Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Simple Brined Pork Roast

This is a very basic recipe that can be adapted with any flavors that you prefer. It differs from Joe's previous pork recipe in that it's brined and it doesn't have a crusty coating. I also used a cheaper pork sirloin roast (~$ 6-7 for the whole shebang), which turned out every bit as flavorful and tender as a more expensive cut. I adapted this from the America's Test Kitchen recipe to create a version of utter simplicity.

A 3-4 lb pork loin roast

  • 2 qts water
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 1/4 c. sugar

2-4 Tbsp. fat, ideally including bacon grease

Seasonings--I used:
  • white pepper
  • ground mustard
  • nutmeg
  • salt
Optional gravy:
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider or 1 tsp sugar
Combine the brine ingredients. Submerge the pork in the brine for 1-4 hrs. Remove and pat dry. I untied the roast for better brine penetration and then re-tied it later, but this is optional. When the roast is dry, rub it all over with the seasonings.

Pre-heat your oven to 325 F. Heat the fat in a cast iron pan that can accomodate the entire roast or a heavy-bottomed roasting pan that can be used on the stovetop. Brown on all sides, even the ends if you can (I hope you have sturdy tongs!). If there is too much crusty stuff in the pan, add a dash of broth to the pan to deglaze it before placing it in the oven (but not so much that you're braising the meat).

Roast the meat for 50-75 minutes, turning occasionally, adding small amounts of broth to the pan if the drippings are in danger of blackening. When a meat thermometer registers 145, remove the roast from the oven and allow the meat temp to rise to 150 before slicing.

To make the gravy, heat up the drippings on the stove top. Add more fat if your meat was too lean, to yield 2-3 Tbsp. drippings. Add the sage and mustard and then whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook while stirring until all the drippings are un-stuck from the pan and the roux is a dark, golden brown. Add the broth and cider and whisk. Cook down until it's the desired thickness, adjusting flavors as need be. You can swirl in 1-2 Tbsp. of butter at the end for extra smoothness and to keep a skin from forming on top (optional).

There was a moment when I could have taken a picture of my delicious plate of meat, sweet potato, and broccoli, but I was too hungry!

1 comment:

The Middle Child said...

Variation that turned out well:

On the outside of the roast, I put fresh rosemary, some fresh sage, 3 cloves garlic, salt, pepper. It turned out well, but you have to be more careful about burning of the pan bits.