Today, I’m sharing my tips for bringing no-fuss, restaurant quality pork-based meals into your home this summer. Thanks to Smithfield for underwriting (sponsoring) this post!
When Gabe and I got married, I hate to say it, but I was terrible at cooking meat. Coming from a large family, we ate a lot of ground beef casseroles, and not a lot of meat cuts, so I just didn’t have a lot of experience cooking them.
So it’s safe to say that when Gabe and I got our first pig, I was in a little bit over my head. My pork chops were dry and tough, my pork loins were so chewy you could barely get a knife through them. At one point, I just gave up and started throwing it all in the crockpot to cook all day long, hoping the result would be more tender and less dry.
I remember requesting that our next pig be 100% ground.
Gabe doesn’t always listen to me though, and our next pig did not in fact, come back as 100% ground.
The story ends pretty well though, with me finally learning a few tips on how to easily make restaurant-quality pork dinners at home!
5 Tips for The Best Pork Dinner Ever
- Choose heritage breed pork. Gabe and I have been buying heritage breed pork almost exclusively for a number of years, and for me, there’s no comparison. Smithfield Prime Reserve uses the Duroc bloodline, which is known for it’s superior marbling, flavor, and tenderness.
- Look for great marbling. So much of the flavor is in the fat, and not only that, the more marbled cuts tend to be more tender, and juicy, which is super important in white meat, which can otherwise be a bit dry. I think one of my big mistakes when I first started cooking pork cuts (like chops, loin, steaks, etc.), was trying to trip every single bit of fat off before I cooked it. Now, I’m still not a huge fan of super fat cuts, but some marbling is important! Here again, Smithfield Prime excels with their hand-trimmed cuts having superior color and marbling, and containing no artificial ingredients, growth promotants, added hormones or steroids.
- Never overcook it! The best way to get perfectly cooked pork is with an instant-read meat thermometer. I know it’s tempting to just cooked the stuffin’ out of meat, but believe me – it’s not for the best. For your best, most tender, and most juicy pork, you want the internal temperature of your pork to reach 145º-160º. Over cooking can mean dry, tough meat – and nobody wants that!
- Marinade your pork. Most marinades combine an acid component, which helps break down the meat and make it more tender, with oil, which helps make the meat more juicy, and of course, aromatics for flavor. I’ve found that a marinade can be the difference between a piece of blah pork, and pure deliciousness!
- Find a fabulous recipe! When you’re starting out with zero meat cooking skills, as I was, don’t try to wing it, or create your own recipe – find one that’s already great!
Today, I’m going to share with you a recipe that was created by Chef John Tesar, of Dallas Texas. John has appeared on two seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef, and really knows how to make a great pork recipe!
I love this recipe, because it combines Smithfield Prime Reserve pork, which I typically purchase at Sam’s club in my area, with grilled peaches, and in my book, you just don’t get much better than locally grown peaches June in Texas!
Grilled Marinated Pork Loin with Texas Peaches
- 1 Smithfield Prime Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin (about 4 lbs.)
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 1/2 lbs. small peaches, pitted and halved
- Mint jelly (optional)
- Place pork loin in large bowl or casserole dish. Combine vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon mint and 1/4 cup olive oil. Pour marinade over pork loin, rubbing all over meat; cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 24 hours, turning over once or twice.
- Remove pork from the marinade and place on sheet pan. Generously season all sides of loin with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Heat charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking at 300ºF to 350ºF Toss peaches with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons mint; set aside.
- Place pork, fat side up, in center of a grill roasting pan or basket. Place pan over indirect heat and cook for 30 minutes.
- Arrange peaches along sides of loin in the roasting pan. Cook until internal temperature of pork reaches 145°F to 160ºF, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer pork to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving. Slice pork and serve immediately with peaches. Garnish with mint jelly if desired.
This post has been sponsored by Smithfield. All opinions are my own. Thanks for reading!