Get Your Curing Salts Here
How to make Canadian bacon
If you've made bacon before then you'll find Canadian bacon very easy to make, and if you've never before tried your hand at curing meat, then easy Canadian bacon is a great place to start.
Home curing meats sounds a whole lot tougher than it really is, but if you can mix together a brine or rub salt on a pork belly – then you can cure meat and you can start enjoying better tasting, healthier and far more affordable bacon and Canadian bacon at home.
There are 2 basic ways to cure bacon – the wet cure or the dry cure method. The wet cure method is probably easier (although they are both pretty basic) as all that you need to do is mix together a quite salty brine, submerge your cut of meat within that brine and keep it all in the fridge for a few days or so. The dry cure method involves rubbing a mixture of salt, sugar and usually some nitrites over the exterior of a chunk of meat and refrigerating it until cured, with some occasional flipping and turning (also pretty easy stuff).
Canadian bacon is made with a wet cure.
How is Canadian bacon different from regular bacon?
Canadian bacon is made from a piece of pork loin roast. Regular streaky bacon is made from a slab of pork belly. You can make a variation of Canadian bacon using a pork tenderloin as well. Canadian bacon is normally made with a wet cure, while regular bacon is best made with a dry cure (Although supermarket bacon is usually wet cured stuff).
How to Make Canadian Bacon
The following recipe is taken and slightly adapted from "Charcuterie" by Michael Rhulman and Brian Polcyn, a book very worth searching out if you are at all interested in making your own bacon and sausages.
- 4 liters of water
- 1 and a ½ cups of kosher salt
- 1 cup of sugar
- 8 tsps of pink salt (nitrite salt – or a mixture of 6.75% nitrites and 93.25% salt)
- 4 lbs. of pork loin, trimmed well to remove external fat
(This recipe is for a very pure, meaty tasting bacon. You can also experiment with adding fresh or dried herbs to the brine to flavor the meat.)
- Heat the water with the salt, sugar and nitrite salt until all solids are dissolved into the brine.
- Cool the brine in the fridge until chilled (Don't skip this cooling step unless you prefer to make Canadian bacon soup!)
- Place the meat in the brine, and put a plate (or something heavy) on top of the meat to keep it completely submerged in the brine.
- Refrigerate the brine and pork for 2 days.
- Take the pork out of the brine and rinse it off well.
- Cut into thin slices and fry up!
(If the pork is too salty, you can let it soak for a half hour or so in a pot of cold water. This will leach out some of the salt. Taste after ½ an hour and if it's still too salty, discard the water, fill up again with fresh new water, and repeat for another half hour.)
If you prefer to smoke the Canadian bacon prior to eating, let the bacon rest after bring uncovered in the fridge for between 12 hours and a day. Once the bacon has achieved a pelicule, it can be hot or cold smoked in your smoker.
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Foodjunkie on August 04, 2012:
I have done Canadian bacon (properly called back bacon) with a dry cure and it works the very best. The advantage is it uses less of the curing ingredients and takes up a lot less space in the fridge.
Carl on October 21, 2011:
The recipe does say 1.5 cups!
•1 and a ½ cups of kosher salt
nanapong on September 23, 2011:
Well i've just had a 4lb loin of Pork in a Maple Sugar Cure from the Sausage Source. It's been soaking for 4 days so i decided to cut into the middle to see how things were progressing. What a disappointment , i may as well not have bothered. It's still looks and tastes like pork. Not gone pink at all. I even injected the brine. I've just added 2 teaspoons of prague powder #1 to see if that does the trick. Point is don't waste your time with this cure. It's rubbish.
Obscure_Treasures from USA on April 19, 2011:
The recipe is really good. It's time for me to prepare this recipe!
eric kreeger on January 11, 2011:
i have made bacon and hams and have great luck now i have a dry ham in the works and im doing canadian to day and peppered dried pork i cut some of the curd meat an cooked it was good going to smoke it to day its good to look at every ones doings every one have agood year and keep cooken
Tim on December 28, 2010:
I think this recipe should say '1 and 1/2 cups kosher salt', not '1/2 cups'. I made it with a half cup and although it tasted OK it you couldn't taste any salt and it spoiled 2 or 3 days after removing from the brine. i.e. it wasn't cured properly.
DavidLivingston on December 05, 2010:
This is interesting. Seems I can handle a little work for a nice homemade bacon after all!
John D Lee (author) on January 30, 2010:
Hi Lindsay-SB - thanks for commenting with your technique!
Lindsay-SB on January 30, 2010:
I've done it twice and everyone really enjoys it. I use a Little Chief electric smoker and bring internal to 15 deferrg in 160 air. Takes about 12 hours but worth the time.
John D Lee (author) on January 27, 2010:
Hi Gordon - Sounds like it's time to start making your own!
Best of luck and thanks for the comment.
gordon davies on January 26, 2010:
I had real home cured back bacon 45 years ago many times , & have tried many since , but to no avail , it all tastes like ham & if you have had the real thing ,none will take its place.