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Yukon Pete's Canadian Bacon


Here in beautiful downtown Spring, Texas, just across the sewage canal from the creosote plant, we're pretty open to strangers… especially those who come to entertain us or, even better, to feed us.

That brings us to Yukon Pete.  No one is sure of Pete's birthplace.  He himself maintains it was “way up north where the rivers meet.”    Which of course means at least up past where Big Cow Creek and the Sabine amalgamate.

For sure Pete was handy with an ax.  He came to Spring to ply his trade with one of the logging companies then decimating the longleaf pine population here abouts.  Pete had an old mongrel hound, part wolfhound, part Airedale and part devil that was reputed to be a fine bear dog.  I never saw a man dote on a dog like Pete did; if there was one blanket the dog got it.  If there was one steak it was the dog's.  Pete loved that dog.

One afternoon a fancy man from Lake Charles stepped off the train and collected from the harried freight agent a cage containing a rather large boar hog.

At Polo's High Ceiling that evening the day drunks had gone home to recliners, Matlock re-runs and a well earned rest.  The fancy man bellied up to the bar.  Cletus, who was tendin' that night ‘cause Bobbi Jean had a toothache, durn near swallered his Cope when the fancy man ordered a Bacon Martini.

A hush fell over the place.  Could it be?  The Holy Grail?  Bacon AND Alcohol?  Praise be to victory!!!

Now bein' a shot and a beer kinda place to begin with and St. Cletus of the Limited Intellect behind the bar the chances of gettin' a Martini, with or without bacon, were slim and none.  Cletus pulled him a draft.

The fancy man wet his whistle and declared in his best preachin' voice that he had a hog that could out fight any dog in The Big Thicket.  He pointed to Pete's dog, lying at his master's feet, as he spoke.

Like I said, Pete loved that dog. Pete told the dude that he wouldn't put up his dog to fight.  But he, Pete, would fight the hog, bare handed.  The fancy man scoffed, and asked just what wager Pete had in mind.

Pete told it like this.  “If your hog makes me quit or otherwise dispatches me you get my dog.  If I win I get to eat your hog.”  “Bet!”, shouted the dude and it was on.

Now, I could bore you with the details of that epic battle.  But instead I offer you:

Yukon Pete's Canadian Bacon
Pork Loin 1000 g.  Water 430 g.  Maple Syrup 21 g.  Brown sugar 11 g.  Molasses 11 g.  Kosher salt 21 g.  Prauge Powder #1 2.5 g

First and foremost:  DO NOT exceed the amount of Prague Powder #1 in the recipe.  It contains nitrite and over consumption is dangerous.

Remove the fat cap and all silver skin on the loin.  Mix the curing brine together.  You may need to heat the brine to dissolve all ingredients.  If so, cool the brine to room temp or below before introducing the pork.  Submerge the loin in the brine.  Weight it to ensure the loin stays submerged.  Cure, turning every day, for 1 day per 1/4 inch thickness of the loin. 

Remove the cured loin from the brine and rinse it thoroughly in water.  Dry it with a clean cloth and place it in the fridge, on a rack, uncovered for 24 hours to form a pellicle. 

Heat your smoker to 200 – 225 F.  Using the wood of your choice, apply a heavy smudge.  Smoke the loin to an internal temp of 145 F.  Cool completely to room temp then refrigerate in an airtight container for two days to allow the bacon to mature in flavor.
Slice thick or thin as you prefer and brown in an iron skillet lubed w/ bacon grease.

I make something very similar except I use Morton's Tenderquick instead of the kosher salt and prague powder, and I don't add any water. Also, after brining and rinsing I often brush some additional maple syrup and grind some fresh black pepper on it before smoking. I actually have some brining in the fridge right now!


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