Pork is one of the basic meats of barbeque. With apologies to my good friends in Texas (to whom I will remain forever indebted for teaching me how to cook brisket) pork is a meat people really want to learn how to prepare on their grills. The basis for making this statement is the sheer number of recipe downloads, posted comments and emailed questions from readers I see here at Sizzle on the Grill.
No doubt about it, pork is a versatile meat. When you consider all of the varieties of pork ribs, chops, shoulders, hams, loins, tenderloins and lest we forget – bacon, I do believe you will pretty much agree when I say: Pork is a great meat to grill. And barbeque. And smoke. And eat!
This past week I came upon a delightful sight at my favorite Ballard market – dozens of fresh, natural (un-treated) pork loin roasts packaged and priced at $1.99 a pound. Yow-Suh. I picked up a couple, cutting one into chops that I vacuum sealed and froze, and the other prepped to slow cook with smoke on my gas grill. That’s right. My gas grill. I bet with a little practice, you can do this on your grill just as well.
I prepped the pork loin roast by slicing a diamond pattern into the fat cap to help it render and crisp a bit. The only seasoning I used was coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. As per usual I spritzed the flesh with some canola oil to help transfer heat.
I slow cooked and smoked this 2 lb pork loin roast on my 3 burner RED grill. You can easily do this technique on a standard gas or charcoal grill as well.
NOTE: The important thing to remember is that a grill is not set up as a smoker, so it allows heat to escape, along with the smoke, much easier than a cooker designed to hold all of that in over a longer period of time. If you do a lot of smoking, or want to give it a try – then investigate some of the great selection of smokers that Char-Broil has for your initial steps into this great cooking technique!
Only the single r-hand burner was on the BBQ setting, and the temperature of the cooking chamber with the hood closed was hovering about 300F degrees. Now that is a bit too high for most smokes – but it was what I could achieve on this day. I also figured in the cooking equation that because the roast was on the top warming rack and the thermometer would be registering heat build up in the porcelain hood as well – I was OK with this registered temperature and the actual cooking temperature could be a bit lower. I inserted a meat thermometer to get as close to the center of this boneless roast as possible – tossed some wood chunks into the trough and closed the lid.
For the smoke I used a combination of 1 part Cherry, 2 parts Apple & 1 part Mesquite wood chunks placed in the trough of the RED. I could have also used a smoke box or wrapped these chips in foil and used a fork to poke holes in the foil. This is a personal preference for smoke – because I know the flavor of the fat on top fo the roast will taste like salty apple smoked bacon!
The USDA suggests that pork is Medium done at 160F degrees. I try to abide by these guidelines as much as possible BUT, from experience I know that an un-brined pork roast can dry out if you cook it to that temp. Since I didn’t brined this roast, when the internal temperature hit 130F degrees I pulled it from the grill and wrapped it with foil, placing it on the kitchen counter ’swaddled’ in kitchen towels to hold the heat in and allow the roast to finish to just above 140F degrees.
We enjoyed slices of the pork roast served with a simple pasta dish of sauteed garlic & chopped garden fresh tomatoes tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. That was dinner!
The next day I removed the sliced pork loin and chopped it into bite-sized pieces, being sure to leave the crispy bacon-like top fat in place to add flavor to the mix.
I wanted to make some chopped pork sandwiches. I like the spicy mustard sauce from Oklahoma Joe’s and made a smaller batch of that just for me!
I served the chopped pork in hamburger buns alongside some macaroni salad. DEE-LISH-US.