I have noticed that a lot of folks find this site when they are searching for information on how to cure a pork loin. They end up getting sent to the post about dry cured pork tenderloin which is a pretty cool post but isn’t what they were really looking for. I decided to put up a post specifically about how to cure a pork loin and hope that Google will eventually rank it.
So why would anybody want to cure a pork loin? Because that is how you make Canadian bacon! This is a super easy technique and the end result is fabulous.
Place the pork loin in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and coat it thoroughly with a combination of Morton TenderQuick and brown sugar. The Morton Tenderquick contains salt, sugar, nitrites and nitrates and will “cure” the pork. Use one tablespoon of Morton TenderQuick mixed with one teaspoon of brown sugar per pound of pork. This is the recommended application rate from Morton.
After the pork has been thoroughly coated with the cure mix I like to add a quarter cup of maple syrup to the bag. Expel as much air out of the bag as you can, seal it up and place it in your refrigerator for 6-7 days.
While the pork loin is curing it will expel a significant amount of liquid. Turn the bag once a day to mix everything up and get even distribution of the cure.
When the pork is done curing remove it from the Ziploc, rinse it thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. It will feel firm to the touch. You can either take this straight to the smoker or oven or apply another flavor layer with a rub. I simply coated this one with black pepper.
You can bake this in your oven or smoke it on a grill. This one was smoked for about two hours on my Weber Jumbo Joe (my new favorite grill). If I was going to do this in my oven I would probably cook it at 375F for about an hour. You are shooting for an internal temperature of 150F. As always, don’t go by my time and temperatures alone. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is the best.
Once your cured pork loin has reached 150F remove it from the smoker (or oven), wrap it in some plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator for an hour or so. You could go ahead and slice this guy up if you wanted but once it cools you can get slices that are much thinner and prettier. You could use the same technique with a pork tenderloin instead of a loin to make something that would look like pepperoni sized Canadian bacon slices (would be great healthy substitute on a pizza). If you want to do this with a tenderloin then shorten your time in cure down to two days.
If you can’t find any Morton TenderQuick locally then here is a link to buy some from Amazon.