German Kasseler: A Cured and Smoked Pork Loin
Cured and smoked meat is a tradition in German cuisine and is often served with sauerkraut and kale. Make Kasseler, or smoked pork, with this recipe.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 1gallon (4 liters) water
- 350grams (1 1/4 cups) kosher salt
- 225grams (1 1/8 cups) sugar
- 42grams (2 3/4 tablespoons) pink curing salt (curing salt No. 1)
- 1handful sage leaves (fresh or dried)
- 1teaspoons dried thyme
- 1tablespoon juniper berries
- 1teaspoon coriander
- Optional: garlic cloves
- 1(4- to 5-pound) pork loin (without back ribs)
Step 1Gather the ingredients.
Step 2Stir together the ingredients for the brine and heat to a simmer to dissolve all the salt and sugar. Refrigerate until completely cold.
Step 3Prepare the loin by removing all but a thin layer of fat. We recommend a loin , not a rib roast (back ribs attached — common in commercial "Kasseler") for home processing.
Step 4Place the loin in the brine and weight it down with a plate or other object to keep it submerged.
Step 5Refrigerate for 48 hours.
Step 6Remove the loin from the brine. Discard brine.
Step 7Wash off the pork with cold water and pat dry. You may dry it in the refrigerator for up to a day (do not cover with any wrap).
Step 8Prepare your smoker: Start your charcoal fire in the bottom of the smoker an hour before you want to smoke the meat.
Step 9Soak 2 cups (or so) wood chips (preferably alder for this project) in some water.
Step 10Place your smoking tray (or aluminum foil tray) on top of the charcoal and add 1/2 cup wet wood chips. Place the grill about a foot above that.
Step 11Place the meat on the grill, cover and smoke 2 to 3 hours, until the internal temperature is 150 F or above. Add more wet chips as needed to keep the smoke up.
Step 12You may choose to roast the brined meat instead, or if you are having trouble with the smoker just bring it inside and finish the cooking process in the oven. Heat the oven to 450 F and cook the meat for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 250 F and roast the meat for 2 to 3 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 150 F.
Step 13Eat warm or cut and wrap. Refrigerate to 4 days or freeze for 2 to 3 months.