The title of this recipe is a mouthful, I know, but with good reason. This dish delivers BIG flavors. And I’m happy to say that all the ingredients have come together nicely despite the fact that my thoughts and my spices were all over the place when I created it. If you’re in the mood for a smoky-sweet and succulent pork loin, this post is for you. And today is the perfect day for grilling something low and slow, even if it is a bit chilly outside.
This recipe is my best attempt at marrying two of my favorite pig combos: apple and pork and pork-on-pork. I generally rely on a stuffing to bring those flavors together, but to simplify matters I decided to blend the ingredients in a novel way. I basically laid the apple slices over the pork loin like I was dealing a deck of cards and wrapped everything up in bacon. What I ended up with was an incredibly tender and moist slab of pork. Just don’t get too excited about eating the bacon off of the roast, because by the time the pork is done cooking most of the bacon will be charred beyond recognition (hence the black marks depicted in my photo). That’s okay though. The bacon’s main purpose in this recipe is to continually baste the pork as it cooks and it will carry out its duties very effectively. The apple slices will also be unidentifiable by the time the meat thermometer reaches 150. After an hour or so on the grill, this sturdy fruit will be reduced to nothing more than a creamy, bacon-infused apple butter coating. If that’s not enough to get your taste buds singing, then drowning the whole thing in a Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze should be. It’s what food dreams are made of!
This is not a complex recipe, despite its name. And unlike many boneless pork recipes, this method creates lots of juicy leftovers. So check back here in a few days and I’ll share a great way to turn these Sunday supper leftovers into a quick and delicious weeknight meal.
Apple and Bacon Grilled Pork Loin with Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze Recipe
1 cup bourbon
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger puree*
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 3- to 5-pound boneless pork loin
6-8 slices bacon (depends on size of pork loin)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
FOR GLAZE: Place bourbon and brown sugar in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add ginger, cinnamon, chile flakes and cayenne; simmer until sauce has thickened to a syrupy consistency, about 15 minutes. Whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time. When the butter has melted, remove pan from heat; add salt. Glaze can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup.
FOR PORK LOIN: Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium heat. Remove excess fat from pork roast and pat dry. Season roast on both sides with Creole seasoning, salt and pepper; set aside. Place a long sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper on work surface. Line bacon slices vertically on parchment paper, about 1/4-inch apart. Place half of the apple slices in a single row across the center of the bacon slices. Place pork roast on top of the apple slices. Put the rest of the apple slices on the top of the pork roast. Grab each end of a bacon slice and tightly wrap it around the pork roast; secure with kitchen twine. Place pork on cooler side of grill, cover and cook until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F, about 18-20 minutes per pound. There is no need to turn the roast during grilling time. During last 10 minutes of cooking, baste roast with Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze. Transfer to a carving board, tent loosely with foil and let rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with extra glaze. Makes 6-8 servings.
*Ginger puree comes in a convenient tube that can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores (and it will keep for months in the fridge, unlike fresh ginger).