Pork Rib Roast – An Herbed, Succulent Success

Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook. The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.

 Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook.  The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.
Pork rib roast, covered in savory herbs and spices, makes a great meal for the family or for special occasions.

Pork rib roast for all occasions

You may think that cooking a pork rib roast is a big deal. But it is actually very easy.

You may think that pork rib roast is only for special occasions like family gatherings or holiday dinners. But it is a dish that fits into everyday life and can be made without constant attention.

And they are economical, too. Pork rib roasts are common in most grocery stores. Once cooked, they can provide a succulent meal for a family, or a couple of days of yummy reheats.

Choose your pork rib roast

Stand in the meat aisle of your grocery store and you’ll see more selections of beef and pork than you might know what to do with.

Pork is a little easier than beef to select. The USDA does not grade pork the way it does beef. It may be more convenient when selecting particular cuts of meat to not have to choose between select or choice, or first or second cut, but there is still a whole hog’s worth of pig to consider.

A bone-in roast is a great choice because it is a fattier cut of meat than say, a pork tenderloin. But it is still a relatively lean piece of pig and the fat is going to keep the meat moist while cooking. It is also a great conduit of flavor. The bones help the roast hold it’s shape and also transmit heat from the oven into the meat, helping it cook faster and more evenly.

After cooking cut away the bone rack completely for a rib-free roast, or cut up to make succulent pork chops.

Bring on the brine

Brining is a common step that adds flavor and moisture to the meat. Brines are made of many concoctions, but they all rely on very simple foundations.

  • A liquid to soak the meat in. It needs to be cold, and the meat must be completely submerged. Water is the most common choice. It is often flavored with teas, herbs, spices, or peppers.
  • Salt. No matter what kind, tenderized meat fibers, making the meat easier to cut and chew. Salt pulls blood and liquid out of meat and replaces it with the flavored water of the brine mix. It also infuses itself into the meat, requiring less application of salt when seasoning by the chef or (gasp!) by the diner.
  • Sugar. While not a common component in brines, sugar is great to add to brine for all the same reasons salt is necessary. Sugar is a desiccant that will pull out liquid and draw in brine liquid. It imparts sweetness to certain meats that may benefit, such as pork and chicken. And it tenderized meat fibers.
  • Acid. Vinegar, citrus juice, or other culinary acids work to tenderize and flavor meat, too. Best to use them with moderation, unless you want pickle juice-brined pork. (And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just know what you are getting into.)
  • Time. Brine is how we pickle and preserve foods. But in this case, we are only using it to enhance flavor. A piece of meat left too long in a brine will breakdown and become mushy once cooked. It will also be way too salty. Most meats, even tough cuts, will brine well enough after 12 hours of marinating, depending upon the strength and concentration of the brine.

The Chef Jack Brine

My typical brine is sweet and salty, with herbal notes I get from infusing tea into my water.

Marinating for up to 24 hours will give me a wonderful flavor and juiciness to the meats.

Generally, I make a brine based on 2 gallons of water, 8 bags of orange spice tea, coca cola syrup, and kosher salt. I use coca-cola syrup instead of sugar in the brine because it provides a unique sweetness with a tinge of bitterness that sugar alone doesn’t yield. If you can’t get your hands on Coke syrup, try molasses.  It will yield a similar flavor profile.

The brine needs to be heated to infuse the tea and dissolve the salt, but then I keep it chilled in the fridge before I ever add any meat to it. And, of course, I always toss marinade that has been used.

A pork for all seasonings

 Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook.  The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.
All our great flavor is going to come from a blend of spices, vegetables, and herbs

One of the great things about pork is that just about any seasoning is going to work with it. Pork is hearty like beef, broad like chicken, tender like veal, even delicate like some fish.

It takes on flavors that might not usually work on certain foods, giving us a big spice canvas to work on. But the spices are only here to enhance, not overpower the great flavor in this roast.

 Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook.  The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.
Blend all the spices and add some olive oil to help them stick to the pork rib roast.

And we are still looking for that happy blend of sweet, salt, and spice. So we are going to get that from a mix of spices like garlic, mustard, and coriander, salt (yes, we still need salt for flavoring), dried orange peel, and granulated honey, and spiciness from red chili paste and chili powder. We will pick up some herbal notes using dried parsley. I use dried over fresh because it had more flavor and won’t burn during the roasting process.

Combine the spice mix with olive oil to form a paste. This makes it easier to stick to the roast and to keep the spices from burning as they cook.

 Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook.  The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.
Use a little more oil, and rub the spice mix onto both sides of the pork rib roast.

A good foundation

While there are roasting racks and screens and other kinds of gadgets that elevate a roast off the bottom of the pan while it is in the oven, I like to put down a layer of mirepoix and let my roast set on that.

While the roast is cooking, this mix of onions, carrots, celery and herbs is cooking, too. It is catching and blending with the juices of the meat and fat, and providing its own aromatic contribution to the meat. It will also become the flavoring foundation for our finishing sauce.

A rough cut of vegetables is sufficient, but there needs to be enough in the bottom of the pan to hold the roast up by at least 2 inches to start.

 Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook.  The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.
A mirepoix mix onion, celery, carrot, and herbs flavors the sauce we will make from the drippings.

Time to get sear – ious

What’s the difference between a really great piece of meat, cooked to perfection, and one that is just kind of bland and ho-hum? The sear, my friends, the sear.

Searing meat at high temperature creates an effect called the Maillard reaction. This is what makes grill marks so distinctive, or pan-searing the first step in making a great steak.

Searing kick starts the cooking process in a way that seals the meat fibers at the surface, holding in juices. It also is the source of that great flavor a well cooked meat has that poaching or just plain baking doesn’t achieve.

