Herb & Spice Rubbed Pork Loin

I tried a new spice rub tonight. I combined a few flavors I like, but honestly was taking a risk — I had no idea if they’d be good together. This is another example of me trying to be healthier – making my own seasonings instead of using store-bought, pre-packaged options with lots of preservatives.

Well, it was worth the risk!! The crust on the pork was a little sweet, a little spicy, a little salty. The pork was perfectly tender and juicy. Just look…

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The only thing I might change next time is to stud it with garlic cloves. Because, Yum! You can’t really go wrong with garlic.

Here’s the recipe for the rub:
2 Tblspn Ground coffee
2 Tblspn Brown Sugar
1 3/4 Tblspn Kosher Salt
1 Heaping Tblspn Thyme
1 Tblspn Oregano
3/4 Tblspn Garlic Powder
1/2 Tblspn Crushed Red Pepper
15 Turns of the grinder of Fresh Ground Black Pepper

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Combine in a bowl and whisk to mix

The pork loin I bought was just under 4 lbs. There was some rub left, so if you have a smaller loin, I’d half the recipe.

To prepare the pork, first pat dry with paper towels. Then, if you like, trim some fat off using a sharp knife.

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Fat adds flavor and keeps it tender, so don’t remove ALL of it.

Then begin to add the rub. I like to kind of pour it out of the bowl first…

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Then I use a large pastry brush to spread it and cover the entire surface of the pork, starting in the middle and working out to each side. Then flip it over onto or into your baking dish so the fat side is down (I used a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, but I’ve also used a glass dish). Repeat the rub process on the other side.

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After the flip, before applying the rub.

Make sure you cover all the sides as well.

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Completely rubbed pork

I let mine sit for 45 minutes or so in the fridge and then put it in an oven preheated to 350°. Bake for an hour, and then let rest for 10 minutes.

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Look at those yummy juices!

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Sliced, juicy, and tender after letting it rest

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Delicious rub! So much flavor

I’ll definitely be making this again. I served it with applesauce and steamed spinach. Nearly everyone had seconds, and I’ll use what is leftover for my Minezole soup tomorrow!

Happy Cooking!!

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Spring Pork Loin with Citrus Garlic Ginger Crust and Apple Onion ‘Salsa’

You know what’s great about trying new cuisine or ingredients? You can try them in new ways – or, I suppose, OLD ways with a new twist.

Are you confused? Sorry. Let me explain in detail:
This week I attempted Indian food for the first time – Tandoori Salmon. It was actually AMAZING. I bought fresh ginger for the recipe. I’ve used ginger before, but not very often. The combination of the extra ginger sitting there and the marinade I made for the salmon gave me an idea. I scrapped the recipe I was going to try for my Thursday meal and made up my own instead!

And now I’ll share it with you! I’m calling it “Spring Pork Loin” because I suppose I’m wishful thinking. It is mid-March after all, and the weather has topped 50º more than once this week! (But then again, in Chicago that means nothing. Reluctant prediction: we will get another snow storm in April.)

Pay attention to the captions on the photos – they include instructions!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Not pictured: 1 orange, cinnamon, soy sauce

Not pictured: cinnamon, soy sauce, 1 orange

I started with a 4 lb. pork loin which I patted dry with paper towels. Next I made the marinade, which also serves as our liquid for the crock pot.

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup soy sauce

Enough red wine to come to almost 3/4 cup - then add the juice of one orange

Enough red wine to come to almost 3/4 cup – then add the juice of half an orange

Now brush that marinade onto the pork.

I always use a pastry brush. I've never used it for pastry. ;)

I always use a pastry brush – which I’ve actually never used for pastry. 😉

I let that sit while I made the “crust”:

Start with about a 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

Start with about a 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

Add 1 Tblspn diced garlic and the zest from your orange

Add 1 Tblspn diced garlic and the zest from your orange

Stir in the Dijon mustard, then brush that ‘crust’ onto the pork:
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Be sure to get all sides and cover thoroughly. (More crust = more flavor!)

Put that baby in the crock pot!

Put that baby in the crock pot! (Fat side down)

Pour the remaining marinade into the pot. Just be careful not to wash away the crust. I poured mine in that little space you see above the pork.

Make the apple onion salsa by slicing an apple (I used Gala and a quarter of a Golden Delicious we had in the fridge. You see, I really do save and use everything. – almost -) and putting it in a bowl. Cut up half of a white onion by slicing vertically through the bulb 3 times, cutting in half crosswise, and then cutting a few times crosswise again to get big chunks. Put in bowl with apple. Add the applesauce, orange juice, and cinnamon, and toss.
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Now (gently) dump that ‘salsa’ on top of the pork! (I’m calling it a salsa because it’s the only word that comes close to a chunky kind of sauce. It’s not a slaw. It’s not a chutney. So it’s a salsa!)
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Cover any bit of the pork that is showing by moving the chunks around.

Now put on the lid and cook for 8 – 9 hours on LOW. I originally cooked mine for 8 on low, but had to cook it for an additional 30 mins on HIGH because it wasn’t as tender as I wanted.
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Here’s the finished product, ready to eat!
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Look at how caramelized the apples and onions were. They not only got soft but also soaked up the juice. The ginger and orange juice are bright against the deep, traditional ‘au jus’ flavors of the marinade, which is further balanced by the sweet apples. And the crust just melted right into the pork. So, maybe it was more of a ‘rub’ than a ‘crust’, since a crust implies crunchy, and crunchy it was not. It did however impart that nice spring flavor and extra layer of texture. All the pork has this great ginger scent. It’s just a hint, not too spicy or overwhelming. The meat was falling apart into shreds – just perfect to make a Second Meal of pork tacos or pork sandwiches!
I served it with a slightly modified version of these 
roasted sweet potatoes (yes, I jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon!).

If you’re craving spring, give this a try and let me know what you think!

Ingredient List:
1 4lb Pork Loin
Marinade:
1/8 C soy sauce
–up to 3/4C red wine
Juice from 1 orange
Crust:
2 Tblspn Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 Tblspn diced garlic
Zest from 1 orange
Apple Salsa:
1 Apple, sliced
Half large white onion, chopped
1/3 C Applesauce
Juice from 1/2 an orange
Few dashes of cinnamon (I used 5)