Okay, we are ranchers who happen to raise beef, pigs and chickens. So at our family events we select one awesome hunk of meat and Southern sides from my upbringing to celebrate. We can then go back to the smoothies and healthy, lighter portions when we have parted ways.
Conviviality goes a long way around our table and if there is a holiday, special event or just a gathering it centers around the table. The oak table in my kitchen seats 12 and is often full and then some. It has stood duty for all the 35 years of marriage, 6 kids of art projects and lots of conversations seeing tempers, tears and laughter.
It likely needs refinishing but when asked if I wanted to do so my answer was a simple “No”. Like the Velveteen Rabbit . . . it is shabby from much love. My five boys have become men and all the older boys do most the cooking for their families. I asked one who happened to be home for the weekend with his family why he thought that was so.
He looked down at the table where we sat and said, “This table. We grew up raising our food, cooking and eating meals together. It binds.”
That blew me away because I didn’t realize they even noticed.
I would like to share how we cook this cut.
The pork loin is a favored cut and from here the chops are cut or the boneless pork loin is taken and where you get your baby back ribs. I love the bone in cut because the bones add flavor and help to keep the meat moist. If we are expecting a large crowd and a busy day then I love this on the menu because it is so easy.
I like to bring the loin to room temperature before prepping for the oven.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Sharpen or use a good knife. It makes handling any meat safer and more of a pleasure.
Cut along the bones at the end of the meaty part of the chop. This is the Frenched part that I think makes it look pretty but doesn’t really serve much purpose. Do it if you like, but if you’re squimish about knives skip it. It will cook fine either way.
Cut the meat out between the bones. I save it for soup.
Scrape the bones to clean and leave exposed.
Our pork loins come to you with the fat fairly trimmed up but I still like to score the fat remaining. It just seems to turn out prettier. Cut through the fat (don’t get into the lean) using diagaonals in one direction then turn and use diagonal lines the other way. This creates a diamond pattern on the fat and assures good, even distribution during cooking.
Season the loin generously with your favorite rub. Here is our Dry Rub Recipe:
Dry Rub for Pork
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup Sugar
2 T Salt
3 T Black Pepper
1 ½ t Red Pepper
1 T Dry Mustard
1 T Onion Powder
2 t Paprika
1T Garlic Powder
¾ t Crushed Rosemary
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and apply generously to pork.
Line your roasting pan with foil for easy clean up. Or not. Place a rack in the bottom to hold the pork. Place the seasoned pork in the pan.
Roast in oven at 450 for 30 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 and cook until the meat thermometer reads 145. On our trimmed bone in pork loins I check at 1 ½ hour and keep checking every 5-10 minutes.
Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
While you let the pork rest, prep the pan drippings to make gravy. I separate the grease from the drippings and any particles of meat left in the pan. Add 3 cups liquid (chicken broth, wine, even beer) to the pan and heat to reduce by half. Set this to the side.
Add ½ stick butter to a pan and melt. Add ¼ cup flour and stirring constantly cooking the mixture for a couple of minutes. Using the liquid you reduced add broth or even cream to make 2 cups.
Slowly add the liquid to the butter and flour stirring constantly. I usually do not season this further because it has all the flavor and salt from the rub. Use this with your pork if you like.
Slice the pork between bones and serve with a drizzle of pork gravy.