Brine Cured Canadian Bacon

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by pokey, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    Sorry for the lack of pix, but as I was makin' this bacon, I didn't think I'd be writing about it. But after the results I got, I wanted to get some feedback from the forum.

    I started with an 11 lb pork loin which I cured in Pop's brine ( for three weeks. I made 3 quarts of the brine, doubled up the cure. According to Pop's calculations, this is well below a level of concern. ("1 heaping tablespoon of cure is about 1 ounce.  The maximum concentration allowed safely is 3.84 ounces per 1 gallon of brine." I used the equivalent of 2 ounces per gallon.) I also injected a lot of cure into the meat. I put it in a zip lock bag in the fridge for three weeks, turning it twice daily.

    After three weeks, I rinsed the loin and let it dry in the fridge for 12 hours. I loaded up my A-Maze-N 5x8 Pellet Smoker with hickory pellets from and cold smoked it for 24 hrs. When I took it out, it looked as if some dark brown liquid had dripped on it leaving dark spots, and the whole thing looked sort of dark, which I figured was normal..

    I cut the loin into quarters and cooked three of them in my Traeger (same hickory pellets) until they reached an internal temp of 140*. The other quarter I sliced and vacuum sealed. I figured that I would treat that like regular bacon, cured, smoked and uncooked, and fry it just before using. The other three quarters I sliced figuring to treat them like Canadian bacon, ready-to-eat.

    While slicing the cooked loin, I tasted an end piece. It was awful! It tasted bitter. I sliced off a 1/4" of the entire outside and what was left was edible, but still not very good. Quite smokey, but with a hint of the bitter taste still.

    I opened one of my uncooked packages and fried it up. It was inedible. The bitter taste was stronger, made my tongue tingle and even go a bit numb. I'm thinking creosote is the culprit. I think I have to throw out all of the uncooked bacon. I'm wondering if the cooked part, that I trimmed before slicing, should be thrown out, too. How dangerous is this?

    This is the packaged uncooked bacon. You can get a sense of the dark brown color.

    This is the packaged cooked and trimmed bacon:

    I thought creosote was more of an issue with soft woods and not so much with hickory. The pellets I used are claimed to be 100% hickory, but maybe they're blended with some inappropriate filler?

    Anyway, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Before you toss it, let it sit in the vac bags for a week or so and then try it again.  It may need to meld a bit

    What was the container, pit, box, etc, that you smoked in?  Was the exhaust wide open or closed?

    Hang in there, we'll collectively find a solution more than likely.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When I first started smoking, the black stuff happened to me.... I rinsed the meat, sausages off with hot tap water to remove it.... Helped a lot... ... The spots are from condensate in the smoker maybe... Pre heat the smoker to well above what you are going to smoke to stop condensate... If you have an exhaust chimney, put a drip catch pan under it.... I recommend a very short exhaust out the side of the smoker and in the horizontal position to stop condensate.... also, try a shorter smoke time... hickory can be strong...

    If none of the above fits.... we'll try again....
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  4. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    I've been using this for cold smoking :

    It's been great for short cold smokes, like for cheese or lox. This is the first time I ever used it for anything like the 24-hour smoke I just tried.

    It has no adjustable vents. It has two 3/8" holes in the top for the smoke to escape and five 11/16" holes in the bottom, under the A-Maze-N smoker.

    I'll hold off on the disposal! But I did some reading on creosote - it's some toxic stuff.
  5. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'd be willing to bet that you ended up with a LOT of smoke condensating out into creosote.  The box you have is a good one for cold smoking, but you need to be able to let the smoke out before it builds up to the point of stagnation and condensation.  Those small holes aren't going to work for the amount of smoke you'll get with the Amazen...

    The black spots you referred to on your meat, that was probably creosote drips from where the smoke condensated on the tops of the box...

    About creosote being toxic, yep, it is in the right quantities...  But, it's also what they treat telephone poles and railroad ties with...  Not something we want on our meat products.

    I'm going to wait for some others to chime in and see what their thoughts are, but I'm leaning towards tossing the meats...
  6. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the input, CB.

    When you say you're leaning toward chucking it, are you also thinking I should chuck the meat that I trimmed before slicing? Or just the untrimmed stuff?
  7. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There is creosote and there is creosote. The stuff they use to treat hydro poles is coal creosote.

    What you get on your meat is wood creosote. Wood creosote has been used for meat preservation. Has also been used as cough syrup.

    Do you want it on your meat? Probably not . Would I toss meat because it has some creosote on it? Not if I can trim it or wash it.
  8. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No! Like atomic smoke said, if you can trim it off, by all means do so.

    I've only had 2 occasions where I had creosote issues, both times ended up as throw it away! But, the reason it happened was because I had my exhaust closed. I had the thought of if a little smoke is good, a lot must rock! It was cold outside, warm in the metal pit, condensate happened, you know the rest.
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    And if no matter what you do it still tastes bad, Chuck it.

  10. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    We finished the Canadian bacon, but we ended up tossing about 5 pounds of cheese and three of lox.

    I've been thinking about the responses and have a few thoughts. First, I've been using this box for cold smoking for years, most with the A-Maze-N smoke generators, both the original saw dust maze and then the 5x8 Pellet Smoker. I've never seen smoke like this. The pellets I was using (smokinpellets 40h Hickory) for these 2 bad batches were from the same source. User reviews on the site (spelled sort of like A-Maze-N, but without the dashes and one vowel different) where I ordered these pellets included comments like, "I was unable to get the heat I'm used to." Or, "It took longer than usual to get up to temperature." I now think more than ever that the pellets were not 100% hickory as advertised, but adulterated with a soft wood, perhaps pine. That would explain the lower temps and the extra creosote. 

    Both my wife and I experienced a tingling sensation and a slight numbness of the tongue after eating some of the lox. That's why we tossed it. That was almost two months ago and I'm not sure I've gotten my full sense of taste back. If you know how your mouth feels after sucking on a menthol cough drop, sort of a coolness with each breath, then you know what we've been feeling. I also used these pellets in my grill to get a smokey flavor with grilled meats. We've been exposed to the creosote for quite some time, although at lower levels before last December. I read a post somewhere along the lines of, "I consider creosote to be a spice." I'm not so cavalier. I'm concerned about long term health effects.

Share This Page