Smoked Pork Loin With Pecan Wood And Mexican History
Smoked pork is the perfect party buffet dish, served with a finger-licking sauce, Chile Ancho Adobo. Here’s a smoked pork loin recipe with pecan wood that results in a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth dish, just in time for this cold weather and friends. I suggest you make TWO of them, they’re that delicious.
By keeping the temperature at 185º F and making sure the smoke does not turn densely white for too long a time, the smoke flavor is subtle, sweet. Thin blue smoke, TBS, adheres as a lighter smoke taste, over a longer period of time, and thick white smoke, TWS, will adhere quickly with a very strong smoke taste. Thick white smoke can also add a bitter taste to the smoked pork, depending on the wood. I advise that you do your best to keep the smoke blue and the smoked pork will be amazing.
Along with horses, pigs were the first European animals to be brought to the Americas by the Spaniards. Our indigenous ancestors did not readily welcome the Spanish pigs. The “Relación De Michocán,” written in 1540, describes the reaction of the Michoacán king, Tzintzicha, when the arriving Spaniards made the mistake of gifting him with ten pigs:
“¿Qué cosa son éstos?”, dijo al verlos. “¿Son ratones que trae esta gente?”
“What are these things?” he said upon seeing them, “These people are bringing rats?” (De Alcalá, 1540)
Recipe For Smoked Pork Loin
2 1/2 gallons room temperature water
1/2 gallon ice
2 lb salt
1 lb brown sugar
1 ounce TCM (tinted curing mixture, also called Prague powder #1) Note: Being aware of the pros and cons of nitrates and nitrites in TCM, I think this is a safe, moderate use of nitrite. TCM prevents botulism, a foodborne illness caused by bacteria that grows when meat is cooked at very low temperatures over a long time. TCM will also give the loin a nice pink cast.
1. Add the sugar, salt and TCM to the water and stir until completely dissolved.
Then 48 ounces X .10 = 4.8 ounces. So you’d inject 4.8 ounces of brine. (it’s convenient that 1 fl. oz. of water weighs 1 oz.)
When I served it at the buffet table, the slices were ultra thin, as you can see in the picture. This makes for a beautiful presentation but also adds to the melt-in-your-mouth texture. Chef Kevin Babbitt, fellow CIA grad, helped me prepare the buffet feast and to him goes the credit for slicing the pork and arranging it as you see it laid out in the picture (revelers got to it really fast). He is the Sous Chef at Texas Meat Company in Boerne, and also Sous Chef, leading the fine dining at Cypress Grille.
When I was at the CIA our class of 18 culinary students was drilled for 3 weeks in “precision knife skills.” It takes a lot of practice to get wafer-thin slices, and you use a very long slicing knife that is razor sharp.