It’s midsummer, and you’re no doubt looking for inspired dishes to wow friends and family at your next backyard party.
We have three words for you: boneless pork loin. Steven likens this mild-tasting cut, often sold as pork loin roast, to a blank canvas on which you can paint masterful barbecue pictures. And we’ve been doing just that, giving this humble and misunderstood cut an extreme makeover.
Boneless pork loin really is the unsung hero of the meat counter. It’s versatile, compatible with a multitude of flavor combinations, adaptable to a wide variety of grilling and smoking techniques, and often retails for about $2.00 a pound with zero waste—way less expensive than pork ribs, pork shoulder, and even pork belly. It is usually sold in 2- to 5-pound sections, but some farmers, butchers, and big box stores sell whole loins, which weigh in at around 9 to 13 pounds. (Do not confuse pork loin with pork tenderloin, which is a different muscle.)
People are often seduced by the attractive price, but then don’t know what to do with this beautiful hunk o’ porcine protein once they get it home.
Because it’s boneless (we’ll talk about bone-in pork loin in another post), it’s super-easy to portion: Cube the end pieces for stew meat, stir-fries, kebabs, or sates, then harvest several pork chops. The remainder of the loin, called a center-cut pork roast, can be used for some of our favorite recipes:
Pork Loin Reuben
From Project Fire, Season 1, comes this show-stopper—butterflied pork loin stuffed with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. And to keep the outside moist, bacon.
Porchetta (Italian Garlic and Herb Stuffed Pork Loin)
This is a real Cinderella story inspired by the swoon-worthy porchetta served from Tuscan food carts. Who knew pork loin could be so alluring? It first appeared in Man Made Meals, and while the directions call for roasting the meat in a 375 degree oven, we advocate setting your grill up for indirect grilling or spit-roasting.
Bourbon Brown Sugar Smoked Pork Loin
We’re pleased to reintroduce one of our most popular recipes ever. Butterflied pork loin is seasoned on the inside with Tennessee whiskey, Dijon mustard, your favorite barbecue rub, and brown sugar, then swaddled in bacon and glazed.