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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Italian Style Grilled Pork Loin with Rosemary

Having a gas grill means never having to say you are sorry you can't grill tonight. I know there are the hardwood charcoal purists out there who feel grilling isn't grilling without a hot coal fire under your primal cuts of meat. The smokey aroma, the char, the higher heat all adding to the deep outdoorsy taste. Believe me, I love real grilling over good charcoal, but I hate the time it takes for the coals to get to the perfect amber glow. Even when I have used a chimney starter, it just takes too darn long and I feel like there is so much waste of good fire. When I want to grill, I don't want to have to plan and wait almost an hour before I can get my food on the grates. If there's rain, and I have planned to cook outdoors, with propane, I can. My trick to getting a deep smokey taste is to use cedar planks, or a smoker box with some apple wood or hickory chips, or even to use whole woody herbs like rosemary to create the smoke and fire without the hassle of waiting for the coals to do their thing.

Tonight's dinner was ready in a snap. I had a third of a boneless pork loin (it was so big I cut it into three pieces and froze the other pieces another use later), which I butterflied open so I could stuff it full of garlic, rosemary, parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper. I closed it back and trussed it shut with a couple of toothpicks. Seasoned the outside with salt, pepper and olive oil and grilled it on the outside to give the pork loin some colour and the look of being on the grill. Then I finished cooking it on a cedar plank. In half an hour it was done.
For a side dish, I made "Cowboy-style" fingerling potatoes with garlic, onions and rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil, cooked in a foil packet on the grill. The potato packet went on the grill while it preheated and was done at the same time as the pork loin. My dinner waited for no one!


Italian Style Grilled Pork Loin Ingredients:
  • 1 Small Boneless Pork loin (about 1 1/2 pounds) - trimmed of excess fat and silver skin
  • 4 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley - minced
  • 1 Whole Rosemary Stem - leaves picked off woody stem and minced
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt - plus more to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper - plus more to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Cedar Grilling Plank - soaked for 15 minutes in water
Directions:

1. Preheat your grill; while your grill or coals are preheating, butterfly open the pork loin and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread a layer of finely chopped fresh parsley, rosemary, minced garlic and the zest of a lemon. Squeeze half of the lemon's juice over the stuffing and drizzle with olive oil.






2. Close or fold the pork loin back together and truss/seal with several toothpicks or bamboo skewers. Season the outside of the pork loin with additional salt, pepper, olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice.






3. Reduce the grill heat to medium. Place the pork loin on the grill and sear on the top and bottom, cooking it on each side long enough to create grill marks and to be able to move the loin easily without tearing it or having it stick to the grill - about 8 minutes on the first side, 5 on the next.






4. Once the loin has been seared, place it on a prepared and soaked cedar grilling plank. Place the cedar plank on the grill, raising the heat to medium-high. Close the lid and allow the grill plank to char and smoke. Occasionally check on the plank to make sure it is not burning. Douse with water from a squirt bottle if necessary. Cook until the internal temperature of the pork loin reaches 145 degrees, or the when the inner layers are no longer pink, the juices run clear - about 20 to 25 minutes.



5. Allow the meat to rest, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Remove the toothpicks then slice into quarter-inch thick slices. This size pork loin, which was about a pound serves two. With ample sides, and not a ravenous appetite, I was able to get 3 servings - about 9 slices altogether, 3 per serving.

1 comment:

  1. Delicious! I made this today and it was a huge hit. My first plank grilling experience was a huge success. Thanks!

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