French Cut Berkshire Pork Loin
I realize that title is a mouthful, but so was the roast. Berkshire pork is amazing and I had to come up with a recipe that stood up to the magnificence of this glorious piece of meat. If you can’t find Berkshire or or bone in, it’s fine to go with a regular pork loin.
Despite the fact that Berkshire pork is known for it’s juiciness, I decided to add some more by brining it.
1 qt apple juice
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup minced garlic
20 turns of fresh cracked black pepper
6 bone, french cut, bone in, Berkshire pork loin (about 2.4 lbs)
Combine the first four ingredients in a resealable plastic bag, sloshing around around until the salt is dissolved. Put the Berkshire pork loin in the bag once the salt is dissolved and put in the fridge a minimum of 2 hours to overnight. I brined mine overnight:
Why brine? Putting meat in a salt water solution will cause the liquid from the salt solution to push into the meat making it juicier. The salt water solution will start breaking down connective tissues making it more tender. And since we aren’t using water, but apple juice and garlic and pepper, that fluid that goes into the meat will flavorize it making it more flavorful. Juicier, more tender and more flavorful? Seems like what we all want our final dishes to come out like. And considering how narrow the window is between pork loin being perfectly done and shoe leather, brining this cut is a natural. It will allow the pitmaster a bigger window to make sure this cut comes out perfect.
The following day, take the Berkshire bone in pork loin from the brine and rinse it off:
Garlic Studded, Herb Crusted, Bone In, Berkshire Pork Loin Ingredients:
1 garlic clove cut into thin slivers
1 brined, Berkshire pork loin (brining and bones optional. This one was about 2.4 lbs)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1.5 tbsp fresh shallots, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch of salt and black pepper
Yield: 4 servings
If using dried herbs, cut the amounts in half. Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor.
Slice a clove of garlic into thin slivers:
Then, with a slender, sharp knife make slits in the side of the meat:
Before you take the knife out, slide a sliver of garlic down the side of the blade:
Then pull the knife free, leaving the garlic in the pork:
Repeat the process across the meat every couple of inches:
Then mince the garlic and ginger, making sure to skin the ginger before mincing it:
And when doing the herbs, make sure to remove the rosemary and thyme leaves from the stem by grabbing the thin tip and slid your fingers toward the base of the stem, stripping the leaves clean before finely chopping.
Combine all the ingredients but the pork loin and mix together thoroughly. You could use a food processor. I used a knife and a whisk, but I would expect better results if the ingredients were all emulsified together and save a ton of time:
Put the Berkshire pork in a resealable bag and pour the herb marinade over it and place in the fridge for 2 hours to overnight. I did it for about 3 hours. Yes, I brined and marinated. That’s perfectly okay:
After three hours, I pulled it from the marinade, trying to make sure to keep as much of it on the pork loin as possible and hit it with a coating of coarse salt:
I prepared my Char-Griller Akorm Kamado style grill for indirect grilling with the place setter in the middle to deflect heat away from the meat:
And then I put a drip pan over the place setter to act as a heat sink as well as to keep the chamber moisturized:
If you don’t have a Kamado style grill, simply put the coals on one side and the drip pan on the other and put the meat over the drip pan. Speaking of that, the grill is sitting at 300 degrees and I have a chunk of peach wood on the coals. Time to put the meat on:
After 1 hour, the Berkshire pork loin looks like this:
And here it is, still at 1 hour, from an angle:
At the 95 minutes of grilling, the internal temperature of the Berkshire pork reached 145 degrees and looked like this:
Cooking time will be determined by the weight of the meat and the temperature of your grill so rely on an internal probe thermometer. When the internal temp hits 135-145, pull it from the grill and let it rest. The meat will continue to cook while it rests, rising a few degrees.
Time to take the Berkshire pork off the grill and let it rest:
Why let it rest and for how long? When meat comes off the grill, the juices are in an excited state due to the heat. If you slice it right away then the juices will come rushing out. Letting the meat rest will allow the juices to calm down and redistribute throughout the cut of meat making sure every bite is juicy and delicious. And how long depends on the size of the meat. a steak should be rested for a couple minutes. For a bone in roast this big, rest for 10-15 minutes.
Now it’s time to slice that amazing french cut Berkshire pork loin, garlic studded and crusted with herbs:
Two things to notice in the above picture. 1) In the lower left, the juiciness of the meat of the outside piece that should be the driest. 2) In the middle, the garlic slice that I was lucky enough to slice through when I cut the pork loin showing what the garlic studded meat looks like after it’s cooked.
Here’s another picture where I want to show you what only 90 minutes in a smoker can do in terms of a smoke ring. Again, look at the lower left:
One suggestion if you come across a bone in pork loin like this. Ask the meat cutter to cut the spine out. I did not and made it a bear to slice and thus I couldn’t take one of those gorgeous shots of a meat lollipop because the side closest to the spine got a bit mangled:
Besides, at more than $10/pound, don’t pay for the spine. It’s already a bone in pork loin, no need for the spine.
To summarize this recipe, I have to comment on the smell. When the pork loin was on the grill, the sweet smell of the peach wood plus the scent of the savory garlic, shallots, herbs and ginger cooking was mesmerizing. And then the meal itself with it’s garlic goodness inside and out as well as sultry herbs that crust the outside make this a recipe worthwhile whether Berkshire, bone in or bone out.
If you have any questions about the above dish please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.
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- 1 qt apple juice
- ¼ cup salt
- ½ cup minced garlic
- 20 turns of fresh cracked black pepper
- 6 bone, french cut, bone in, Berkshire pork loin (about 2.4 lbs)
- 1 garlic clove cut into thin slivers
- 1 brined, Berkshire pork loin (brining and bones optional. This one was about 2.4 lbs)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1.5 tbsp fresh shallots, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- pinch of salt and black pepper
- Combine the first four ingredients in a resealable plastic bag, sloshing around around until the salt is dissolved
- Put the Berkshire pork loin in the bag once the salt is dissolved and put in the fridge a minimum of 2 hours to overnight
- Before grilling take the Berkshire pork loin from the brine and rinse it off
- With a slender, sharp knife make slits in the side of the meat and insert the slivers of garlic into the slits
- Combine the ginger, minced garlic, shallots, thyme, sage, rosemary, and olive oil and blend together
- Place the pork loin in a resealable plastic bag and pour the oil and herbs over the top and refrigerate 2 to 12 hours
- When removing the pork from the bag, try not to scrape any of the oil herb concoction off
- Hit the pork with the salt and black pepper
- Prepare the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
- Place a grill pan on the side with no coals and fill with water
- Target temperature of the grill is 300 degrees
- Place the pork loin on the side with no coals/over the grill pan
- Remove the pork from the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees (about 95 minutes depending on the heat of the grill and size of the loin) and let it rest for 10 minutes
- Slice between the bones and serve