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Spice-Rubbed Pork Loin with Jalapeño-Lime Salsa

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Serves 6

  • To learn more, read:
    Grilling Big
  • by Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking
    Issue 94

This pork gets a double dose of flavor: First, it’s rubbed with spices, sugar, chipotle powder, and garlic. Then after cooking, the pork is served with a tangy jalapeño–lime salsa.

Shopping note: Make sure your butcher removes the chine bone so this loin can be cut into chops after grilling.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-rib bone-in pork loin roast (4 to 5 lb.), chine bone removed, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 recipe Jalapeño-Lime Salsa 
Season the pork:

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, salt, paprika, cumin, sugar, chipotle powder, and garlic. Rub all over the pork and refrigerate, covered, for at least 12 and up to 48 hours.

Gas grilling instructions:

Heat all burners of a gas grill to medium low. An oven thermometer resting on the grill grate should register about 450°F with the lid down, or you should be able to hold your hand a couple of inches above the grill for 3 or 4 seconds. If it’s hotter than this, lower the burners slightly. Brush the grill grates with a stiff wire brush and then wipe with a lightly oiled wad of paper towels.

Set the pork on the grill, meat side down. Cover and cook until it’s nicely browned and easily releases from the grates, 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully during this stage and if a flare-up occurs, move the meat away from the flames until they die down. If necessary, squirt the flames with a little water to quench them.

For a three-burner gas grill, turn the middle burner off and set the front and back burners to medium low. For a two-burner grill, turn the back burner off and set the front burner on high. Flip the pork and move it to the cooler zone of the grill—an oven thermometer set on the cooler part of the grill (with the lid down) should register about 350°F. Cover, and cook, checking the grill temperature every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145°F, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into chops by cutting between the bones and serve the chops with the salsa.

Charcoal grilling instructions:

Prepare a charcoal fire with a hot zone and a cooler zone by pushing all the coals to one side of the grill. An oven thermometer resting on the grill grate should register about 450°F with the lid down, or you should be able to hold your hand a couple of inches above the grill for 3 or 4 seconds. If it’s hotter than this, let the coals cook down. Brush the grill grates with a stiff wire brush and then wipe with a lightly oiled wad of paper towels.

Set the pork, meat-side down, over the hot zone of the fire (directly over the coals). Cover and cook until it’s nicely browned and easily releases from the grates, 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully during this stage and if a flare-up occurs, move the meat away from the flames until they die down. If necessary, squirt the flames with a little water to quench them.

Flip the pork and move it to the cooler zone of the grill—an oven thermometer set on the cool zone (with the lid down) should register about 350°F. Cover, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145°F, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. As the pork roasts, check on the temperature and fire every 15 minutes; it may be necessary to add fresh charcoal as the fire dies down. Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into chops by cutting between the bones and serve the chops with the salsa.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Tomato, Avocado, Corn & Black Bean Salad.
 

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 460; Fat (g): 27; Fat Calories (kcal): 240; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 48; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 5; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 890; Cholesterol (mg): 130; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I used a two pound boneless pork loin roast (not a pork tenderloin), used the rub, and refrigerated it overnight as per the recipe. My husband roasted it using the rotisserie on our gas grill. The result was a juicy, delicious piece of meat with a nice flavor from the rub. And, the jalapeno-lime salsa? It was not so different than the one we usually make, but this one is out of this world - absolutely fantastic - just delicious by itself, and with the pork. It may just be the salsa we use from now on, whenever we need, or want salsa. And, yes, I'd make this dish again in a heartbeat!

I have made this twice now to rave reviews for tow different groups. I am making it again next week by request. Easy - yummy.

I used this recipe on a pork tenderloin and it was incredible. Although it didn't have to cook as long as the pork loin in this recipe the spice rub was incredible. I sliced up the pork tenderloin, added the salsa and put it in warm grilled corn tortillas. But all my guests could say was "that pork was amazing" for the next couple of days they were visiting.

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