A few months ago I showed you a recipe for how to make bacon. It was from a relatively new buddy of mine Bruce Aidells. He’s got a great new cookbook called The Great Meat Cookbook. If you could only buy one cookbook this ought to be on your short list. Once I got this book from Bruce I knew I had two problems. I was hooked and I was stuck. I don’t review just any cookbook. It has to be one that I truly enjoy. One that I would recommend you go pay your hard-earned money on. One that I know you’ll love. So I knew I was stuck.
This cookbook is literally 600 pages of fantastic recipes and information. There are full page shots of the dishes, substitution suggestions, explanations and even breakdowns of each potential cut from each primal cut. There was no way that one single recipe could prove my point. This book literally has a recipe for every cut you can think of and 50 that you probably can’t! So I decided the best way to show how well-rounded this book was to cover 2 ends of the spectrum. Knowing full-well not everyone that comes here will take the jump into learning how to cold smoke I knew that I had to cover another one. You’ll be glad that I did!
Originally meant for standing rib roast (aka Prime Rib), this recipe has a list of substitutions one of which is rack of pork. Now I love prime rib, don’t think otherwise. But what I love about doing this recipe with a rack of pork is that it makes a dinner worthy of prime rib for a fraction of the cost. You can still do this recipe with a prime rib roast and you won’t be sorry. You can also do this with an expensive well-marbled wagyu rib roast and you’ll never forget it. Here, we’ll be doing it with a rack of pork.
What is “Rack of Pork”
Rack of Pork is also referred to as Pork rib roast, but may also be labeled as center-cut pork loin or prime rib of pork. This cut is what is used for a pork crown rib roast when it is turned into a circle and tied together. Normally you would want this type of cut “frenched” or trimmed down around the bone area, but since we are stuffing it that won’t be necessary. However, do make sure to ask your butcher to remove the chine bone.
If you can source a heritage breed of pork from a local farm this is a great recipe for Kurobuta Pork (Berkshire). Unlike traditional white pork that can have a tendency to be bland and dry, certain heritage breeds will be darker in color and rich in flavor.
The Porcini-Spinich Stuffing we use in the meat works well for locally sourced grass-fed beef because, as Bruce puts it, the stuffing “adds a rich flavor to the lean beef”. It will also match well if you’re doing the pork too. The stuffing is simple to make, but does require preparation the night before. Don’t bother with using store-bought bread crumbs.
Be sure to use only dried porcini mushrooms. Don't buy a "soup mix" or try to substitute. Unfortunately it isn't the same. Porcinis have a flavor that you just can't match with other mushrooms.
Yield: Serves 8
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
6-8 rib Rack of pork, chine bone removed
Toasted Peppercorn Whiskey Sauce (page 100) or BBQ Horseradish Cream sauce (see below)
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp crushed fennel seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
Prepare and then refrigerate the spinach stuffing while the roast is coming to room temperature. Note: requires making bread crumbs the night before.
1) Allow the roast to stand at room temperature for 1.5 - 2 hours.
2) Cooking options:
Fire up your smoker for 225°F and set up for indirect cooking. A mix of a handful of whiskey barrel oak chips and 2 large chunks of apple wood are a great match. My other preferences would be hickory, pecan, peach or sugar maple.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
3) With the rib bones pointing up, use a long sharp knife and cut the roast between the bones and the meat so that the rack of ribs is almost severed from the meat. Leave about ¾-inch connected at the bottom.
4) Use a rubber spatula and pack the stuffing between the meat and bones.
5) Tie the bones back in place with butchers twine. See the videos on my Prime Rib recipe page for easily and artfully tying with 1 piece of string. This recipe is meant to impress, right?
6) Combine the garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, fennel seeds and oil in a small bowl. Generously rub the mixture all over the outside of the roast and back of the rib bones.
7) If the rib bones have been frenched you should wrap then with foil for most of the cook. Lightly brush olive oil on the inside of the foil to make it easy to remove later.
8) If you have a wireless continuous-read thermometer (like the Maverick Wireless ET732
), then insert it into the center of the roast.
9) Cooking options:
Reverse-sear the roast like we do in the Prime Rib recipe. Cook at 225°F for most of the cook until the roast reaches 135°F (about 1.5-2 hours). Then move to direct heat and crank up the temperature. Sear on all sides for a few minutes. This will bring the pork roast to the final temperature of 145-150°F.
Sear at 450°F for 20 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350°F for the duration. Cook until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 135-140°F.
10) When finished cooking, loosely cover with foil and allow 20-30 minutes for resting. If you poke 2-3 small holes in the foil with a toothpick it will keep the meat from being steamed. Try not to poke holes in the roast at the end of the cooking process or while resting so that it will retain all of its juices.
11) Carve: Remove the twine and slice between the ribs to carve. Serve each piece with some peppercorn whiskey sauce from p100 in the cookbook or I also like doing my horseradish cream sauce mixed with a little BBQ sauce mixed in to make it a better match for the pork.
Note: if you’d like to try this recipe with a beef prime rib roast then follow the cooking temperatures and directions on my other prime rib recipe.