Culinary Curious

Photo: Carl Tremblay

Grilled Pork Loin with Apple-Cranberry filling on a Gas Grill

Presented by America's Test Kitchen

NOTE: This recipe is best prepared with a loin that is 7 to 8 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide. To make cutting the pork easier, freeze it for 30 minutes. If mustard seeds are unavailable, stir an equal amount of whole-grain mustard into the filling after the apples have been processed. The pork loin can be stuffed and tied a day ahead of time, but don't season the exterior until you are ready to grill.

Serves 6

Why this recipe works

For a moist grilled pork loin recipe without traditional brines or sauces, the test kitchen used a moist stuffing to combat dryness from the inside out. Using a short, wide roast, they opened it into a flat sheet with only four straight, short cuts. Poaching fruit for the filling in a blend of cider, cider vinegar, and spices gave them the dense, chewy filling they were looking for, with a bonus - the poaching liquid could be reduced to a glaze, giving the roast a mahogany finish.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 large shallot, halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apples (packed), 4 ounces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (packed), 2 1/2 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pork Chops

  • 2 cups wood chips
  • 2 1/2 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast (see note above)
  • Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
  • Vegetable oil for cooking grate

Method

For the Filling

  1. Bring all ingredients to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until apples are very soft, about 20 minutes
  2. Push mixture through fine-mesh strainer to extract as much liquid as possible. Return liquid to saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes; reserve glaze.
  3. Meanwhile, pulse apple mixture in food processor until uniformly coarsely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer filling to bowl and refrigerate while preparing pork.

For the Pork

  1. Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Cut meat to even 1/2-inch thickness. Season inside liberally with salt and spread apple filling in even layer, leaving 1/2-inch border. Roll tightly and tie with twine at 1-inch intervals. Season exterior liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Drain chips and place in small disposable aluminum pan. About 20 minutes before grilling, place pan with chips on primary burner (burner that will remain on during cooking); position cooking grate over burners. Turn all burners to high and heat with lid down for 15 minutes. Scrape and oil grate. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s). Place roast, fat-side up, on side opposite primary burner.
  3. Grill-roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of roast registers 130 to 135 degrees, 55 to 70 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking time. Brush roast with half of reserved glaze; flip and brush with remaining glaze. (You may need to reheat glaze briefly to make spreadable.) Continue to cook until glaze is glossy and sticky, about 5 minutes longer.
  4. Transfer roast to cutting board, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes. (Internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees.) Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, removing twine as you cut. Serve immediately.