25 July 2007

Roasted Pork Loin in Beer

(Gebratene Schweinelende im Bier) My mom was feeling ambitious, so for a recent party she held, she bought 2 boneless pork loin roasts that weighed 3.75kg (8.25lbs) and wanted me to roast one-- with only 24 hours notice, including cooking time. By the way, I was also preparing lasagnas and dessert. Realizing I couldn't stuff the monster (she wanted me to do a simple roast), I knew I had to brine it to keep the loin moist and tender while the whole thing roasted for nearly 3 hours. But what would the flavor of the brine be? I turned to a German method: in beer. To each gallon of beer, you would have to add a cup (300g) of salt. I only needed a liter of beer, I just used 1/4 cup. The rest of the ingredients are: 1/3 cup mustard, 1 chopped onion, and 1/4 cup honey. (Rest of the instructions follows)
Roasted Pork Loin in Beer
I needed to brine it for at least 2 days given its weight (4 days to be exact), but I only got to soak it for 12 hours, so the flavor didn't fully permeate the meat (the center was decidedly porky), but the crust was quite flavorful (you could really taste the beer). After the soak, I pat it dry and crushed a handful of black peppercorns, salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a mortar and pestle, and rubbed it all over the roast. It was in a 170°C (about 335°F) oven for 3 hours, which is about the time that the center reached 160°F (I've just recently read that the center could be 140°F and you've already killed bacteria and Trichina).

From the roasting pan, discard the fat (NOOOO!) and pour in 3 cups of cranberry juice. Scrape up the brown bits and strain into a saucepan. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Add red wine vinegar to taste, then add a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken. Serve with the sliced roast.

Unfortunately, I had to scoot for the party. My mom didn't do a very good job carving the roast, so the slices were too thick, magnifying the fact that the flavor hadn't yet permeated the center. D'oh! Maybe I should have masqueraded as a chef around the party in my white uniform?

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