One of the hit menu items for the CFOX, Jeff O’Neil Grills Gone Wild Tour 2016 will be the back bacon sandwiches. Making bacon, that is, curing your own bacon at home may be easier than you think and BBQ Brian goes through the steps to cure and smoke your own bacon.
2 L Water
2 L Okanagan Springs Honey Kolsch Beer (6 bottles)
3./4 Cup Kosher salt
1 Cup Honey or Brown sugar
6 ts Curing nitrates (Prague Powder)*
4-6 lbs Pork loin – trimmed if you want to…
* curing nitrates are available at gourmet stores, butcher supply stores (BBQ Brian’s favorite is Stuffers Supply in Langley) or some grocers. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE for other nitrate products.
Start by adding the water in a large bowl or stock pot. Add the salt, honey or sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the beer and then the curing powder. Once all dissolved add the pork loin. For ease, it might be easier to cut a whole loin into two or three pieces so it fits in the pot.
If you do not have a stock pot, use food grade plastic bags (not garbage bags please) and place the pork and brine into the bag. Push all of the air out of the bag and then tie off in a knot or with a twist tie. Here’s the tricky part…. use cardboard boxes, wash bins or whatever you may have to make sure the liquid is covering the pork… it won’t work if it just “sits” in it.
The pot or bag needs to now remain very cold for a few days. Ideally a week however BBQ Brian has cured pork loins in as little as two or three days. During this process the liquid needs to remain cold – below 40 F.
Once cured, remove the pork from the brine and discard it. Prepare your smoker for low temperature smoking and add you choice of smoke wood. BBQ Brian usually uses hickory, maple or apple as the best woods for bacon.
Cook the bacon until the internal temperature reaches 145-150 F. This could take up to 4 or 5 hours if the pork loin is rather thick in size.
The Eating Process
Once cooked, slice thinly, place on buns, add the limited edition Jeff O’Neil Rock’n Red BBQ Sauce and that is the House of Q Bacon Sandwich served at Grills Gone Wild.