In an earlier post I wrote with some trepidation about a couple of IBP loins that had come into my possession under questionable circumstances and how I decided to cure them just see how they turned out. Well, they turned out much better than I thought they would.
The cure I used was a mixture of salt, salts of nitrate (Instacure) sugar (sucrose) dried thyme, black pepper and bay laurel. The loins were in the cure for ten days, rinsed tied and hung for a little over 4 weeks. The texture is superb, really chewy but not in any way tough. The flavor, alas, is a little disappointing. Like most pork that comes out of the mass production sector of the farming community, you have to spend a lot of time reassuring yourself that what you are eating is really pork and not a facsimile created by a gifted chemist. However, if you chew it slowly and breathe deeply to make sure that your olfactory bulb gets a good dose of aroma, your palate will, I assure you, begin to rock a bit.
The upfront taste is salt with bitter and numbing notes from the pepper, bay and thyme. After those sensations fad, the sweet earthy aroma of thyme and pork appear. There is not enough of the aroma of fermentation and decay that I have come to crave in a piece of air dried whole muscle. But that's no surprise because the loins did not hang for very long. I certainly would have hung them longer, but they were beginning to case harden (dry too much on the outside) and without a way to drive up the humidity of the drying room (our cheese room) I was faced with the choice of either harvesting them now, or letting them hang an shrivel into a a couple of bull pizzles.