So it’s Wednesday now, and because of my crazy nutso work schedule, I have been unable to cook anything so far this week; a fact that has me quite upset. So instead of dwelling on that fact, I will instead embrace it, and move forward with an image from the past, and a very tasty secret.
That there is one tasty bit of cooked pork product. I guess more accurately, I should say that it WAS one tasty bit of cooked pork product. This picture was taken on July 4th, and may have been one of the best pork roasts that I’ve made. Ironically, I use the word “roasts” here, but never did this thing even see the oven. For one, it doesn’t have eyes. For two, it’s not alive. What am I even talking about anymore?!
All joking aside, hunks of pork much like that pictured above have become my ace in the hole when it comes to cooking. If my team at work is having a pot luck, I make pulled pork. If I have to go to the grocery to buy stuff for dinner on a particular night, I will often buy a pork roast. There are two secrets to what I do that makes it so finger-licking good. And you’re lucky, because I like you. And as a result, I am going to share my secrets.
- Brine that pork! What does that mean? It means to “marinate” the pork in a salt water solution. That may not sound very tasty, but trust me: the way pigs are raised in this country, they are leaner than ever, and the injection of all that salt will help to keep the pork nice and juicy. You can add whatever other flavors you want to the brine as well (herbs, spices, vegetation) to help infuse those flavors into the meat. I will post more about brining at another time, since it is too much to fit here.
- Before cooking it, rub it down. Like most people, pork roasts like to be massaged before going through something stressful. And personally, I cannot think of anything more stressful than being enveloped in a 300° environment for 2 hours! What you rub on the pork will have a profound affect on the taste, so choose wisely. I do not measure my rub, but here’s what I use (you can thank me later):
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried oregano
- Brown sugar
- Since my grill is outfitted with a smoker box, I smoke this meat over mesquite wood chips to give it that smokey flavor. Also, I don’t time it. Time is worthless when it comes to meat doneness. I use my probe thermometer and leave it in the meat at all times. When it reaches my desired temperature, it beeps at me knowing that the cooking is done.
Looking back, much of what I have written is a little vague. Now, since I am writing this all right now, I could easily just scroll up and edit, but I don’t want to do that. I think I would rather just clarify here instead of elongating my already-long bullet points.
Notice I did not salt the meat when I put the rub on. If you decide to brine the pork, do not salt it prior to cooking. It will have absorbed all the salty flavor you will want, and additional salt will only kill your palate. The brown sugar in the rub is also a touchy subject. For this particular roast, I did not cook it over direct flame at all. Therefore, the amount of sugar I put in it was strictly based on taste. You see, if you cook this over too hot a flame, or roast it at too high of a temperature, the sugar will burn, your roast will be unsalvageable, and then you will email me complaining about how badly I suck for ruining your pork. And I don’t want to hear that. So I’ve warned you.
My grill came equipped with a smoker box made just for it, but you don’t need such luxuries to enjoy that wonderful flavor and aroma. All you need is some aluminum foil, and of course, the wood chips. Soak the wood chips in water for about 30 minutes, then drain them and put them in an aluminum pouch. Cut slits in the top of the pouch to allow for the smoke to be released into your food. Add to grill. Wait for smoke. Instant smoker box; ain’t life grand?
So there ya go. I’ve given you my secret pork rub recipe. Play around with different spices and herbs, and the proportions therein. That’s really just a baseline anyway, I have been getting bold with some of the flavors I have been adding to my pork that have been equally delicious.Love your life, stay positive, and play with your food 🙂