1 quart water
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup grade-B maple syrup
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs thyme
20 sage leaves
2½ tsp. Insta Cure No. 1 or pink salt (optional)
1 6- to 8-pound pork loin, cut in half
½ cup corn meal
• Prep: In a large stockpot, combine all water, salt, maple syrup, garlic, thyme, sage leaves and Insta Cure No. 2, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat to dissolve the salt. Remove from heat and pour into another large stockpot and add 1 quart ice. Let cool until the ice melts.
• Place each of the pork loin halves in a 1-gallon zip-top bag. Pour about 1 quart brine into each bag to cover the meat. Divide the garlic, thyme and sage leaves evenly between the bags. Seal and remove all the air. Place the bags on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate at least 5 days.
• Place a baking rack on top of baking sheet.
• Remove the meat from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Place the pork loin on the racks and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
• To make Peameal Bacon, pour the corn meal on a large plate or rimmed baking sheet. Dredge the meat in the corn meal, coating it completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Peameal Bacon will keep refrigerated up to 1 week.
• To make Canadian Bacon, preheat a smoker to 225 degrees. Smoke the pork loin until a thermometer inserted in the center of the meat reaches 145 degrees, about 3 hours. Let cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Canadian Bacon will keep refrigerated up to 1 week.