Smoked Pork Loin Stuffed With Apple,
Onion, Garlic, Bacon and Bleu Cheese
to view an instructional video.
If you are a regular reader of this column, you have heard me sing the praises of pork on more than one occasion. Please allow me to do so one more time.
In my humble opinion, pork is one of the best values for the outdoor cook whether you are grilling thick bone-in pork chops or fixing the smokey southern delicacy of pulled pork barbecue. It is much less expensive than beef, and can be dressed up in a way that makes the taste experience just as regal as prime beef.
Today's dish in at the top of the “regal taste and presentation” list – smoked pork loin stuffed with apple, onion, bacon, garlic and bleu cheese. I know. Just the title of the dish makes your mouth water. This is an original recipe we came up with, and I decided to share it with you because on our very first attempt (which we video taped) it was a culinary home run.
We used a pork loin that I found on sale for $1.99 a lb. Duh...winner! The pork loin is one of the leanest and most tender cuts of the pig. It is a muscle which runs along the back of the animal, and is so tender because the muscle is not used much at all, other than for posture. The pork tenderloin could also be used in the recipe, but would be much smaller. Also, please DO NOT purchase one of those hideous pork tenderloins prepackaged in its own marinade, ever. It is overpowering and you will be drinking gallons of water all night to compensate for the extreme salt content. I know this from personal experience. Duh...loser!
The most challenging aspect of this recipe is creating the pork canvas for the stuffing, which is cutting the loin in a way that causes it to lay out flat. It's hard to describe in words, and I have limited space for this column. I would strongly suggest you view our video of this entire recipe at http://www.youtube.com/BBQMyWay. Search for “smoked pork loin,” or click on the link at the top.
3 pieces of bacon
1 chopped apple
1 chopped onion
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 TBS of chopped rosemary (fresh)
1 cup of Bleu cheese
Cook the bacon until crisp, then remove, break into small pieces and set aside. Add the chopped apple and chopped onion to the remaining bacon grease and saute' for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and saute' for another 2 minutes. Add the bleu cheese and stir until fully melted. Fold the cooked bacon back into the mix and remove from heat. Allow to cool for ten minutes.
Spread the stuffing out over the flattened pork loin which should be at room temperature, leaving the last 6 inches of the loin free from stuffing. Roll the pork back to its original shape. Allow the weight of the pork to do the work. If you push on it as you roll it, you will force most of the stuffing to the end of the pork. Once rolled, tie the pork with twine in three or four locations. Don't tie it too tight as the pork will expand while cooking. Please make sure you use cotton twine. I cannot emphasize this fact enough. Nylon twine will melt, imparting the distinct flavor and texture of burnt polyester which very few people find pleasing. Salt and pepper all sides of the loin.
Cook on charcoal with a sprinkling of hickory using the “indirect heat method.” The charcoal is on one side of the grill and the meat is on the other side. Another way of describing it is that the pork is not directly over the charcoal. Again, watch the video. When your coals are 70% gray, sprinkle on a handful of hickory chips. Once they are done flaming, place the pork on the opposite side of the grill and put the lid on. You can also use an indirect heat method with a gas grill.
This loin took 1 ˝ hours, although each fire is different for charcoal. The pork was done when it reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. One you bring it in, allow it to rest for ten minutes, tented with aluminum foil. The temperature will rise another 7 to 10 degrees. Carve and enjoy this regal pork dish.
If you plan on serving wine with this dish, consider a crisp Riesling or an Italian red with Sangiovese in the blend. If beer is your beverage of choice, consider an Octoberfest or a smooth, brown ale to compliment the pork.
Dave is a BBQ enthusiast from Sellersburg, Indiana, and an official KCBS judge. You can contact Dave with your BBQ and grilling questions by visiting his website, www.BBQMyWay.com. Feel free to send him suggestions or questions for future columns.
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