Rotisserie Boneless Pork Loin Roasts, Brined, Rubbed and Maple Syrup Glazed


Boneless pork loin is tough to cook.  Modern pork is bred to be very lean*, and pork loin was a lean cut to begin with, even before it became "modern pork".
*Cooking shows have renamed pork to "Modern pork is bred to be very lean". Just watch - the next time it's mentioned, you'll hear those exact words. I don't think this is what the "other white meat" people were looking for, exactly.

Because it's so lean, it goes from cooked to overcooked in a flash. Also, since fat carries flavor, it doesn't have a whole lot of flavor on its own.

What can you do about this?  That's what I'm here to tell you.  In this recipe I pull out all the stops: this roast loin is brined, rubbed, cooked on the rotisserie to give it a nice, brown crust, and then glazed with maple syrup at the last minute. In the end, you get pork that is sweet, spicy, juicy, and flavored all the way through.

Recipe: Rotisserie Boneless Pork Loin Roasts, Brined, Rubbed and Maple Syrup Glazed

Cook time: 45 minutes

Equipment:
  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; kettle is here and rotisserie attachment is here)
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9"x11", or whatever fits your grill)
  • Butcher's twine
  • One bunch thyme and a couple of sprigs of rosemary, tied at the stems to use as a basting brush (or, just a regular basting brush)

Ingredients:
  • 2 boneless pork loin roasts, each roughly 1.75 to 2 lbs (aim for the thickest roasts you can find, and try to get them roughly the same length)
Brine ingredients
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup table salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Rub ingredients
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, whole
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, whole
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried lemon peel (or 1 tsp lemon zest)
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Glaze ingredients
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, (preferably "Grade B")
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp reserved rub


Directions:
1. Brine the pork roasts: Stir the brine ingredients in a large container until dissolved.  Add the pork loins, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 8 hours.


2. Prepare the grill: A half hour before cooking, prepare your rotisserie for cooking on indirect high heat (see details here). For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter* full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill, and put the drip pan in the middle, between the piles.
*I highly recommend the Weber Chimney Starter, because it is larger than most chimney starters. It holds 5 quarts of charcoal, which exactly the right size for cooking this recipe.


3. Prepare the rub: While the grill is heating up, make the rub by crushing the whole seed ingredients into a coarse grind, then adding the other rub ingredients.  (I do this by using a coffee cup and a spice jar as a mortar and pestle, but a real mortar and pestle would be better.  A coffee grinder also makes quick work of this).  


4. Prepare the glaze: Next, whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined.


5. Prepare the pork roasts: Finally, prepare the pork loins.  Remove the pork loins from the brine, and dry them thoroughly with paper towels.  Using a sharp knife, score the fat on the top of the roasts in a 1" diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat.  Cut a slit through the side of the roasts, until it just reaches the far side, but don't cut all the way through - you want to open the roast up like a book.  Sprinkle the roasts evenly with the rub, patting to help it stick to the meat.  Close the cuts back up, then put the roasts back to back, with the side with the fat facing out.  Truss the two roasts together, to make one big roast; tie them with the butcher's twine about one inch apart.  (See picture for how this looks when it's all done.)  Finally, run the spit between the two tied roasts, making sure the prongs on the spit go into the two roasts to hold them on the spit.
6. Cook the pork roasts: Put the spit on the grill, and turn on the rotisserie motor. Cook with the lid closed.  It should take 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the thickness of the pork roasts. 2 1.75lb roasts should be done in about 45 minutes.  It's better to go by temperature, though - you want the roast at the thickest part to be 140*F.  Start checking the temperature at the 30 minute mark.
When you check the temperature at 30 minutes, brush the roast with the maple syrup glaze, and then brush it every 5-10 minutes thereafter, or whenever you check the temperature.

7. Rest, carve and serve: When the roast is cooked through, remove the spit from the grill and immediately remove the roast from the spit, and onto a platter.  Brush the roast once more with the maple syrup glaze, then let it rest for 15 minutes.  Remove the butcher's twine, and carve into 1/2" thick slices.


Notes:
*This next note gets into the details bacteria in pork.  If you're squeamish about that kind of thing, you may want to skip down to the credits, below.

*Still with me?  Great!  Here we go.  Cooking pork to medium is almost a requirement for this recipe; that's why I recommend only cooking it to a maximum of 140*F.  Modern Pork is trichinosis free*.

