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One of the most tender and juiciest parts of a pig is the loin roast, which comes from the area between the shoulder and the beginning of the leg.
A deboned loin roast can be rolled and tied with string. Loin roasts with a bone tend to be juicier and more flavorful, but carving it can be a bit tricky.
Don’t confuse a pork loin roast with pork tenderloin. Despite the name similarity, they are not one in the same. A loin roast usually weighs between 2 to 4 pounds. A tenderloin is a smaller, longer cut that usually weighs only about a pound. The term roast just refers to any large cut of pork.
My favorite way to prepare loin roasts is to rub them with a spice mixture and then barbecue over indirect heat. Adding a fruity glaze just before its finished just adds more flavor to the dish. Pork loin roasts should not be braised or stewed. They have a tendency to lose tenderness and fall apart when cooked using moist heat.
Grilled Glazed Pork Loin Roast
This is my favorite recipe which uses a rub of cumin, seasoned salt and cinnamon. The glaze is a mixture of fruit preserves, Worcestershire sauce and ground ginger.
1 boneless pork loin, about 2 pounds, well-trimmed
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 Tbsp. seasoned salt
1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup fruit preserves (apricot, peach, etc.)
2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
In a small bowl, combine cumin, seasoned salt and cinnamon; mix well. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and then place roast, fat side up, on foil. Rub mixture on all sides of roast, including the ends. Slide roast and foil onto your grill. Grill on medium-indirect heat (center burner off) for 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine preserves, Worcestershire sauce and ginger. Spoon preserve mixture over the pork loin. Grill additional 10 minutes, or until internal temperature of meat reaches 160 degrees. Remove pork roast from grill by sliding the roast and foil back onto the cookie sheet. Let stand five minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 4-6 servings.
Roasted Pork Loin with Pecan Bourbon Glaze
Pork loin slices are served with a bourbon-pecan sauce spooned over them and garnished with crisp, fried sage.
1 boneless pork loin, about 2-3 pounds, well-trimmed
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. mild paprika
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups bourbon
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 cup fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 Tbsps. butter
Preheat grill to medium-high-indirect heat (center burner off). Place the roast on a cutting board and make small incisions all around it with a sharp knife to create pockets. Place the garlic slices into each pocket. Rub the pork all over with the olive oil, and then rub the surface generously with salt, pepper and paprika. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan, add a little water, and then place the pan on the grill.
In a small bowl, combine bourbon and brown sugar until dissolved. Generously baste the pork with the bourbon mixture every 10 minutes. The excess marinade and cooking juices will fall into the pan. Add additional water to pan if juices begin to burn.
Once the bourbon mixture is gone, use the pan juices to baste the pork every 10 minutes. Cook until a thermometer inserted reads 160 degrees for medium-doneness, about 45-60 minutes. Remove from heat. Place roast on a plate and allow to rest.
Using a small deep saucepan, add olive oil to a depth of 1/4-inch. Over medium heat, add the sage leaves and cook until they stop bubbling. Carefully remove sage from hot oil with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Allow to cool. The sage leaves should be deep green and quite crisp.
Transfer drippings and juices into a small non-stick saucepan. Add pecans. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, cooking until reduced to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, to taste.
To serve, place pork loin slices on a serving plate and spoon the bourbon-pecan sauce over the pork. Garnish with the crisp sage and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.
Rosemary Roasted Potato Wedges
This is a perfect complement to the roasted pork loin. The aroma of the rosemary will permeate your kitchen.
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges
3 Tbsps. olive oil
2 tsps. fresh, crushed rosemary
1 tsp. salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss potato wedges with oil; place in shallow roasting pan and sprinkle evenly with rosemary and salt. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown and fork tender. Makes 4-6 servings.
Florets are cooked in a mixture of chicken broth and white wine and then roasted with a topping of bread crumbs, cheese and oregano.
1 head cauliflower, florets only
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 garlic cloves, slivered
2 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place cauliflower florets in a 2-quart baking dish. Add chicken broth, wine, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over top of mixture. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Mix bread crumbs, cheese and oregano; top cauliflower with mixture. Bake additional 15 minutes, uncovered. Makes 4-6 servings.
We have made this easy dish forever and never get tired of it! It goes with just about anything.
1-1/2 lb. baby carrots
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. dried dill weed
Cook in enough water to cover carrots for 30 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from heat and drain; add butter and dill. Cover and let set until butter is melted. Makes 4-6 servings.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.