You all have got me motivated to try a cured smoked pork loin. This morning for the first time I began curing a 3.5 lb (56 ounce) boneless pork loin.
I chose to keep the ingredients very basic like I do on most new projects, my theory being, the fewer the variables, the easier the troubleshooting will be if something goes south. I figure that in future projects, I can add other ingredients if I am satisfied with the balance of salt/sweetness.
For this one, my ingredients are just salt, cure #1, and dextrose.
I also chose to use the EQ method, but rather than use a dry brine, I dissolved the ingredients in a solution of water equal to 10% the weight of the loin (5.6 ounces of water). My decision to add water to the loin was to attempt to have a juicier finished product after smoking.
I used the diggindog calculator which I had converted to an Excel spreadsheet like Idaho Smokey discusses above. I adjusted the amount of cure ingredients to compensate for the weight of the added water. Using my Walton’s brine pump, I pumped loin with the entire brine amount, most of which remained in the loin.
I then bagged the loin and the small amount of liquid brine overflow, expelled air from the ziplock bag, and placed it in the refrigerator.
After a quick rinse I put the cured loin in the electric smoker and started it at 120 F with no smoke. After an hour I raised it to 140 and applied smoke for 2 hrs. Stepped up to 150 for 2 hrs. Then shut of smoke and raised the temp to 180 for 1 hour.
At an IT of 140 I pulled the loin out of the smoker, bagged it, and put in the sous vis for a quick finish at 150.
Chilled the loin in cold water while still bagged and had a taste when it had dropped to 110.
Great balanced cured/smoked meat flavor and color, without any overpowering off flavors . Seems like a good starting point for future experimentation with other sweeteners or seasoning. Saltiness is just about where it needs to be to make everyone happy that will be eating it. I like it a just a little saltier, but salt can always be added, much harder to take away salt.