Bourbon Pecan Pork Loin with Sweet Black Pepper Anytime SauceSteven Raichlen
This recipe is brought to you with support from our sponsor, Stubb’s, who provided the samples and advertising support.
C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield used to say he “was born hungry and wanted to feed the world.” Yes, that Stubb—the Lubbock, Texas-born pit master, who ran the popular Stubb’s barbecue joint in Austin for many years. That was long before his photo (complete with rakish cowboy hat) began appearing on bottles of the über popular Stubb’s sauces. Today, the Stubb’s tradition continues with C.B.’s grandson, Rocky, who recently launched one of the most interesting sauces we’ve tasted in a long time: Stubb’s Sweet Black Pepper Anytime Sauce.
One taste makes you sit up and take notice, for this kickass sauce jolts you with massive doses of cracked black pepper, then soothes you with just the right dose of brown sugar. The sauce contains no artificial flavors, colors or high fructose corn syrup (the sweetener found in most national BBQ sauce brands). It’s kosher, certified gluten free, and enrolled in the non-GMO project. You can use it as a marinade, glaze, and dipping sauce, and of course slather it on before serving.
The black pepper-brown sugar flavor profile set us thinking about one of my favorite pork preparations—a butterflied pork loin stuffed with bourbon infused raisins and pecans, swaddled with bacon, and smoke-roasted on the grill. Glazed inside and out with Stubb’s Sweet Black Pepper Anytime Sauce, it makes a terrific centerpiece for a New Year’s Eve feast and turns pretty much any evening meal into a holiday.
Bourbon Pecan Pork Loin with Sweet Black Pepper Anytime Sauce
- Yield: Serves 6
- Method: Indirect grilling
- Equipment: Butcher’s string; 2 cups of hardwood chunks or chips (if using the latter, soak in water for 30 minutes, then drain)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1 center-cut piece of pork loin, about 3 pounds
- 1/4 cup Stubb’s Sweet Black Pepper Anytime Sauce, plus 1/4 cup for glazing and serving
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Step 1: In a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pecans until fragrant and lightly browned, 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl. Add the raisins to the hot pan. Add the bourbon, but do not return to the flame. Let the raisins steep for 15 minutes.
Step 2: In the meantime, butterfly the pork loin: Using a very sharp knife, cut the roast almost in half lengthwise through one side, stopping about 1/2 inch from the opposite side. Open the roast up as you would a book.
Step 3: Drain the raisins, reserving the bourbon. Spread the inside of the pork loin with Stubb’s Sweet Black Pepper Anytime Sauce. Sprinkle the brown sugar over it, followed by pecans and raisins. Drizzle the reserved bourbon on top. Carefully fold the roast back together (like closing a book). Tie the roast shut and into a compact cylinder with four 12-inch pieces of butcher’s string—tied crosswise to the roast at 2-inch intervals. (Note: for even more flavor, place 4 strips bacon on the roast lengthwise under the string.)
Step 4: Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high (350 degrees). If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center, preheat the grill to medium, then toss all of the wood chips or chunks on the coals.
Step 5: When ready to cook, place the pork roast on the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat and cover the grill. Cook the roast until cooked through, about 1 hour. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the side of the roast. The internal temperature should be 155 degrees F. Start basting the roast with Stubb’s Sweet Black Pepper Anytime Sauce after 40 minutes, and baste once or twice before the roast is cooked.
Step 6: Transfer the cooked roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes, then remove and discard the strings. Slice the roast crosswise with a serrated or an electric knife. Serve additional sauce on the side if desired.