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
- 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)
- 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)
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup table salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 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
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, (preferably "Grade B")
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp reserved rub
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.
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.
*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*.
Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Click here for my Rotisserie Pork Shoulder Roast recipe
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.
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.
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