I love brines. Give me an extra 24 hours, a box of sea salt and some spices, and I will happily submerge poultry and meat in a liquid bath. A long soak adds moisture to the protein while it brines for hours or even days, ensuring succulent results. This month’s Charcutepalooza challenge dictated a brine, and I chose pork for several reasons. Lean pork meat can easily dry out, so it is a perfect candidate for moisture inducing brines. I also confess that I like pork best when it’s fortified and embellished with strong umami flavors and marinades, smoothing out the pork’s, er, porky flavor.
To this brine I added white wine, inspired by a pleasant memory of an exquisite roasted pork saddle we enjoyed at Incanto Restaurant in San Francisco. While a recipe was never divulged, Chef Chris Cosentino shared with us that he marinated the pork in wine for several days. And he knows his pork – which rocks. So, inspired by this memory and Charcutapalooza, I made this pork rib roast.
Wined and Brined Pork Rib Roast
If possible, let the pork brine for several days. I brined this roast for 4 days, and the results were flavorful, juicy and tender. Serves 8.
For the brine:
4 quarts water, divided
1 – 750 ml. bottle dry white wine
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
8 sage leaves
4 rosemary sprigs
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 pork rib roast, with 8 bones
For the roast:
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 sage leaves
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine 1 quart water and remaining brine ingredients (not the pork) in a pot large enough to hold the roast. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 3 quarts of water and cool completely. Add pork. If pork is not entirely submerged, add additional water to cover. Cover pot and refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 4 days.
Roast the pork:
3 hours before roasting, remove the pork from the brine and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and refrigerate, uncovered.
Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Smash garlic, rosemary, peppercorns and sage leaves in a mortar with pestle. Whisk in mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Smear the paste all over the pork. Place on a rack in a baking pan. Roast in a preheated 400 F. oven until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 F. Let the pork roast rest 20 minutes before carving. Serve garnished with sage leaves and lemon wedges.
What is Charcutepalooza?
An inspirational idea hatched by Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster and now partnering with Food52. It celebrates a Year in Meat, where participating foodies and bloggers will cure, smoke and salt their way through Michael Ruhlman’s bestselling cookbook Charcuterie.