I’m always looking for great items to cook on the grill and lately I’ve been cooking one of my favorite summer meats: pork! With the Fourth of July coming up, it’s always good to be prepared to feed a large crowd, and this pork loin recipe is not only delicious, but also great for the grill! Plus, it’s great as leftovers (if there are any)!
Summer is usually a great time to buy pork as it is competitive in pricing and very abundant. For this recipe, I’m going to suggest you try a boneless pork loin. I hear a lot of complaints about the dry texture of pork, especially after it’s grilled, so I’m going to let you in on a little tip: Marinate the pork with a simple marinade before grilling it to help retain moisture and tenderness. Key ingredients to a wet marinade include: an acid (citrus, vinegar and wine all work well), an oil (olive and avocado oils work great), sugar and herbs/spices for flavor. The idea is that the acid in the citrus or vinegars help break down the proteins in the tissue while the oil and seasonings infuse the meat with flavor while absorbing moisture. These ingredients and the time put into it will reward you with tender and flavorful meat.
The marinade I am going to suggest is mostly used just to introduce moisture into the meat, while only adding light flavors. With this simple base marinade, you can add your own seasonings to customize it to any flavor you’d like! By letting the meat sit in this simple marinade, the finished product will be more tender and juicier, especially when using a longer cooking process like smoking, or grilling.
First, find a large enough container that will allow the meat to be fully immersed into the marinade. Zip top bags work well also if you have a small enough piece of meat. Do not use metal; it might react to the marinade and give it a metal taste. A good rule of thumb is a ¼- to ½-cup marinade per pound of meat. This recipe is for use with smaller items like a 2-pound roast, tenderloin or chops, so multiply it for larger portions.
Simple Pork Marinade:
2 cups water
½ cup Avocado oil (others will work fine)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon salt
This is as simple as it gets. It gets the moisture from the oil, flavor from the salt, and tenderness from the acid. This marinade does not change the flavor of the pork, however, if you want to add a flavor profile, I have some suggestions. The acid, sugar and salt can all be found in flavorful ingredients. For the acid you can use fruit juices, lemon, orange, lime, or even alcohol. Wine and tequila are popular, or you might even try Kahlua. You can substitute the sugar with brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or fruit juices (two-in-one acid and sugar). As for the salt alternatives, try soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion salt or meat broths. Of course, you might also add whatever dry herbs and spices to get the flavor you are looking for.
Here’s a chart to help with the amount of time for marinating.
For today’s recipe I am going to use:
2-3 lb. pork loin roast
Suggested marinade above
Dry barbecue rub
Barbecue sauce (I like my raspberry chipotle sauce or bourbon sauce with pork)
Prepare marinade as described above, soak for 2-3 hours refrigerated. Remove from the marinade and coat the entire exterior with your favorite dry rub. Then it’s off to the grill! You can use any kind of grill, gas, charcoal or pellet smoker, but controlled heat is important. Charcoal can be the most difficult to control evenly and for a longer time, so less direct heat is better. The best cooking temperature is between 225 and 235 degrees on the grill. This will take approximately 3 hours to cook the pork to an internal temp of 155 degrees. One half hour before you remove it from the grill baste the roast with your preferred barbecue sauce 3 or 4 times in intervals of 5 to 8 minutes, letting it bake on each time before reapplying. Once it reaches 155 degrees on the inside, remove from the heat and let rest for a few minutes. The resting period will bring the final internal temp to 160, which is finished.
This pork roast is a labor of love, and your patience will be rewarded. Enjoy!
David Theiss is the owner of Butler Gourmet Meats serving Carson City and Northern Nevada for more than 46 years.