I love to stuff and roll all types of meat, but especially pork as it is very easy to over-cook and dry out. Pork is extremely lean so the addition of fat from the bacon gave the dish a good amount of moisture. This beautiful 3# Loin was super moist and flavorful. I think any variety of sweet apple would do well, but I used Honey Crisp, which have wonderful flavor and texture. They hold up well when cooked. The bourbon infused cherries added a sweetness and perfect contrast to the French grainy mustard and sharp flavor of garlic. By wrapping in bacon, you avoid having to tie, which is not a big deal, but the bacon holds the stuffed Pork together beautifully, as well as adding much needed fat.
I put the dish together in the morning and let it sit all day in the fridge. Take out about 1/2 hour before you begin grilling so the meat is at room temperature. I served the Pork with a mixture of grilled veg and an ooey-gooey-cheesy potato pancake.
Start by butterflying the Pork. This is much easier than you may think if you have not done it before.
Lay the Pork on a cutting board and with a sharp knife cut through the long side of the pork to create a “pocket” or “book” effect, one might even say “butterfly”, hence the name for this technique. Do not cut all the way through. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the pork and then spread on the mustard. My favorite brand is Maille, but any good quality grainy mustard would work.
Maille originated in Marseille, France in the mid 1700’s . It began as a small family owned business. Today it is a subsidiary of the multinational consumer goods company, Unilever, but the quality is still there.
Once you have slathered the pork with mustard, add the thinly sliced garlic. You want to cover one side of the entire interior with the mustard and garlic.
Next add sliced apples and top them with the sliced bourbon infused cherries. Gently roll the top of the butterfly over the filling and press to hold it all together. You may have to used your fingers to stuff apple or cherries back in as you roll the bacon around.
Now stretch or pull on each slice of bacon before wrapping around the Pork Loin. Lift the end of the Pork and start wrapping so the bottom of Pork has a solid run of bacon and the top is where the two ends meet. Tuck in the end of bacon once you have rolled around the Pork. This helps hold the bacon in place while you are grilling, plus it helps hold the Pork together. Generously top with fresh oregano, cover and keep in the fridge all day. Fresh oregano vs. dried oregano have very different flavors. The fresh is peppery with a floral taste, while the dried oregano is a bit milder and has a more pungent taste. Use the fresh for this recipe!
Grilled Pork Loin With Apples and Bourbon Infused Cherries All wrapped in Bacon
Moist and extremely flavorful. The apples and cherries are a perfect compliment to the mustard and garlic. Wrapping in bacon keeps the pork moist and gives it a slightly smokey flavor.
- 1 3 lb. Pork Loin
- 2 tsp. Coarse Salt You want enough salt to coat both sides liberally.
- 1 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Grainy Mustard Again you want a good coating over one side of the pork.
- 2 lge. Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Apple, thinly sliced. No need to peel.
- 3 Tbsp. Bourbon Infused Cherries, or more, sliced Enough to cover the apples.
- 1 Tbsp. Liquid from the cherries
- 9 slices Bacon Or enough to completely wrap Pork.
- 1/4 cup Fresh oregano, rough chopped
Butterfly the Pork Loin. Place on a cutting board and using your sharpest knife, slice through the long end of the pork without cutting all the way through so pork lies flat, like a book, but is still connected in the middle. I wonder why they don't call this technique "Booking" rather than "Butterflying"?
Liberally salt and pepper all sides.
Slather one side of the interior with grainy mustard and top with thinly sliced garlic.
Cover with sliced apples, slightly overlapping so there is no pork visible.
Top this with the sliced bourbon infused cherries and a drizzle of the cherry juice.
Close the "book" by gently folding over the stuffing. You may have to use your fingers to stuff the apples and cherries back in. Pat the pork loin firmly to hold all ingredients together.
Stretch the bacon and wrap the pork. Start at one end by lifting the pork and rolling the bacon around. The seam should end at the top of the pork, not the bottom. Tuck in the bacon ends, which helps keep the bacon in place while grilling and holds the loin together well.
Continue wrapping until pork is completely covered with bacon.
Top with the freshly chopped oregano, cover and set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to all day.
Take out the Pork Loin about 1/2 hour before grilling. Heat the grill to high (at least 350 degrees, although the thermostat on my gas grill is broken so I just use my hand to get a feel for how hot) and gently place the pork, while still on the foil, onto the grill. You want to char the pork enough to get grill-marks, but not burn it. The foil keeps it from burning, but still allows the grill marks. Turn the gas down slightly. Using tongs and a well covered heat resistant mitted hand, roll the pork off the foil and continue grilling until it is nicely browned on all sides, being careful not to pull off bacon. Because bacon is so fatty, watch closely so the flames do not flare up. Turn the heat down to low and let the pork grill, turning/rolling a few times, until an internal thermometer reads 135 to 140 degrees. The USDA recommends 145 degrees, but the pork continues to cook after you take it off the grill and that higher temperature is how you end up with dry pork. Let the pork rest about 10 minutes before carving into thick slices.
I don't remember how long it took to get the internal temp to 135, but using the thermometer is the safest way to know it is done.