Cooking a pork rib roast like this one is going to call for a sear. Once the meat is covered in herbs and spices, searing on a pan or grill just isn’t practical.

But we can sear in our ovens with high heat.

Once the pork rib roast has been brined, seasoned, and nestled in its cradle of mirepoix, we put it in a preheated oven at 500°F. The super-hot air will hit the oil-glazed surface and brown the meat like we’d dropped it in a fryer. We only need to do this for about 15 – 30 minutes (depending upon the size of the roast). We will then cut the heat down to 325-350°F to finish cooking our roast.

A probe thermometer is practically a must for getting a pork rib roast cooked properly.

 Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook.  The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.
Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Stay away from the rib bones, because they will give a false temperature reading.

Cooking the roast in two steps – roasting at 500°F for a short period then dropping the heat and cooking until finished – produces a roast that is both tender and juicy, with a great seared crust on the outside.

Make a sauce

 Strain mirepoix vegetables to get the drippings from the pan.
After the roasting is done, strain the mirepoix through a sieve to get the delicious liquid drippings.

Once the roast is cooked to a nice degree of done (about 150-160°F) it needs time to rest out of the oven.

While the roast is resting, we can make a sauce from the drippings, infused with all the flavors of the roast and the aromatic vegetables the roast sits on.

We just have to pull the roast out of the pan and drain the juices from the pan through a colinder. We heat the drippings on the stove top, add a splash of cider vinegar and thicken with a cornstarch slurry. It gives us an awesome sauce with all the great flavors of the meat, and a little kick from the vinegar.

Slice and serve

 Cut between the ribs for delicious chops.
After letting your roast rest, cut between the bones for succulent chops.

Once the roast has rested cut it into chops or take off the bones and sliced into filets. Serve it with roasted potatoes and vegetables or anything you please.

 The meat is moist and juicy.
Pork rib roast wonderfully seasoned and cooked to perfection.
 Finish with an apple cider vinegar glaze
Finish the sauce by adding some cornstarch and apple cider vinegar to the drippings.

View then do

Check out how simple it is to cook a great roast in the video below, and then bring your own flair to this delicious cut of meat!

Pork Rib Roast – An Herbed, Succulent Success

Recipe by Chef JackCourse: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

2

hours 

Pork rib roast may seem intimidating, but it is actually easy to season and cook. The best pork is bone-in, and the best way to cook it is roasted.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 – 3 lbs pork rib roast, cleaned of excess fat

  • 1.5 gallon of brine (see link for Chef Jack’s Brine Recipe)

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • Spice Blend:
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard seed

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

  • 2 tbsp dried parsley

  • 1 tbsp dried orange peel

  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns

  • 2 tbsp kosher or sea salt

  • 1 tsp red chili pepper paste

  • 1tbsp ground chili powder

  • 1tbsp granualted honey (or just plain honey)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • Mirepoix
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

  • 4 medium carrots, chopped

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 6 – 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 4 stems rosemary

  • 4 stems oregano

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • To make sauce with the drippings:
  • 1 cup of dripping liquid strained from pan after cooking

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Directions

  • Take pork rib roast out of packaging and wash it thoroughly with clean water. Pat it dry. If you are going to brine the roast, put it in a pan or container large enough to hold it and to cover it with brine. Pour the cold brine into the container and maker sure roast is covered by brine. Cover with plastic or a lid and put in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 500°F.
  • Remove the roast from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse the roast and dry it again. Lay it out on a large, clean surface. The roast will have a layer of fat on the top, but do not cut it away. The layer of fat is going to protect the relatively lean meat of the roast from the heat of the oven, and will also provide great flavor.
  • In a bowl, combine the mustard seed, coriander, garlic powder, parsley, orange peel, peppercorns, salt, chili pepper paste, chili powder, and granulated honey. Stir all the ingredients together and add olive oil. Stir until paste forms. Set mix aside so the flavors can meld.
  • Rough cut onions, celery, and carrots. Smash and peel garlic cloves. Put mirepoix mix in a roasting pan large enough to hold the pork rib roast. Add in the fresh herbs and some more oil. Mix to combine and form an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  • Rub pork rib roast down with a little oil and press the spice mixture onto the roast. Press and rub the spice mix all over the roast. When it is well coated, place the roast in the pan on top of the mirepoix mix. Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, Be careful to stay away from any rib bones because they will give a false temperature reading.
  • Put the pan, uncovered, into the oven at 500°F for 15 – 30 minutes, depending upon the size of your roast. Estimate approximately 6 minutes a pound. Once the time is up, drop the temperature of the over to 350°F and continue cooking for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until your probe thermometer reads 159°F.
  • Remove the roast form the oven and allow it to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. The meat needs time to relax and hold onto the hot juices inside. Wait for 20 – 30 minutes before cutting into it. Your roast will stay hot, I promise.
  • While the roast is resting, use a sieve to drain the drippings in the bottom of the pan from the mirepoix mix. Discard the vegetables and put the drippings in a pan on the stove top. Ins a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and apple cider vinegar and whisk to create a slurry. Heat the drippings over medium heat until it simmers, then stir in the slurry. Stir until sauce is clear and thickened. If it gets too thick, add a little more vinegar or other liquid, such as apple juice or water. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Lay the pork rib roast a large cutting board. With a sharp, large knife cut between the bib bones and through the roast to make chops. Lay each chop on a plate with a mix of vegetables of your choice and drizzle the drippings sauce over the roast and vegetables. Serve.

I originally published this post on 2/01/2018 and updated it 6/05/2019

 

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