Part of the fun of ordering a whole pig every six months or so is that we often get cuts of meat that you wouldn’t find at the typical store. I cleaned out our freezer last week to make room for some freezer meals (look for a post on those soon) and found a huge roast pork loin from maybe two pigs ago (oops!). I googled “roast pork loin” and didn’t come up with a whole lot that sounded similar to what I was looking at. This thing weighed almost six pounds and had a bone in it, so it wasn’t your typical pork loin. I finally decided to just wing it. It was so delicious. As usual, cooking it on the bone made a huge difference in terms of flavor. I don’t know where you’ll find one of these bad boys, but the technique would work just as well with a regular pork loin – you just won’t need to cook it as long. I’m usually not a big fan of brining, but it seemed to work well here.
Roast pork loin
A Sara Original, with some help from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
For the brine: 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of salt + water to cover
2-3 tbsp spice rub of your choice (I tried this recipe without mace)
Olive oil or butter
Barbecue sauce to cover (I used this recipe of course)
For the brine, mix the sugar and salt with some water until dissolved. Dump the pork into the mixture, and then add water until it barely covers the meat. Cover with a dishtowel and place in the refrigerator for two hours. Don’t over soak or the meat will become too salty.
After the meat has been brined, dry it off completely. Rub the olive oil/butter (your choice) on the meat and then rub in the spice rub of your choice. Let sit for at least thirty minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a pan, heat a bit of oil/butter and cook each side of the pork until browned. Then place the pork, tented with aluminum foil, in a shallow baking dish or roasting pan in the pre-heated oven for two hours. After two hours, remove the foil and check the internal temperature. I like my pork around 155 degrees, but it was difficult to test it correctly with this roast because of the huge bone in the middle. When all else fails, I always fall back on the whole “cut it down the middle” method of meat testing! After two hours, I removed the foil and basted the pork with the barbecue sauce, and then I baked it for an additional 30 minutes at 400 degrees uncovered. Once it has nearly reached your temperature of choice, remove it from the oven and let it rest for twenty minutes or so. The heat from the bone will continue to cook the meat as it rests, and the juices will soak into the meat.
This made lots of meat, so the next day, Grant made these amazing sandwiches with some mangoes we treated ourselves to because they were on sale at Whole Foods. The sandwiches were easy but delicious: mangoes, spinach, red onion, pork and barbecue sauce. Yum! This has been the meal that keeps on giving because we made it on Friday evening, had leftovers on Saturday, Sunday and still have a good amount left for some pork tacos tomorrow!