Grilled Pork Loin: The Perfect Meal for Fall
There are some classic flavors and foods that come to mind when it is fall in New England. Apples, cranberries, maple syrup, pumpkins, cinnamon, ginger, and sage to name a few. My wife and I love to entertain in the fall. It is still warm enough to be outside, but not so cold you need a jacket. It is also easier to stand at a grill or smoker without the blazing heat of summer.
I recently received a two and a half pound pork loin from the Holy Grail Steak Company. Pork is a great complement to classic fall flavors. Hopefully, you have read about how I have cooked my way through most of Holy Grail Steaks this year. I have also had the opportunity to sample a variety of their pork products as well. In my blog “Outrageous Brined, Smoked Pork Chops on the Portable Nomad Grill” you can read how to grill double-cut thick pork chops from HGS’s Mangalitsa pork 8-bone rib roast. I also enjoyed their Mangalitsa Smoked Ham.
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Besides enjoying a beautifully cut pork loin, I wanted to see how many fall flavors I could fit into one meal.
Grilled Pork Loin
I started by making a brine for the pork loin that consisted of maple syrup, bourbon, maple sugar, kosher salt, Prague powder, black peppercorns, allspice berries, and cloves. The pork brined six hours. I removed the pork loin from the brine and rinsed it in cold water, blotted it dry with paper towels, and let it dry in the in the refrigerator.
Next, I created a maple spice rub that consisted of maple sugar, kosher salt, honey granules, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, Worcestershire powder, ground fennel seeds, and smoked paprika.
I set-up my Big Green Egg EXL (BGE) for indirect grilling and heated it to 400 degrees. I added two apple chunks to create wood smoke. While the grill was heating up, I made a maple glaze that consisted of maple syrup, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, the maple spice rub, and some of my homemade cranberry barbecue sauce.
The pork loin was seasoned generously with the maple spice rub and placed in the center of the BGE.
The pork loin cooked for 20 minutes. Then I started to spray the pork loin with apple cider vinegar to keep it from drying out. During the last fifteen minutes of cooking, I applied the maple glaze. Once the pork reached 145 degrees, I removed it from the grill. I let it rest on a wire rack over a sheet pan (do not skip this step or your pork loin will be dry, and the cutting board will be juicy). The kitchen filled with a smoky aroma from the resting pork loin.
To incorporate even more fall flavors, I smoke-roasted carrots and finished them with a sage-browned butter. To accompany the pork and carrots I prepared a mushroom-thyme risotto.
I sliced the pork loin and served it with the roasted carrots and risotto. The pork was tender and juicy on the inside and contrasted with the texture the rub created on the outside. The cranberry barbecue sauce I added to the maple glaze contained cranberries, orange juice, and orange zest which helped balance the sweetness of the maple syrup in the glaze. My guests were surprised at how luscious the pork was…no apple sauce required! The carrots had a subtle smoky aroma and the sage-browned butter complemented the natural sweetness of the carrots.
The pork loin from Holy Grail was a hit! The pork loin can be served as a roast and sliced or can be cooked in a slow cooker or smoker for pulled pork. The pork loin from Holy Grail will not disappoint when you get together with your family and friends this fall.