So, whole pork loin, if you can catch a decent price or sale, weighs in at less than a buck and a half per pound. Good price for good lean meat. Mine, above, is a little shorter than when I bought it because I cut about a pound off the end to make delicious schnitzel.
But that’s another story.
My whole grilled pork loin recipe started as a quest to make a cheap home alternative to smoked pork chops, which are strictly a luxury at 7 bucks a pound.
The loin isn’t exactly the same, but it is as delicious and similar in flavor.
In fact, I think it’s better. And as a brined, smoked, cooked meat it lasts a long time in the fridge, giving you time to eat every last morsel.
I plop the whole thing in a big pot and toss in a cup of salt. Maybe a cup and a half, since I tend to freehand it. Then about a dozen bay leaves (dirt cheap at Hispanic or Caribbean grocery stores), maybe a tablespoon of whole allspice, a quarter cup or so of whole coriander (dirt cheap at Indian grocery stores), a sprinkle of whole cloves (ten-ish), and a cup and a half of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Sometimes I add a couple of packets of culantro y achiote sazon (sorry about no accent on the o – posting from mobile with limited keyboard) for variety.
Add water to just cover the loin.
Then I let that sucker marinate for 24 hours.
Grill slowly – an actual smoker is best but you can fake it by heaping all the coals to one side and keeping the meat on the other unless your grill is very small. You want to take at least 2 hours to cook the thing. The one pictured took 4.
It’s great smoked with hickory chips but cherrywood is even better.
Pull it at around 165°F. Give it at least 15 minutes to rest.
It’s juicy and delicious cut into chops for dinner. Cold and sliced thin it makes a hell of a sandwich. Sliced thick and seared quickly it reheats as chops wonderfully and still moist.
Get up in the middle of the night and hack off a chunk to gnaw on – it’s tasty that way too.
Hope you enjoyed the food interlude. I did. And I will for breakfast in the morning, too.