I caught a streak of inspiration the other day while checking out a guest post on Tim Hilcove’s Weekly Wine Journal by Mike MacKinnon. He put together a beautiful pork loin and it must have made an impression, because when “The Wife” mentioned to me that we were hosting some guests on Monday evening I thought to myself, how about doing up some pork loin.
I didn’t follow the recipe that Mike did over on Weekly Wine Journal, I actually did some poking around and found some other recipes with a similar vane. I came across this post over on SeriousEats and took my inspiration from there. I did modify it a bit, I went for fresh, Granny Smith apples and sugar cured cranberries instead of dried, but did some similar things with the stuffing and glaze.
Butterfly your pork loin by carefully slicing it 1/2 inch thick down one side then back the other direction. Stupid me, I didn’t take any pictures of this meat splayed wide open so you only get to see the finished product. Suffice it to say, that when butterflied this pork loin was the size of my entire cutting board which is about 14″ x 16″.
After straining out the juice from the filling, spread it evenly on the meat, and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon (another mod by me). Sprinkle chopped pecans over the fruit mixture then roll up the loin again and tie with cooking twine about every inch or so. Sprinkle exterior with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, cayenne, and smoked paprika.
Fire up a chimney of coals and prep the Weber for indirect heat grilling. When the coals are ready place the pork, fat side up, over the coals to sear. After about 5 minutes rotate the grill and add apple chips to coals for smoke and place cover on the grill. Cook for 30-40 minutes then flip tenderloin, at which time baste the tenderloin with the reserved, reduced juice from the filling pan. Continue to cook until an instant read thermometer reads 130 F, remove from grill and let tenderloin rest covered with foil.
Internal temperature should rise to about 140 F.
The Wife’s friends brought some sides, one of which was an absolutely perfect match for the pork. It was a spinach salad with sliced strawberry, red onion and sliced almonds. The dressing was a mayonnaise and milk dressing with sugar and poppy seeds.
I paired this meal with the new Pinot Noir from Sonoma-Cutrer, the 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
The berry flavors mingled happily with the apple/cranberry filling and were phenomenal with the strawberry and spinach salad!
All in all, this was an outstanding holiday weekend, I would like to extend special thanks again to the men and women of the US armed forces who make days like this possible. Your service and sacrifice do not go unnoticed. Happy Independence Day to all of you!
Oh and as a follow up. Leftovers of this are just as awesome. I cooked up a batch of wild rice along the lines of the post in Weekly Wine Journal’s Loin, I used 1 cup of apple cider and one cup of chicken broth, and just before it was done cooking I chopped up a quarter cup of pecans and toasted them in a skillet and added them to the rice at the last minute for some extra flavor. Yeah, it was effin’ goo-ood!