Chuck’s Food Shack: Get crazy with smoked pork loins stuffed with jalapeño cream cheese, topped with Ruffles and more


When it involves cooking for a crowd, I often go with pork. It’s hearty like beef however quite a bit inexpensive — particularly now.

One of the perfect cuts is the pork loin, a jack-of-all-trades piece of meat that’s lower from the spine of a pig. A 3-pound pork loin on the grocery retailer will value about $10 at present market costs.

If you understand little to nothing about making good meat, loin is an efficient place to start.

“If anything, I think that I feel regret that I don’t use it enough at my restaurant,” mentioned San Antonio chef Ceasear Zepeda, proprietor of Sangria on the Burg. “A good pork loin is tough to beat, and nobody will complain about the flavor.”

Pork loin could make a robust case as one of the versatile meats within the protein universe. It will be grilled, smoked or baked, and it pairs effectively with herbs and sauces.

Grocery shops promote a big number of loins marinated with flavors resembling lemon pepper, teriyaki and garlic-infusions in case you don’t have the time to do it your self. They style nice and will be completed on a scorching grill in about 30 to 45 minutes.

Loin can be improbable on the smoker, cooked low and sluggish with a dusting of dry rubs over hardy woods resembling oak, pecan and mesquite.

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Visually, they’re not nice uncooked; a bag of pork loin appears to be like like a large tongue popping out of the vacuum-sealed bag. They are actually lean, so it’s vital to discover a technique to incorporate some fats earlier than cooking it.

“You absolutely have to give them a fat boost for moisture,” Zepeda mentioned. “You can take a cut like a pork butt, and it’s really hard to screw that up because there is so much (fat) in them. With a loin, you can go from being tender and juicy to overcooking them and drying them out in a matter of a few minutes.”

An straightforward and decadent method so as to add that fats is to cook dinner two loins collectively with one thing high-fat in between, like cheese, then tie all of it collectively for what I prefer to name a “Poor Man’s Porchetta.”

One of my favourite variations is to layer cream cheese in between the 2 loins, then wrap them in bacon. The fats from the cheese and bacon blanket will maintain the meat moist on the grill or smoker. Once they hit 140 to 145 levels, enable them to relaxation at the least 10 minutes.

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There are many variations of this method. I’ve seen recipes for loins stuffed with Italian sausage or chorizo. I’ve additionally performed one loaded with the all-time nice pairing of French onion dip and Ruffles potato chips.

You might go the baked potato route, stuffing the pork with bitter cream, chives, shredded cheddar cheese and bacon bits. A gooey utility of queso flameado or a superb pimento cheese can be heavenly. Chopped fruits or preserves resembling pineapple, apples and mango can present a novel taste combo, too.

“It’s easy to visualize all of the combinations that could work if you tried it,” Zepeda mentioned. “As long as there is that element of fat with cheese, bacon or whatever else, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a great meal.”

Or you can maintain it easy, with a spice mix that permits the flavorful meat to be the star. But that’s not practically as enjoyable.

Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Pork Loin Bomb

Recipe: Smoked Pork Loin with Ruffles Potato Chips and Onion Dip

Chuck Blount is a food author and columnist overlaying all issues grilled and smoked within the San Antonio space. Find his Chuck’s Food Shack columns on our subscriber web site, ExpressNews.comTo learn more from Chuck, become a subscriber. cblount@express-news.web | Twitter: @chuck_blount | Instagram: @bbqdiver

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