I cook for a big crowd of people at least once a week — sometimes twice. And lately I have been relying on the grill, since it doesn't heat up the kitchen. But sometimes I get a little tired of grilling individual pieces of chicken, or individual burgers that have to watched and tended. It's nice to have some bigger, simpler options. This pork loin is one of those: Slap it on the grill, walk away, come back, feed a crowd.
Well, that is a little deceptive. You do need to keep an eye on this pork loin, and it should be flipped and moved from time to time while cooking. But it's still very hands-off, compared to a lot of grilled recipes, and it is just a simple way to use the grill to feed a lot of people.
It's also a great way to cook a bunch of meat for freezing or eating throughout the week. A slice of grilled pork loin is delicious on top of a bowl of brown rice, or in a sandwich with onion jam.
This is a very basic recipe and method for grilling pork loin; I only specify salt and and pepper in the recipe below. But you can make pastes and rubs of garlic, herbs, sugar, spices, and other ingredients to amp up the flavor. Do you have any favorite rubs or flavorings for grilled or roasted pork loin?
Grilled Pork Loin
Serves 8 to 12
4 to 5 pound pork loin, fat still attached
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a grill to high. Wash the pork loin and pat dry. Rub it generously with salt and fresh pepper.
Grill the pork loin for a few minutes on high, or until dark grill marks appear on all sides of the pork. Let it get nice and blackened in a few places, for flavor.
Turn the grill down to the lowest heat, or move the pork loin to a spot where will only receive indirect heat. You want the grill to about 300 to 350°F. Cover the grill, and let the pork loin cook for about an hour. Check it after 30 minutes, inserting a probe thermometer to check the temperature.
When the pork hits 150°F*, take it off the grill. Let it rest about 15 minutes, tented with foil. (The temperature inside will rise as it rests.) Slice and serve.
Some people feel just fine taking pork off around 140° or even lower. The USDA health recommendations say that pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. You can adjust this temperature to your own tastes and comfort level, especially if you know the pork is fresh and from a reliable source.
(Images: Faith Durand)