“Pork. The Other White Meat” has been an advertising slogan since 1987. The most important technique for cooking perfect pork, which is lower in fat than beef, is to brine the meat for at least 12 hours. Brining is simply a marinade to keep the food moist and tender. The process involves nothing more than a water and salt bath. Kosher salt is preferable—using sea salt would be expensive and unnecessary. Sugar, citrus juices and herbs are sometimes called for in brine, which is a good idea if you’re brining turkey. The recipe below comes from my book, Savoring the Hamptons: Discovering the Food and Wine of Long Island’s East End.
To roast the loin I would suggest a shallow roasting pan that will hold the pork easily and an instant-read meat thermometer. Today’s pork, unlike the pork of yesteryear, is done when the internal temperature reaches 155°F, with a hint of pink. This recipe served with seasonal apples and fresh cider is perfect for fall entertaining.
ROAST PORK LOIN WITH APPLE CIDER REDUCTION
Brining is highly recommended to keep the meat at its juiciest and most tender. Please note temperature reduction during roasting.
Serves 6 to 8
For the Brine
3/4 cup each kosher salt and sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
12 cups cold water
1 teaspoon black pepper
For the Roast
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3-pound pork loin, boned and tied, rack reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 apples, preferably Gala, cored and cut into wedges
Apple Cider Reduction
3 cups apple cider
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
5 to 6 whole cloves
1. Combine brining ingredients in a container large enough to hold the pork loin and stir to dissolve. Add pork and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours. When ready to roast the loin, rinse the meat and dry thoroughly: discard brine.
2. Dress the loin and bring to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
3. Peel garlic, cut into thin slivers and put in a mixing bowl with the thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Pierce the surface of the meat in several places with the tip of a sharp paring knife and insert the herb/garlic mixture into the tiny pockets. Rub the loin with any
3. Pour the oil in a shallow roasting pan that can contain the roast and apples snugly. Roll the loin in the oil then put the reserved rack of bones in the pan and place the loin on the rack, fat side up. Put in the preheated oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning frequently until lightly browned. Reduce oven setting to 350°F and surround the loin with the apple wedges. Continue cooking the loin for another 40 to 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature, read with an instant thermometer, reaches 155°.
4. Transfer roast to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes to allow juices to recede back into the meat. While meat is resting, combine cider reduction ingredients in a saucepan and reduce by half or until syrupy. Carve roast into thin slices and serve warm with apple wedges and the cider reduction.