Ale-brined Stuffed Pork Loin

Pork, nuts, fruit and stuffing; a meal in every bite.

The other white meat can sometimes fall victim to being boring, which is a fate we blame on people with no imagination. We turn this one up to 11 by soaking it with a badass brine and stuffing it full of home cooking favorites like, well, stuffing and cranberries. It’s almost a complete meal in and of itself but that shouldn’t stop you from pairing it with some mashed potatoes or roasted root vegetables to cap things off.

Equipment Needed: 5 QT Pot, 3 QT Pot w/ Lid, Large Container with Lid, Large Roasting Pan (OR) 13 x 9 Baking Pan, Cooking Twine, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Whisk, Tongs, Wooden Spoon, Paper Towels

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4-6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Shiraz

Suggested Beer Pairing: Stout, Brown Ale, Scotch Ale

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin ($7.99/lb)
  • 16 oz brown ale (price varies)(we actually used an old autumn ale, you can use English ale, winter ale or almost anything other than an overly hoppy IPA or barley wine)
  • 2 C apple cider ($3.49/gallon)
  • 1/3 C kosher salt ($2.29/48 oz box)
  • 1/3 C  pure grade A maple syrup (about $7/8 oz)
  • 8 large rosemary sprigs ($1.50/sprig or bunch)
  • 1 TBSP whole black peppercorns ($3.69/2.25 oz jar)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries ($2.99/6 oz bag)
  • 1/2 C walnuts (about $8.99/lb)
  • 1 box of instant stuffing (about $2.50/6 oz box) (don’t judge us, just be sure you check the instructions on the box, the recipe typically requires a few tablespoons of butter and water)
  • 2 large apples ($2.99/lb)

Preparation:

  • You’ll want to plan ahead a bit on this one because you’ll want to brine the pork loin for at least 2 hours before you cook it. 6-10 hours is ideal.
  • For the brine combine your beer, cider, maple syrup & salt in the 5 QT pot. Whisk it all together, place it over high heat and bring it to a boil, stirring regularly until the syrup and salt are dissolved.

Beer here!

  • Once it’s boiling, transfer the brine to your large container add a tray of ice cubes to accelerate the cooling process and thin it out a bit. Pop it in the fridge until it’s chilled (this should take about 45 minutes to an hour).
  • While you’re waiting for things to cool, trim any excess fat off of your pork loin and give it a good rinse.
  • When your brine is cold, place the pork in it an add the rosemary & peppercorns. Cover the dish and pop it back in the fridge for at least 2 hours; the longer you leave it in the more tender it’ll get.

Make sure you have enough brine to fully cover your meat.

  • When you can’t holdout any longer preheat the oven to 375°F and take the pork out of the brine. Rinse it, pat it dry, and put it on a plate to bring it to room temperature (at least 15 minutes). Save the rosemary sprigs for later.
  • While you’re waiting for the pork to warm, cook up your stuffing. This typically involves bringing water and butter to a boil, stirring in the stuffing and letting it sit in a covered pot for 5-8 minutes. Chop up the walnuts and stir them in along with the dried cranberries.

Chop the walnuts into manageable chunks but be careful not to pulverize them.

  • When the pork is un-chilled, butterfly it (a.k.a. cut it almost in half lengthwise so you can open it like a sub roll).
  • Slice up your apples into thin pieces, lengthwise and use them to line each interior side of the loin. Spoon in your stuffing and lay the rosemary sprigs from the brine across the top.

Be careful not to over-stuff the meat, you need to be able to tie it up without too much excess.

  • Squeeze everything together and tie up the loin with butcher’s twine.

It's a good idea to pre-cut your twine so you don't have to do it with porky hands.

  • Pop the pork in the oven and cook it for about 45-60 minutes until it registers at about 165° F on your meat thermometer.
  • As with all meat let it rest for 5-10 minutes before you cut it. Remove the twine, slice into 1-2 inch discs and serve.
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