Cold Smoked Pork Loin Project

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by pfaas, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. So here's my project and my thinking, and feel free to make recommendations as I'm using such a hotch potch of info that it may not fit together in the best way.

    I've just picked up from a rearer of middle white pigs my spring supply including these 2 loin joints..

    This afternoon I'm going to take off the skin and reduce the amount of fat.  I'll halve each joint length ways and keep the fattest of the 4 halves for other things as that's really the chump joint still attached to the loin.

    Tomorrow the joints will going into vacuum bags together with a brine mix based on these ratios..

    1.8 litres water

    240 gms cooking salt

    40gms sugar

    small pinch of salt petre

    2 tsp honey

    200mls apple juice

    and some other flavourings

    Now my plan is to brine cure the joints for 2 days, but I am aware that whist the above is a 40% solution, my 2 days may be under or over for my purposes.

    I am then planning on a ten hour oak smoke (temp no greater than 20c) in the cardboard box smoker.   The joints will then rest in the fridge before being vac packed and frozen.

    Then come Easter the first will be defrosted, cooked gently in a roasting bag so the centre doesn't go beyond 65c and then allowed to cool before being sliced cold.

    Hopefully this will be good in salads, rolls etc.

    Anticipating some of the "I don't understand why you're not questions..",  I am not aiming to make bacon, more a moist cold cut. Middle White is quite fatty and the belly not really good for bacon (IMHO, and especially my wives who'd pick the fat off a celery stick ).

    So my prime concerns are the timings.  Another alternative would be to cook the joints the day after smoking and then freeze, but personal preference is not to eat cold cuts straight from a defrost.

    Thoughts welcomed.
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I definitely want to watch.
  3. Loins trimmed and tied, ready for cure.   I've left a thin layer of fat as I want to protect the meat when cooking but I am aware this may extend the cure time..

  4. [​IMG]   I'm in.  From the little I know I don't think you are gonna kill yourself so go for it!  Waiting for the outcome, sounds good to me.  Keep Smokin!

  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Than is some really pretty meat.
  6. osprey2

    osprey2 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  7. Thanks Dave, I think you have done what I wanted and brought me face to face with my problem.  Firstly I appreciate the link, but I am not sure I can use it - from cooking experience, weight based calculations are basically flawed as they would produce the same result for a 4lb joint no matter whether it is 1 inch thick or 6" square.   I've also read that brining timnes can also be dictated by the grain of the type of meat.

     The calculations that seem to make more sense are the ones that are based on the distance from the centre of the joint to the edge.  But one of my dilemmas is that the much quoted "7 days per inch from the centre" never quotes the solution strength (mine is a 40% solution)  - But the answer really depends on the big question...what am I trying to achieve - am I trying to make a ham?  Canadian bacon?  or what?  [​IMG]  

    But on reflection I think your observation is right that 2 days is too short.  I think when I turn the meat next I'll measure the loin across and apply the above 7 day rule.  After all is there any legitimate reason to aim to brine for a period which results in the solution not reaching the centre; secondly this will mean that bacteria that are deeper in the joint (due to rolling) are killed, which has to provide me more protection when the joint is out of the fridge and smoking, and secondly enables me to cook the joint at temperatures below that of normal fresh pork - Does this make sense?
  8. osprey2

    osprey2 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Seems to make sense. My knowledge of brine curing is limited, more used to dry cure

  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Are you curing for bacteria control or are you curing to use its brine effect to transfer flavor modifiers and fluids into the meat?

    Pork loin is delightful when brined before cooking, if not brined or cured, you can throw the piece of meat away in my opinion because its dry and tasteless. Its muscle to fat ratio is huge but it flavor due to this fact leaves much to be desired.

    Like you say, are you looking for a ham/bacon out of those beautiful pieces of meat or are you trying to enhance the flavor and juiciness of the meat? Long brine/ cure vs. short brine?
  10. I am looking for a juicy cold cut (after smoking and then cooking), now whether I need to brine to the center for that is the point.  However as the joint is rolled I guess I want to control the bacteria on the bit that was external and then "rolled in".  I am also aware my reluctance to remove all the external fat will slow the cure coming in from that side.
  11. 10 days later ..  A successful first try - but not that successful!    I've now frozen one loin that has been smoked but not cooked, one that has been cooked, and I have tried one cooked loin and will be having it this week.

    I ended up brining for a week,  drying overnight in the fridge, followed by 8 hours cold smoke.  The following day I cooked in roasting bags, bringing the temperature down from 200c to 80c over the cook and removing at 62c.

    The main success is the texture and moistness of the joint  [​IMG]   The failure is the saltiness[​IMG]   The loin I tried was the smallest in diameter so the others may be slightly better, but I will be eating it with a lot of cold tomatoes I think! The saltiness is the dominant taste and it even hides any hint of smoke.

    I did give the joints multiple rinsings after the brine, but that obviously has not been enough.  So the question is "If I had used a 20% brine mix, or even 10%  instead of 40% would I have needed to extend the brining period, or not?  I guess it would have still taken a week to get to the center of the meat; but would a weaker solution have done the business just as well?   

    If anyone has suggestions on serving salty cold cuts please let me know.  I guess I'll give a further rinse of the joint I have frozen raw prior to cooking, and as I say the 2 frozen joints are larger than the one I tried so may be slightly less salty.

    So a useful experiment, I have learnt a lot.. but still have more to learn!
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When brining for a long period of time the saltiness is usually the hardest thing to balance. With bacon it is not so difficult as it is usually sliced quite thinly and some of the salt comes out during cooking. What you are doing here by curing for a week is effectively preparing the meat in the same was as you would bacon. With that thickness of meat and without injecting the cure is very unlikely to have reached the centre though and so will not have cured it a completely. If it is too salty you could slice it before cooking and treat it as you would gammon steaks. Alternatively soak it in fresh water overnight before cooking.

    If it is all already cooked slice it wafer thin and use it either as an ingredient in other dishes or chopped small as part of a mixed salad. It should not need to go to waste.

Share This Page