Saturday, October 4, 2008

The ultimate pork marinade

Don't you just hate it when people give things they love titles like "perfect," "ultimate," or "best ever"? Me, too. But I guess it's because I'm running out of words for delicious, tasty, scrumptious, amazing... I suppose I could use "fabulous" or "wonderful," but they're just not my style.

Well, because this is a blog about food and not semantics, I'll move on. Let's just say, this is a doggone good pork marinade.

I got the ingredient list from a former Herald-Times colleague of mine, the much loved and much hated Mike Leonard. (Does that pique your interest about him? His columns are often political.) I am saying "ingredient list" because, as is the fate of so many recipes, this one was transferred over a plate of food, drinks in hand, via a simple conversation. Just a list, no pens or paper in sight that night.

So here's the scoop, with the approximate amounts I used for 4.1 pounds of pork loin* in parenthesis. I had to cut the loin in two to marinate it in gallon-sized plastic bags.

Mike's ultimate pork marinade

red wine (I used one of those airplane-sized bottles, which I think is 5 ounces)

garlic (3 cloves, crushed)

soy sauce (1/4 cup)

dried onion (I used flakes, about 2 tablespoons)

cinnamon (1 teaspoon)

brown sugar (2 tablespoons -- I like things sweet, in case you hadn't noticed)

Whisk together all above ingredients.

1.) Trim roast of fat. Marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Overnight is best, I think.

2.) Rinse and pat dry before starting cooking process.

3.) Brown the roast on all sides in a pan in hot oil, briefly, before putting in a 325-degree oven on a rack, fat side up.
Cooking time will vary according to how much meat there is. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board before carving.

*A 4.1-pound single boneless pork loin took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to roast.

A last note: I've had not-so-great luck cooking pork in slow cookers, in terms of how dry it gets, regardless of whether I add water or not. I think roasting is the way to go. Although browning the meat in hot oil in a skillet made me reconsider how much I need a splatter guard -- I vowed to get one, soon -- it really sealed in the juices meat during cooking time. This turned out moist and delicious.

It also would be excellent served cold and thinly sliced for sandwiches. It would actually be beyond excellent, but I can't think of a word for that.

A few side dishes I recommend:

Need an idea for leftovers? Try this salad with pork and apples.

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