ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1Cooking Light - EasyCooking Light - FastCooking Light - So GoodCooking Light - How-ToCooking Light - Staff FaveCooking Light Badge - Wow!GroupClose IconEmailEmpty Star IconLike Cooking Light on FacebookFull Star IconShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconHalf Star IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

Brined Pork Loin with Brown Sugar-Bourbon Glaze

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1 chop)
"Brined pork is about as good as it gets. Throw some bourbon on it, though, and it somehow gets better." --Mike Wilson, former Test Kitchen Professional

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 (5-pound) French-cut pork loin rib roast, trimmed (about 8 bones)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 thyme sprigs

Nutrition Information

  • calories 357
  • fat 14.2 g
  • satfat 3.5 g
  • monofat 8.3 g
  • polyfat 1.5 g
  • protein 25 g
  • carbohydrate 28.4 g
  • fiber 0.3 g
  • cholesterol 62 mg
  • iron 1.8 mg
  • sodium 628 mg
  • calcium 40 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine 1 gallon water and salt in a large stockpot, stirring until salt dissolves. Add pork to brine; refrigerate for 24 hours.

  2. Remove pork from brine; discard brine. Pat pork dry with paper towels.

  3. Preheat oven to 375°.

  4. Combine sugar, vinegar, bourbon, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 9 minutes or until reduced to 2/3 cup. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Set aside.

  5. Combine olive oil, ground pepper, and garlic in a small bowl; rub evenly over pork. Top with thyme sprigs. Place pork in a large roasting pan. Bake at 375° for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Brush brown sugar mixture evenly over pork; bake an additional 20 minutes or until thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of pork registers 140° (slightly pink). Place pork on a platter. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

  6. Wine note: Brined Pork Loin with Brown Sugar–Bourbon Glaze begs for a wine that's not actually sweet, but seems to be because it's so fruity. Juicy red Zinfandel is that kind of wine. Go for Dutton Goldfield's intense 2007 Zin from the Morelli Lane Vineyard in California's chilly Russian River Valley ($40). Planted by Italian settlers more than 100 years ago, these vines give up bright berry and cherry flavors, plus a spiciness that makes the most of the black peppercorns in the glaze (and, in fact, the rest of this tangy, spicy menu). --Sara Schneider