Brined Rack of Pork
Tender and juicy brined rack of pork makes a beautiful presentation on a holiday dinner table.
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We cook a lot of pork in our house, but I had never cooked a rack of pork. I actually couldn’t recall ever even seeing it in the store. Then I discovered that the rack of pork is not sold year-round. It’s only in stores now through mid-January – during the holiday season.
I have to be honest when I was asked by great people at the Pork Board come up with a recipe using a rack of pork I was a bit intimidated. But after doing a little research and help from some friends, I actually discovered it was pretty easy and certainly would make a great impression on a holiday dinner table or special occasion.
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Have you ever brined meat? If you haven’t, you don’t know what juicy and tender is all about! We like to grill most of our meat, but pork has a tenancy to dry out if not cooked properly. So I decided this roast would be the perfect candidate to brine! It does require a little more planning than grilling so be sure to read over all of the directions before jumping in! Plan on at least 12 hours for brining overnight, with 24 hours being optimal, but not a must. Trust me, it’s easy and so worth the time!
What is brining?
Brining is similar to marinating, in the fact that they both soak in a liquid for a period of time. But unlike marinate, brining actually hydrates the meat. Resulting in extra tender juicy meat.
The most important ingredient is salt, along with water and sugar, after that you can add any herbs/flavorings to your liking. You will also need a vessel large enough for your meat and enough liquid to fully cover the meat. I don’t have a pot that large, and I love the 2.5-gallon zipper bags, one of them worked perfectly!
First, you want to bring your salt, water, sugar, and herbs to a boil (recipe below). Then cool completely.
Hint: My recipe calls for water and apple cider. I only boiled the water with the seasonings, then added cold apple cider to help cool it down quicker
Next, place cooled brine and roast in a large pot or Hefty bag (make sure it’s large enough to cover the meat with brine)
place brine and meat in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours. (I did mine for 18 hours)
Now that you have brined your pork you’re ready to cook it – I chose to cook it on our gas grill because I love cooking on our Weber grill all year long.
Remove meat from brine and pat dry with a paper towel
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large saute pan over high heat. Season roast with seasoned salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Braise both sides until golden brown, about 5- 6 minutes.
Place roast on preheated grill over indirect medium heat and continuing cooking to an internal temperature of 145° on an instant-read thermometer (mine took about an hour for a 5-pound roast) *Note: I should have covered the bones with foil so they wouldn’t turn black, but I forgot. It’s not necessary to do, but if the black bones bother you, then just wrap a little foil around each tip
Remove from grill and let rest, loosely tented with foil for about 10 minutes.
Cut pork into chops to serve and enjoy!
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- 4 cups water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 whole branch fresh Rosemary
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1/2 gallon apple cider
- 5 pound rack of pork
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper to taste
- Bring water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, rosemary, and cloves to a simmer in a large stockpot and cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add cold apple cider. Let sit until brine is room temperature.
- Submerge the roast in the brine (in a pot with a lid or in a large 2.5-gallon zipper bag).
- Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours (but no more).
- Remove meat from brine and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large saute pan over high heat. Season roast with seasoned salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Braise both sides until golden brown, about 5- 6 minutes.
- Place roast on preheated grill over indirect medium heat and continuing cooking to an internal temperature of 145° on an instant-read thermometer (mine took about one hour for a 5-pound roast) *Note: I should have covered the bones with foil so they wouldn't turn black, but I forgot. It's not necessary to do, but if the black bones bother you, then just wrap a little foil around each tip. Remove from grill and let rest, loosely tented with foil for about 10 minutes.