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Weekend Chef: Beer Brined Pork Roast with Crispy Potatoes

Posted 5:22pm on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013

It’s finally October, time for a break from the heat and Oktoberfest!

In honor of Oktoberfest I decided to get creative with beer by cooking a pork rib roast in a beer brine ... and serve it with a beer mushroom sauce. If you've kept up with my Weekend Chef blog, you have seen me brine chickens and turkeys. Brining helps make poultry extra juicy and moist, even if you accidentally overcook it a little. The same is true for pork. So if your pork roast or chops tend to be on the dry side, try brining them first.

So how does brine work its magic? It is a solution of salt and sugar in a liquid (in this case beer) that you soak your pork (or poultry) in for a minimum of 1 hour per pound. I normally brine pork chops or a broken down chicken for about three hours, pork roast or whole chicken overnight and a turkey for 24 hours. The brine will be partly absorbed (the meat actually gains weight), adding seasonings and moisture to the meat, even after cooking.

Using beer in the brine will add a nice flavor to the pork roast. I decided to use Rahr’s Winter Warmer, a flavorful dark ale. I bought an extra case last winter and really like cooking with it. It is a whiskey barrel aged ale that takes on the flavor and smell of bourbon. It also has chocolate, caramel, malt, vanilla and oak flavors.

After brining I like to let the pork air dry for a couple of hours in the refrigerator, then season with an herb and garlic paste before roasting. I am also fixing a beer mushroom sauce and some crispy roasted potatoes.

Beer Brined Pork Roast with a Beer Mushroom Sauce and Crispy Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 5-rib pork loin roast (3 pounds)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (mostly Rosemary and sage)
  • 1 cup finely chopped garlic
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes
  • ½ pound sliced shitaki mushrooms
  • ½ stick butter
  • ½ to 1 cup beer
  • ½ to 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons of each).
  • Brine ingredients

  • 2 12-ounce bottles of beer (I like using a bock or ale)
  • ¼ cup kosher salt (or a 2 tablespoons of table or canning salt)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Other optional brine ingredients to add

  • 1 sprig fresh Rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seed
  • Resealable plastic bag large enough for pork roast

Brining directions

  1. Place pork roast into resealable plastic bag; add sprigs of Rosemary and sage.
  2. Mix all the remaining brining ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a whisk till the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Pour brine into plastic bag letting it cover the pork roast, then seal bag making sure to remove as much air from the bag before sealing.
  4. Place bag in a bowl or pan to catch any liquid (if the bag springs a leak), then place into the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Remove pork roast from brine and rinse off with cold water. Pat dry with paper towel, and put back into refrigerator on a pan or plate for 2 hours to air-dry.
  6. Cooking directions

  7. Make herb garlic paste by mixing herbs, garlic, shallot and olive oil in bowl.
  8. Pre-heat grill (or oven) to 400ºF, if using a grill, set grill up for indirect heat.
  9. Remove pork roast from refrigerator and score a shallow, cross-pattern deckle through the fat on top of the roast (see picture in slide show). This will help hold the herb garlic paste.
  10. Evenly coat roast with herb garlic paste and place on roasting pan. Be sure to save about a ½ cup of the paste for the potatoes.
  11. Cut larger fingerling potatoes in half, then put potatoes into a large bowl and salt and pepper to taste, add leftover herb garlic paste and mix till evenly covered. Place potatoes around roast on roasting pan.
  12. Place pan with roast and potatoes in grill and roast at 400ºF for 1 hour, then lower heat too 325ºF and continue roasting until the internal temperature reads 150ºF on a instant read (or meat) thermometer (about 30 minutes).
  13. Pull and let rest for 10 minutes.
  14. To make beer mushroom sauce, add mushrooms to a small roasting dish with ½ a stick of butter sliced on top. Add dish to grill after the roast has cooked for 45 minutes. When you reduce the heat of the grill to 325ºF for the roast, pull the mushrooms off the grill and add equal parts beer and chicken stock to cover the mushrooms in the dish, then return to grill. Pull mushrooms after you pull the roast.
  15. After the roast has rested, cut roast between the rib bones and serve topped with the beer mushrooms (with sauce) and the crispy fingerling potatoes.

The roast turned out great. Very juicy. The mushroom beer sauce added more flavor and the potatoes were really crispy with a little chew in the middle, kind of like hash browns with a crunch. If you would like your potatoes without the crunch, add them the last 30 minutes instead of at the beginning. Be sure to check out the step-by-step pictures in the slideshow above the story.

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