A Family Man’s Guide to Cooking & Grilling: Grilled Pork Loin

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It’s Sunday afternoon, and you want something quick and easy.  A pork loin or tenderloin is the perfect thing to put on your grill, and can be accompanied by a variety of sides (I prefer grilled vegetables—see my other article about grilling vegetables).  I read about the Williams-Sonoma chili-lime rub & found the recipe (www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/chili-lime-pork-loin.htm).  Below is a slightly different version of the Williams-Sonoma recipe, which made the cooking time go down & was outstanding.  By using this recipe, I was able to get a 9 pound pork loin out in under an hour and a half.

1.  Choosing the pork loin.  You can use either pork loin or pork tenderloin, depending on how large your family is.  You should figure on ½ pound for each family member (although smaller children will probably eat ¼ pound to 1/3 pound).  As previously mentioned, I used a 9 pound pork loin, and it tasted just as good as many of the 3-4 pound tenderloins I’ve had. 

2.  Rub.  I used the Williams-Sonoma chili-lime rub, which I think is spectacular, but you can use any of their products or make your own.  I made a wet rub by combining this with the vegetable oil, as suggested in the recipe.

3.  Grill.  Prepare the grill by turning it as high as possible.  You’ll want to eventually lower the temp for grilling, but right now, you want it hot for searing purposes.

4.  Preparing the pork loin.  My wife’s cousin, who is a chef, showed me a trick that worked better than merely butterflying the loin.  A traditional butterfly involves cutting the loin down the middle, approximately 2/3 of the way through, and opening it like a book.  However, he showed me that once the loin is butterflied, you can repeat the process on each side a couple of times (cutting each side a little & opening it out).  If done correctly, the loin looks less like a book and more like a magazine fold out.  This allows the pork loin to hold more of the rub, and is the key to reducing the cooking time.  Once the pork loin is rolled out in this manner, we applied the rub to all surfaces, outside and inside.  Tightly roll the loin and use butcher’s string to tie it together.  My wife’s cousin showed me a very professional manner in which chefs use one long piece of butcher’s string to tightly tie the loins together.  However, it’s too complicated to go into detail here.  If you are not familiar with this method, I suggest you cut several pieces, and tie the loin together.  Make sure the string pieces are no further apart than ½ inch.  After this is done, make sure you take some rub & put it on the ends of the loin. 

5.  Now that the grill is hot, make sure that it is properly cleaned & the grates are oiled.  I did not mention it earlier because I prefer to clean the grill after it has warmed up.  Close the grill and allow the temperature to go back up.

6.  Put the loin on the grill (direct heat) to sear.  You should be able to sear on all sides approximately 2-3 minutes per side, or about 12-15 minutes total.  Make sure that it is seared evenly, and lower the temperature to approximately 400 degrees F.

7.  Place the loin on indirect heat, and close the grill cover.  Since the loin has been cut, you should expect a lower cooking time than what is directed by Williams Sonoma.  For example, the 60 minute total indirect cooking time (30 minutes on grill and 30 minutes in roasting pan) was for a 4 pound loin.  However, using the technique outlined in paragraph 4, we cooked a 9 pound loin in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Either way, you will have to use judgment based on the size of your loin, but take it off the grill once it reaches 145 degrees.  Since we did not follow the recipe when it came to the vegetables, our grill time was all indirect heat on the grill.  This also had an impact on the cooking time.  One precaution:  if you do all of your cooking on the grill and not in a pan, you will want to use a drip pan to avoid flare-ups.

8.  Make sure you let the loin rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

This recipe should keep you on and off the grill in well under an hour and a half—perfect for a Sunday afternoon with the family.  Enjoy!

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