This recipe was a lesson on the complexity of the loaded term "Canadian-bacon," where the maple-cured and smoked pork loin I made is just one of many possible interpretations.
- 1 gallon water, divided
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pink salt (aka InstaCure, Prague Powder)
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 boneless pork loin, trimmed of excess fat (about 4 to 5 pounds)
- 1 to 2 fist-size chunks of light smoking wood, such as apple or cherry
- Type of fire: Indirect
- Grill heat: Low
To make the cure, combine 1 quart of water, Kosher salt, maple syrup, brown sugar, pink salt, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve salts and sugar. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Transfer to a large container and stir in remaining 3 quarts of water. Place in refrigerator until completely chilled. Fully submerge pork loin in cure and let sit in refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Remove pork from cure and place in large container. Add enough fresh water to fully submerge loin. Let sit for 30 minutes, then remove pork from water and pat dry with paper towels.
Fire up the smoker or grill to 225°F, adding chunks of smoking wood chunks when at temperature. When wood is ignited and producing smoke, place pork in and cook until an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees when inserted into thickest part of the pork loin, about 2 to 3 hours.
Let pork cool for 30 minutes. Slice and pan fry before before serving.