Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coke-Brined Pork Loin

My apologies. I meant to take a picture of the coke-brined pork loin as it came off the grill, but it was a crazy night, the girls were hungry, and I was running late. Instead, you get to see the sliced leftover pork loin on the sandwich I had for lunch the next day. At least you now have an idea for how to use the leftovers.

As we all know, America’s pork producers (the big bad guys), in an effort to “make pork healthy” and lean like chicken, have bred most of the delicious fat and marbling out of modern pigs. And outside of the few farmers raising heritage breeds, it’s hard to find pork that isn’t so lean that it dries out by the time it hits 145 degrees.

Your options, if you want pork that doesn’t have the consistency of an old shoe, are to either slow cook a fatty cut (think ribs or shoulder) or use a brine. Whenever I cook pork chops or pork loins, I always brine. One of my favorites is Coca-Cola brine. I found the recipe in some random free magazine that came to our house a few years ago. It’s pretty simple. You take a 2-liter bottle of cola, ½ cup of salt, and some pepper or other spices* and soak the pork in it for 8-24 hours.

Instructions
  • Pre-heat the grill to medium
  • Remove the pork from the brine, rinse it, and pat it dry
  • Place it on the grill, cook for five minutes and flip it over
  • Cook for five more minutes, and then reduce the heat to low
  • Cook until it hits 135 to 140 degrees internally and then remove and cover loosely with foil
  • Carry over heat will bring it to 145 degrees
  • Let it rest for about five minutes and then slice and serve.
If you want to add a little smoke flavor, soak some wood chips and place them in a smoker box (or directly on the charcoal if you aren’t using a gas grill) just before you put the pork on the grill.

This brine works great with chicken as well.

*A little Old Bay works great in this recipe. But since Old Bay is mostly salt, cup back on the ½ cup of salt so that the salt and Old Bay together equal ½ cup. Any BBQ rub should work here as well. I’ve been known to add a few dashes of Angostura Bitters. Experiment. You can’t screw up that badly.

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