Sunday, August 30, 2009
Raspberry Chipotle Marinated Spiral Stuffed Pork Loin with a Bacon Lattice
Raspberry Chipotle Marinated Spiral Stuffed Pork Loin with a Bacon Lattice...And oh yeah, a thin layer of provolone cheese is in the spiral too!
Wow, that's a long title, for a deceptively simple recipe. By my count, this is recipe #21 in my quest for a year's worth of original recipes...And, in all humility, it is one of my absolute tastiest, prettiest and spectacular recipes I have ever made. I know I have several people who follow my blog that either do not own a grill (poor souls), or grill only occasionally. I also know that most of the people following my blog do not own or have access to a smoker. I made this on my smoker; but I assure you that even without these creations of the gods (grills and smokers), you too can achieve this recipe. It is easily converted to a standard frill set up for indirect grilling or to a kitchen oven (low and slow, finishing off under the broiler). I am going to go through the recipe with details, but if anyone wants additional advice on how to cook this, feel free to comment or drop me an email at YearontheGrill@Yahoo.com.
There are going to be several photos for this recipe, and I will shrink them down to their smallest size. If you want details in the photos, please just double click over the photo of your choice, and the magic of the Internet will show you a much bigger photo...
OK, I want to explain a bit about why I like spiral cut meat so much. In the past, I have blogged about a...Recipe 11- Main Course - Spiral Stuffed Pork Loin, as well as Steven Raichlen's Tapenade Pork Loin and even a stuffed chop at Steven Raichlen's Grilled Pork Chops "Calzones" What these all have in common is a flavored taste accent hidden inside the main ingredient. By adding these hidden gems, you insure that each bite your guests receive not only the taste of the main ingredient, but also all the taste of the filling. In these cases, the whole is better than the individual tastes. Spread those tastes around, and your meal will be remembered. Also, of course the eye appeal of a spiral cut is a big addition. Shows you made effort, and didn't just open a can. So, I love spiral cuts and you will be seeing more of them.
First thing to do is to assemble your ingredients.
3 pound Pork Loin
1 pound Sausage (i planned to marinade with some spice, so a mild flavored Sausage is fine.
1 pound of bacon
1/4 pound very flavorful provolone cheese (add more if using a less sharp cheese)
For the marinade,
the juice from a thawed package of frozen Raspberries.
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
2 teaspoon Chipotle powder (a note about the chipolte spice... I have an excellent spice guy that sells fresh and very powerful Chipotle powder. Know your spice, if yours is not as strong (and believe me, there are plenty that are only fair as hot spice), use more. If you are afraid of spice, use less.
The inspiration for this came totally from my head, but also from a desire to show my new friends from Texas that Kansas City spiced grilled food can be just as flavorful as her superb tex-Mex (see yesterday's post for details about who I was cooking for). So actually, for this recipe, I put in 2 teaspoons of Chipotle spice. It was fabulous, but when i make this again, i will only use 1 teaspoon for more "normal" pallets.
I assembled the Marinade, combining all the ingredients, cooked over medium heat in a sauce pan until everything blended completely and the liquid reached a soft boil. Next, I soaked the pound of sausage in it. ALL of the liquid was absorbed in the sausage. I let this sit for a bit, while I spiral cut the loin.
It sounds somewhat complicated to spiral cut a loin, but with a bit of practice, anyone can do this. Make sure your knife is as sharp as possible. Put the knife hilt (the wooden part on the photo) flat on the cutting board, leaving that 1/2 inch gap between the knife blade and the board. Start slicing into the loin ... Much like pealing an apple, rolling that 1/2 inch of loin out as you go. Again, it might take a bit of effort, and your first time, go slow, but as with all things, it gets easier. Also, butcher's twine will hold it all together in the end, so if you make a mistake, just keep cutting... All will get filled in!
Once you have the loin laid out, start filling in with the cheese very finely cut thin (I use a potato peeler to get very thin slices). Get the loin layered with the cheese, then start on the sausage stuffing. This worked well, as the sausage was a little gooey from adding all the liquid, so it spread easily. But it was not so goopey that it just ran out. hard to explain, but I think with the photos you get the idea.
And from there, just start rolling gently up. It helps to pull the loin out as much as it goes, and roll gently without pushing. If you force the roll, all the goop will fall out. Once it is rolled, tie in three or four places with some butcher twine. I am lucky to have found some rubber bands specially designed for smokers and grillers. they work just fine, are reuseable and dishwasher safe. I got them at a BBQ specialty store, and if you make a lot of spiral cuts, they are GREAT!
Alright, time to work on the lattice of bacon! VERY pretty and will get ooooh and aaahs from everyone. VERY VERY VERY easy, once you know the trick (all but impossible without this trick...
Lay out six strips of bacon with about half the width of one slice in between the next, as shown. Then lift the second, fourth and sixth pieces out of the frame. Lay a single piece of bacon across the top, starting on the first piece (from right to left), and stretched to where the sixth piece was. Put the 2nd, 3rd and 6th pieces back where they were, the ends now being above where you laid the top piece (and the 1st, 3rd and 5th pieces below).
Now, Lift the 1st, 3rd and 5th pieces up, but not where that top piece has just been laid down. Repeat the process of laying a second piece of bacon down, and putting the 1st, 3rd and 5th pieces back where they were. the second piece is same as the first, with half over and half under. Like weaving on a loom, just with bacon! Continue, repeating alternate weaves like this till you have the lattice assembled... Now is the tough part...
There is no way to lift this assemblage and still keep it together to put it on the top of the loin. Instead, you are going to roll the loin over the bacon and pick it up as you go. OK, the loin has a layer of fat on the bottom that you do not want to cover with bacon. So, place the loin on top pf the lattice, fat side up. Then take toothpicks and attach the side of the lattice to the loin (enlarge the photo to the left, and you can see what I mean). Then simply roll the loin until the fat side is on the bottom, and the lattice has been picked up and lays across the top.
And viola... I nearly peed my pants it was so pretty! Tuck all the edges in, and it makes that great looking bacon/pork football!
OK, I cooked this at 225 degrees in my smoker. The important thing is to reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees. It took 5 hours to get to temperature. I then wrapped in foil for about 2 hours to let the juices settle. Just before I cut this up, I did show off to all (and especially my visiting cook buddy). All were impressed...It is very pretty...
But most important of all... It tastes just as good as it looked The raspberry sweetness was there. The heat of the chipotle was there. The taste of the loin was there. And the crispness of the bacon edging provided a nice accent. This was the hit of the party.
10 people ate dinner that night, Let's do a little math...
I sliced this into 20 slices. I ate the two end cuts (my guests get the best pieces). We also served brisket, another pork loin (no stuffing, but a great BBQ glaze), chicken wings, baked beans, potato salad, BBQ cabbage and Meringue pies. Lots of food!
The Raspberry Chipotle spiral stuffed Sausage/Provolone Pork Loin (I need a shorter name) weighed probably 4 pounds total... all was gone! There was plenty of leftovers of all the rest.
It took extra effort... It was worth every bit of it! Maybe the best thing i have ever made.