just to get the
thin end into the tip of the casing, a half hour to do the first one.
The casings are pretty tough, so you don't have to worry about tearing
them with your fingers, but a needle nose pliers will tear right
through. Halfway through, I discovered that working the casing over
the end then sliding it up was much less tedious than trying to force
the casing opening over the gradually enlarging loin. The second one
went much more smoothly. I put a hog ring on one end and, by twisting
the casing, was able to force the loin all the way to the bottom. More
twisting, another hog ring to close it off, and it was beautifully
packed. They were so beautiful, especially after smoking, that I
wanted to take pictures - and the bacon is perfectly round and dense.
They two loin halves, looking like giant wursts, spent 4 hours in a
smokeless 130 F smokehouse, well-vented. Then, gradually up to 150,
with smoke, for 3 hours more, vent 1/4 open. Then finish off at 160
until it's 142 inside - I gave up waiting at 141. Shower or bathe
(both you and the bacon, but not together) and let bloom overnight.
Then chill a day or two before slicing very thin, making some
hollandaise, poaching an egg, toasting an English muffin, and
rewarding your precious self with eggs benedict.