Friday, January 3, 2014

Bone-In Rack of Pork Loin (Chops)

I love the Holidays!  I love the Holidays for lots of reasons but chief among them is the variety of new offerings we have at the meat counter!  Holidays mean family gatherings and parties which, in turn, seeds a demand for larger cuts of meat like whole hams, turkeys, prime rib roasts (OH, so goooood), and one of my favorites... bone-in pork loin!

Bone-in Pork Loin
Juicy Grilled Bone-In Pork Loin, in Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

This glorious piece of meat is the antithesis of tofu!  It represents everything that vegans, PETA members, and part-time vegetarians stand against!  Imagine a full rack of rib bones, with three different muscle groups clinging to them, slathered with a spicy dry-rub, slow smoked to tender juicy goodness and finished with a chipotle raspberry bbq sauce.  This is the sort of dish that you would commonly see, lavishly presented, on the manliest of medieval banquet tables... So, stop drooling, and let's get started!

You will need:
  • A whole bone-in rack of pork loin
  • Yellow Mustard
  • A generous amount of lump charcoal
  • Your favorite dry rub.  For this recipe, I like equal amounts of:
    • Homemade Chipotle Chili Powder
    • Brown Sugar
    • Kosher Salt
    • Black Pepper
    • Garlic Powder
    • Onion Powder
  • A bottle of Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Take your pork loin out of its package, drain the blood, rinse it in cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels.  Admire its beauty!  When it's done cooking, you'll cut it between the bones to present a single bone-in pork chop.  So, it's safe to assume that the number of bones will equal the number of portions.  I like a "Two-bone chop off the end," myself, so your portions may vary...

Slather the entire cut of meat in yellow mustard.  Get your hands all yellow and dirty, rubbing the mustard all over the place, then wash your hands and liberally apply your dry rub.  When your loin (the pig's loin, not your own, personal... nevermind), is all spiced and ready to go, let it rest on the counter while you build a fire.  Since you have an impressive cut of meat on the table, and since you're about to make fire, you might as well grab a manly adult beverage too, to complete the stereotypical imagery.  I suggest a rather hearty Winter Stout, or a single barrel Bourbon on the rocks.

When your fire is burning HOT and the coals have a nice gray ash over them, lay your pork loin across the coals (two minutes per side) and get a nice sear on the outside of the meat.  You can see in this picture that I took this opportunity to smoke some mushrooms, too.  Excellent choice!  Once you have a good sear, roll the loin off to the side of the coals, and close the lid to the grill.  What you want is an "oven" that reaches about 350 degrees, fueled by a wood fire.  The temperature probe that you have jammed into the center of the loin needs to come up to 140 degrees (You have a digital temperature probe, right?  We've been over this).  Laying the loin off to the side of the coals allows the smoke and heat to do their magic without the direct heat from coals having a chance to scorch or burn the outside of the meat.  I suppose you could do all of this in a 350 oven, in the comfort of your kitchen, but.... why?  So much more flavor outside.

Note; it was well below zero when I was grilling my rack of pork, so I was able to conveniently place my manly adult beverage into a lovely snow-koozy!  Nature provides....

When the internal temperature of the pork loin hits 140 degrees F, pull it off of the grill and cover it with foil, immediately.  Let it rest for ten minutes, then start slicing chops off of the loin, leaving the bones on for a convenient handle (should you opt to go all "Henry the VIII" style and shun your utensils).  There are several things to notice in this picture, delectable juices, white, as well as dark meat, the caramelized crust or "bark" on the outside, and the absence of yellow mustard (which glazed into a sticky awesome "glue" for the rub).  What more could you want?  Add a dollop of the bbq sauce and you're good to go!

My guests were a family of four from Texas who I consider "family."  My old buddy Andy and his beautiful wife Rayna, brought their two young boys, Kevin and Colby.  I like to think their boys took another step toward manhood that night, chomping their faces into some smoked meat goodness... I know Andy and I inhaled our fair share!


  1. It was DELICIOUS! A meal I will never forget.

  2. I would go for a side box for the roasting, roasting this cut of meat at 350 is a sin. 200-225 is good for a slow smoke, will be better and juicier. Also before you rub, brine. Honestly from the pictures, it looks dry.

    1. I have to disagree. This cut of meat is low on fat (comparatively) and VERY low on connective tissue. There's no reason at all to slow-cook it. I get requests for this all the time, and juice/tenderness level is ridiculous. My neighbor says, "it's like biting into a wet nerf ball"


Questions or comments? Did you love it or hate it?