Monday, August 22, 2011

Too many sweets, not enough meats (a method for roasting pork)

To read this blog lately, you'd think all I ever cook is dessert.  Well, 'taint so. 

Last night I grilled a boneless pork loin using a method I've perfected over the years.  It is very easy--you just put the meat on the grill and walk away--and it comes out perfectly every time.  What's best is that the meat is tender and juicy, not tough the way today's leaner pork tends to be.

So here's what you do:

Get a boneless pork loin from your market.  (Not a pork TENDERloin--that's a different thing.  You want a long roast that's about 4 inches across.  They typically weigh 3 or 4 pounds, and they're often sold in a vacuum-sealed bag, like the one in the photo.  Some markets split them up the middle--try to avoid that.  But if that's all you can get, tie it with butcher twine--maybe after putting some luscious herbs and garlic inside.)  Season it thoroughly to your taste.  For example, you could use a commercial seasoned salt, or your favorite dry rub, or you could coat the outside of the roast with a mixture of olive oil, thyme, and garlic, then salt and pepper it generously.

Light the coals for a charcoal fire.  (I don't know how to do this on a gas grill!)  When your coals are hot, distribute them evenly on either side of a drip pan.  I light my coals in a chimney device (like the one in the photo, only rustier) with newspaper on the bottom so that I don't have to use that noxious kerosene stuff.  When the coals are lit, I put a 9 x 13" pan thoroughly covered with aluminum foil in the center of the grill--I use a kettle-type grill--and then pour the coals in two piles on either side of it.  Fill the pan about half full with water.  Put the grill in place above the pan.

Set the roast, fat side up, over the drip pan.  Cover the grill and open the vents in the grill and lid.  Now, WALK AWAY.  Go inside.  Play 4 or 5 games of Sudoku, clean the bird cage, anything--just don't mess with the roast.

After an hour and 15 minutes, take its temperature.  You want it between 155 and 160 degrees, but a little hotter is also OK (because of the indirect heat, it's hard to overcook this).  Once it reaches temperature, which will usually take between 75 and 90 minutes depending on how cold the roast was when you put it on the grill, remove it from the grill and set it on a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes.  Carve the roast into 1/4"-thick slices and serve with some fresh veggies and salad on the side.  We like a little dijon mustard with it.

A 3-pound roast will serve 6 people generously.

If your market carries this cut of meat, watch the price--it's a favorite for specials and will often be marked down.  I try to by it only when it's on sale.

I hope you enjoy it!  As I've said before, it doesn't have to be complicated to be delicious. 

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