If you’re anything like me, you despise turning on the oven when the thermostat climbs over 90 as it has the last couple of weeks. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is a wonderful tool sitting right in your backyard to help with this: the grill. Using your grill to give whatever you’re cooking that char that everyone loves and then turning down the heat to finish your food slowly is a great way to cook a larger piece of meat without burning it or having to turn on the oven when your AC is already working hard.
Pork is a lot leaner than it was in the past because of the way most pigs are now raised. A great way to combat the natural dryness of a pork loin roast is to brine it. Brining adds flavor, and more importantly, moisture to any meat you think could use a boost of both. Grilling has a tendency to dry your meat out if you’re not careful so brining it before you grill it is a great fail-safe. What I like to do is make my brine the night before, let it cool in the fridge overnight, and then pour the brine over the pork roast before I leave for work. You can always do it overnight but I don’t like to add ice to my brine, so I usually let it cool without adding ice.
Another great way to add flavor to pork roasts is to make a barbecue sauce. Keep in mind that just because you add barbecue sauce to a piece of meat does not qualify it as now being barbecue. True barbecue involves smoke and this method does not involve smoke. So even though it isn’t barbecue in its true form, it is still delicious nonetheless.
I like my barbecue sauce as kind of a hybrid between the sweet Kansas City style and the mustard-based sauces that are popular in the Carolinas. The great thing about barbecue sauce is that it can easily be altered to better fit your taste. If you like it a little sweeter, add more brown sugar, or try adding some dark molasses. If you like your sauce a bit more on the tangy side, add more vinegar or mustard. You can also easily change the spices. I like a little heat in my barbecue sauce so I like to add cayenne pepper and hot sauce. I also like the smoky note you get from ground cumin. The addition of ground ginger also gives you a little something on the back of your tongue that makes you think “What is the spice I’m getting in the background?” Barbecue sauce is a very versatile and personal thing so make it the way you like it. If you’re interested in learning more about grilling, check out our grilling classes on the gorgeous patio at The Chopping Block’s Lincoln Square location.
2 quarts water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 lemon, halved and squeezed
1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Turn down to a simmer.
4. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow flavors to marry.
5. Cool in the fridge overnight.
6. Submerge pork roast in the brine all day or overnight.
7. Remove from brine and pat dry.
8. Bring to room temperature, about 1 hour.
9. Use according to the grilled pork loin roast procedure.
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon hot sauce (I recommend Sriracha, available for purchase in our retail shops.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil.
2. Add onion. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add garlic, chili powder, ground ginger, ground cumin, and cayenne. Saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
4. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Grilled Pork Loin Roast
For this recipe, I used a 2# roast.
1. Set your grill up for indirect grilling. (I have a 5-burner grill, so I turn 2 of the burners on high and leave the rest off.)
2. Allow grill to heat on high for 10-15 minutes.
3. Season pork roast with salt and pepper. (Be judicious, remember the brine has a lot of salt in it, you just need a little to help build a crust.)
4. Sear the pork on the hot part of the grill until well-marked on all sides. About 4-5 minutes per side.
5. Once the roast is marked, move it to the cooler side of the grill and baste with your homemade barbecue sauce.
6. Grill until your roast reaches an internal temperature of 135 for a nice medium, about 35-40 minutes, turning and basting with more of the BBQ sauce every 5-10 minutes. (It will carry over another 5-10 degrees.)
7. Allow roast to rest 10-15 minutes.
8. Slice thin and serve with your favorite grilled veggies.