The Professor’s (Pork) Loin

15 Jan

It’s not that I’ve not been cooking the past week or so. Rather, my cooks haven’t been very exciting – just our weeknight staples: boneless, skinless chicken breasts marinated in mojo, steaks from the freezer, that sort of thing – that aren’t particularly unique. My techniques aren’t anything to blog about, and I’ve been a little tired at the end of the day to write about the particular grill that got chosen for that night’s dinner. So, I’ve been a little lax on updating the blog lately.

This weekend, however, has provided ample blog fodder – this post, which follows the smoking of the Professor’s loin – pork loin that is – and one for later in the week that touches on what NOT to do in a couple of situations. But for now, let’s take a look at the Professor’s loin……..

Earlier in the week, I got a text from my brother (the Professor) telling me that the results of his annual physical was that his sugar was high and this triglycerides were not in whatever range they were supposed to be in. The doctor prescribed some meds, along with “diet and exercise.” Faced with the prospect of making certain lifestyle changes (mainly, watching what he eats and actually walking to his golf ball every day), the Professor did what Smith men always do when staring into the face of something unpleasant – he cooked pork! More precisely, he cooked a bacon-weave wrapped pork loin on his Big Green Egg.

Below is a (slightly edited) blow-by-blow of the process:

Professor (in response to my comment about his diet): What diet? Goin on the Egg at 1:00 p.m.:

Esq: I’d say that looks like a steady diet of PIG! Pull at 140 degrees. What’s your egg temp?

Professor: 250?

Esq: Sure. Anywhere from there to 325 should be good. :Pork Loin will cook pretty fast so don’t get too far from the Egg!

Professor: OK, will report in.

Professor: I gotta get a bigger egg!

Esq: My garage – got a medium for ya! The loan will shrink up a bit. At 250?

Professor: Almost. About 225. May have to pull off the indirect set up and heat her up.

Esq: Nah. A big chunk of mean will cool the cooker down for a while. Be patient and you may want to put some foil under the ends so they don’t cook too fast on the overhang.

Professor: Got some apple juice in a pan under the grate.

Professor: 230 and holding. Will leave alone.

Esq. (90 minutes after the loin went on the Egg): What’s your meat temperature?

Professor: 90.6

Esq: Time to relax with an adult beverage.

Professor: On my 2nd! Should I pull and wrap at 140?

Esq: Yep! Just cover loosely. Don’t wrap too tight. Rest 20 minutes. Will be a bit pink in the middle but still moist and tender.

Professor: OK. I figure 2 hours more.

Esq: Probably not that long. I figure 2.5 hours total; maybe 3. On at 1:00?

Professor: 1:45 before the temperature got right. Will check it at 4:00.

Professor (at 3:00): Meat at 105; Egg at 250. Like the Thermapen! (At 3:20): Meat 115; Egg 250.

Esq: Looking good! Looks like about the meat is going up about 5 degrees every 10 minutes; another 45 to 55 minutes sounds good.

Professor (at 4:10): Ends are at 140; middle at 132.

Esq: Getting close. I might foil the ends while the middle comes up to temp. Won’t be long now.

Professor (a few minutes later):

Bacon wrapped loinon the egg for 3 hours at 230 or so. PERFECT! Now, what to do with a hot Egg?

Esq: You could BBQ a chicken! Done? How did it taste?

Professor: Had a nice smoke ring; tasted smokey and was very tender.

Esq: Good! Did everybody like it?

Professor: YEP!

So there you go – a not so very exciting narrative about my brother’s pork loin! Actually, there is some good stuff in here. First, the pork loin is a large chunk of meat that has very little fat on it or running through it. It benefits mightily from a brine or the addition of some fat for the cooking process. The Professor’s bacon weave helped baste the pork loin during cooking and kept it from drying out. Second, pork loins don’t need “Low and Slow” cooking in the sense that a butt needs that treatment so the connective tissue can break down. Many people cook pork loins at a higher temperature – between 350 and 400. That’s fine, but as the Professor’s results attest, pork loins can do equally well with a lower and slower approach. Still, the time period will be relatively short (like the Professor’s three hour cook). Finally, a pork loin is a tasty treat for an afternoon cook and, as I suggested to the Professor today, the leftovers are wonderful on sandwiches. A quick mix of balsamic and mayo or some Tomato Chutney with a couple slices of pork loin on a soft, toasted bun is a wonderful meal any time of the day. A nice slice of pork loin, with some deli ham, pickles and mustard are the makings of a Cuban sandwich – one of my favorites!

So, not the most exhilarating post, but one that documented a fun afternoon and a wonderfully tasty meal!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: