Pork has not always shown me the same respect I have always tried to afford to it.
For all the careful attentions I have given various pork cuts, the pig has repaid me with rejection. Not outright, as even bad pork is better eating than your average not-pork, but a subtle and infuriating version that kept any pork dishes from being anything better than average. And I believe most people would agree that mediocrity is a uniquely disturbing purgatory in cooking.
But this isn’t a sad story. The good guys win. The hero, a crown roast in this case, swings in to save the day. Hang in there.
Over the years I had learned about brining, the miracle of orange juice and the divine, slow-cooked gift we have decided to call a pork “butt,” but all I have really desired is to have some pork that tastes delicious without the added crutches.
For years I did the foolish thing and blamed myself. It turned out to be surprisingly insignificant that I was not that good in the kitchen. All I really needed was a decent piece of hog. This was where our Kurobuta (Berkshire) Pork came in.
This Berkshire breed is incredibly marbled, more crimson than other breeds and comes with a reputation for being better at pork than other pork.
The crown roast, which is made from the Prime Rib of Pork cut, is tied together in a circle and the frenched bones that stick up resemble a monarch’s crown. I got the version already trimmed and tied by Snake River Farms.
I mixed and matched recipes to come up with the final creation: The crown roast with a bourbon apple pecan glaze (from the Grilling Network) stuffed with roasted basalmic onion potatoes.
The key to this recipe is slow roasting the crown roast and adding the potatoes later to the roasting pan underneath your pork. This doesn’t mean you cook it until its fork tender like a pork shoulder, it just means you want to cook it on about 225-250 heat until it gets to about 135 degrees (it will cook another 5 degrees after you pull it out and let it sit for a bit in foil). You can hurry if you want, but the rest of us are judging you.
Here’s how it turned out:
Goodbye mediocrity. We invited guests for this meal, who claimed this was the best pork they had ever eaten in their lives. That was nice of them. They will be invited back.
The roast was incredibly juicy and flamboyant in its natural flavor. The glaze was absurdly good, but rendered unnecessary. The potatoes complemented pleasantly.
This, finally, was a little respect.
For the Crown Roast and Glaze
1 Snake River Farms Crown Roast
Pork Dry Rub
2 Cups Bourbon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1-3 small apples, Chopped
1 apple juice frozen concentrate (12 oz)
1 cup pecans, chopped
For the potatoes
3-4 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 large red onions
4 Tbsp butter
1.5 cups balsamic vinegar
8 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
For the pork and potatoes
Get the Crown Roast out about 2 hours before you plan to start roasting it. Season liberally with your favorite pork rub and place it in a wire rack in a roasting pan.
Pre-Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the roast, rack and roasting pan in the oven and expect a cook time of about 3 hours - but this can vary by up to an hour in either direction, so start checking the meat temperature after 2.
Slice the onions thinly and combine with the potatoes, which should be cut in half lengthwise. Hold onto this mixture until the roast reaches about 120 degrees internally. Remove the roast from the oven. Pour a half cup of the bourbon apple pecan mixture inside and around the crown area of the roast.
Add the potato and onion mixture in the roast pan and combine with the balsalmic vinegar. Once tossed together, add the rosemary, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if you are not morally opposed to spicing things correctly). Place the roast and potatoes back in the oven.
(At this point you can foil the exposed bones if you wish, which will prevent blackening them. This is only a presentation issue and you can ignore it if you feel the need. We did.)
When the roast reaches 135 degrees, remove it from the oven. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and place the potatoes back inside for another 30 minutes of cook time. Wrap the roast in aluminum foil.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and wrap the roasting pan in foil. Turn oven on broil and insert the roast. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until the outside begins to form a crust. Remove and serve immediately with the potatoes inside and around the crown formation.
For the Glaze
Add two cups of bourbon to a sauce pan and cook on medium high. Stir in chopped apples and let cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
Add the apple juice concentrate, brown sugar, mustard, maple syrup and continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.
Add chopped pecans and stir, allowing to cook for another 1-2 minutes. Then Remove from heat and store.
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