*...and very lean.  Did I mention that already?

Why?  Because trichinosis comes from the feed of the pigs (um...well, basically they have to eat garbage to get it.  See the link above, if you want all the squeamish details.)  If you buy your pork from a grocery store, you're not going to get trichinosis.  If you insist on cooking your pork to well done, use a cut of Pork Shoulder (aka Boston Butt Roast), and the recipe I link to below instead.  Pork shoulder has the internal fat to stand up to being cooked well done without turning into sawdust.
*Oh, and by cooking to 140*F, the carry-over cooking from the heat in the meat will take it over 144*F, which is when the USDA says that trichinosis is killed.




Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Click here for my Rotisserie Pork Shoulder Roast recipe
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.

Inspired by:
I got the idea for tying the pork loins together to make a thicker roast from Weber's Way to Grill cookbook.  (The pictures of the trussing and spitting technique are on this page; click on the picture in the upper left hand corner of the rectangle of images.  via weber.com.)


Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It's a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!


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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I'm going to try this recipe tonight, but I was wondering about this ingredient:

"1 tsp dried garlic peel TKLink"

Is this a typo?

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Anonymous:
You're right, that was a typo. (TKLink was supposed to remind me to come back and fix it.)

It's supposed to be 1 tsp dried lemon peel, which I get from Penzeys spices. You can either skip it, or add 1 tsp of lemon zest.

Thanks for the catch!

MikeV

Lisa said...

Made this tonight with slight modifications...single 3.5# pork loin (1/3 Costco roast), and haven't been able to find coriander seed, so used ground. Also chopped up potatoes and onions to fill the drip tray (EVOO, salt, pepper, Old Bay). Also used my own 1 1/2 hour brine from Cooks Ilustrated before I found your recipe for the rotisserie part.
Anyway, it was FANTASTIC. This rub is really, really good and kept it very savory which some maple glazes tend to be almost dessert-sweet. And I'm getting tired of thyme based flavors, so my family really enjoyed this.
Thanks for introducing us to great rotisserie! This is my first one (Weber Summit) and your blog is very inspiring!

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Lisa:

You're welcome, and thank you for the detailed update!

Anonymous said...

Great recipe. I made three different styles of pork loin roasts for Thanksgiving yesterday.

I made your recipe exactly as described for ingredients.

I did use an electric rotisserie roster though.

Every single person there loved yours the best.

Congrats on an awesome winning recipe.

Apparently this one will be the one I keep making for holiday events.

Thanks again Mike.

David

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@David:

You're welcome. I'm glad you liked it!

Adrian Gutierrez said...

Hi Mike,

I don't have the rotisserie attachment but this recipe looks delicious and I have a pork roast brining as we speak so I am going to cook it no matter what. Question: is it absolutely necessary that I have the rotisserie attachment? Can't I cook on indirect heat for nearly the same amount of time using a drip pan underneath in between two piles of charcoal? Would it require the same amount of time? I was hoping to grill it since I do have some good apple wood left over and it's still hot in San Diego in mid-October. Thanks for the input. I dig your blog!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Absolutely, you can cook it indirect. You won't get quite as good of a browned crust, and it might take a few minutes longer, but it will still turn out well. Flip the roast halfway through the cooking time, and cook to the internal temperature of 140*F.

Good luck!

pianoplayer said...

Mike V. As always a fantastic brine and a great idea for a rub. The fennel and coriander were great. I wished I made more for the rub. You said you "pulled out all the stops"...well I would like to add one more "stop" before the rotisserie. Grilling at high temp to sear in all the juices. Depending on the cut; I had a 9 pound loin; my searing was 4 minutes a side. Another variation I did was I scored all over the meat, not just the fatty side. Hoping that the brine and glaze would soak into deeper layers. Just my two cents. Mike thanks for all the great recipes.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome - glad you liked it.

Laurette Russell said...

Sounds tasty!! wowould like to try 2 4.5lb roasts on indirect heat . Can you estimate the time it would take to get 140 deg.?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

The cooking time is determined by thickness. I'm assuming you have two whole (4.5 pound) pork loins- they will still take about 45 minutes to cook. The ones I was cooking were shorter, but the same thickness.

Remember, that's an estimate - I could be off by ten minutes in either direction, depending on your grill, so you really want to go with an internal temperature of 140°F and start checking after 30 minutes. (The timings change even on the same grill - the last time I did this it took 50 minutes.)

Good luck!

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