USDA recommends cooking all whole cuts of meat to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming.
[United States Department of Agriculture, usda.gov]
Finally, it’s official! Pork loin should not be cooked until it is dry as dust! Now, I know the USDA says 145*F. And 145*F is not bad – it’s a good medium. But…I prefer to cook to 140*F, with 10-15 minutes of rest, leaving just the slightest hint of pink in the middle of the pork. What can I say? I like to live on the edge.
*My Samoan attorney advises me to say the following: The previous statement should not be taken as professional health advice. If you are feeding the young, old, or infirm, please follow the FDA guidelines and cook to 145*F. If you are the kind of person who has their own Samoan attorney, and likes to sue penniless bloggers, please follow the old FDA guidelines and cook to 160*F.
In honor of this decision, it’s time to revisit Rotisserie Pork Loin.
OK, you got me. I also had a crowd descending on my house and a whole pork loin in my freezer.
Pork loin still needs some help, even with the lower final temperature. I wanted something simple, but impressive; my goal was to enjoy the party, not spend my time fussing with dinner. My secret weapon? Apricot preserves.
Apricot and pork may sound weird, but pork and fruit are a potent combination, and apricot seems to bring out the best flavors of pork. The partygoers raved about how it tasted.
*Even better, I spent my time with a glass of ice cold rose’, humbly acknowledging their praise. What can I say? It was a perfect party.
Recipe: Rotisserie Boneless Pork Loin with Apricot Glaze
Inspired by: Adam Perry Lang, Serious Barbecue
Cook time: 45 minutes
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber Summit with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x11″, or whatever fits your grill)
- Butcher’s twine
- 1 whole boneless pork loin roast, roughly 8 pounds (aim for the thickest roast you can find)
- 4 quarts water
- 1 cup table salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Apricot Preserves
- 1/4 cup apple juice
1. Brine the pork roast: Stir the brine ingredients in a large container until dissolved. Cut the pork loin into two equal pieces, submerge in the brine, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 8 hours.
2. Prepare the pork roast: One hour before cooking, remove the pork loin 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 inch diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Truss each piece of the pork loin separately, tying them tightly every three inches, to get the loins into the shape of a cylinder. Put the roasts back to back, with the fatty sides facing out. Tie the two roasts together to make one thick roast. (See the picture, below, 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 tightly on the spit.
2. Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking at high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grates, turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and turning the infrared burner to high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes. (See here for more rotisserie setup details.)
3. Prepare the glaze: While the grill is preheating, mix the glaze ingredients in a small, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high heat for 1 minute, then mix until the apple juice is incorporated into the apricot preserves.
|Yes, that’s a juice box.
If you have kids, you understand.
4. 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. My thick, 8 pound roast was done in 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 glaze. From then on, brush it every 5-10 minutes, when you check the temperature for doneness.
7. Rest, carve and serve: When the roast is cooked through, remove the spit from the grill, remove the roast from the spit, and remove the butchers twine from the roast. Brush the roast once more with the apricot glaze, then let it rest for 15 minutes. Carve into 1/2″ thick slices and serve.
*Other jellies or preserves: Use your favorite jelly with the pork. Apple jelly with lemon juice, or hot pepper jelly have worked well for me.
*Don’t have a rotisserie? That’s OK – set your grill up for cooking on indirect high heat, as described in the recipe; then put the grate back on the grill, put the trussed pork loin over the drip pan, and cook for 30 minutes. Flip the pork, start brushing with the glaze, and cook until 140*F internal temperature is reached.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Adam Perry Lang, Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking
|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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