I had been thinking of making back bacon (also known in the US as "Canadian bacon") for some time. Though the cure and process is just about identical to the "regular" kind, back bacon is made from pork loin rather than belly. I got an awesome deal on an untrimmed bone-in whole pork loin not too long ago, and after making a top-notch pork roast for dinner in the beginning of the week, I decided to use the center part of the cut for back bacon. So, using a meat cleaver I took off a section of the whole roast that would yield about five pounds when the ribs were out.
The first step is removing the rib and chine bones from the loin. This is mad easy - using a long, sharp boning knife and the ribs themselves as a guide, cut between the loin and the ribs to remove them.
This shot is also a great way to look at the loin. That big round muscle on the left is the actual loin - the part you'd buy if you were buying a "boneless pork loin roast" (or, if you buy "bone less pork chops" you'd be getting that muscle cut into slices.) The long muscle at the top of the cut, well sheathed in fat, is the "tail" of the cut and would normally be removed before curing back bacon. I left it on so I could have a more UK-style bacon.
After the meat is trimmed of the bone, it's time for curing. For the five-pound loin, I used:
¼ cup Kosher salt
2 teaspoons InstaCure #1 ("pink salt")
¼ cup dry glaze packet swiped from a spiral ham (see below)
3 tablespoons coarsely-ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 bay leaves, broken up into tiny bits
The spiral ham glaze is made of sugar, dried powdered honey, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hint of clove. I had bought a spiral ham at ALDI awhile ago and cooked it without the glaze, but when I read the glaze ingredients I thought it would be just the thing for a bacon cure and held on to it. If I didn't have the glaze packet, I would have used a straight-up ¼ cup of brown sugar. Mix the ingredients for the rub thoroughly together.
Put the loin into a plastic ziplock bag and massage it all over with every bit of the curing rub. Don't just dump the rub into the bag with the loin, either. Put the cure in the bag a handful at a time and rub it into the meat as you go along. When all the cure is used up, seal the plastic bag and set it into your refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. It will look something like this when you first put it in...
My version, using the ALDI spiral ham glaze instead of brown sugar, was totally awesome. The hints of cinnamon and clove in the glaze gave the bacon a flavor very reminiscent of Chinese char sui pork while still retaining the hamminess typical of back bacon. It was a huge hit with the family (Huzzah! That gives me an excuse to do it again!)