I love a good roast. It can be pork, beef or just a good roasted chicken.
My wife isn't fond of beef, so a beef roast is something we have infrequently. She DOES love pork though, so I don't have to do much convincing before I make this for a Sunday dinner.
I'm not going to give a brine or stuffing recipe in this post. There are MANY variations available on the web and I have a brine recipe here or here (and a completely different one here). For the most part, any brine will work on either pork or poultry. You simply have to find one that you like. The same is true with stuffing. Whether you want the convenience of a box of Stove Top stuffing or you make it from scratch, it will work. You just want some form of bread based stuffing though I'm certain other types would work as well.
For the roast in this post, I used a brine with apple cider in it and put apples in my stuffing. I tend to like apple and pork together, and this gives a subtle boost to the flavor.
The technique I used to cut the roast is called a roll cut. You basically just "roll" the roast out as you're cutting it. If you have problems with this (or simply with understanding my instructions) there are many good videos on YouTube of how to do it. That's how I learned. This is only my second time trying this type of cut and it turned out fine (both times).
This technique and recipe should work for any size pork roast. You will simply have to adjust the amount of brine (optional) and stuffing you use based on the size of the roast. The roast in this post was about 3 1/2 pounds. The last one I did was nine pounds and it worked equally well on both.
Lastly, if you have any questions/comments on the technique (or anything else) feel free to send me an email or leave a comment. You can also find me on Facebook and leave me a message or question there.
- Pork roast/loin (Any size will work. The one in this post is about 3 1/2 lbs, the last one I did was 9 lbs.)
- Prepared stuffing (Any stuffing that you would use in a turkey would work well here.)
- Bacon (The amount will depend on the size of the roast. You need enough to be able to cover the roast.)
- Maple syrup or honey (again, depends on size of roast, but typically 1/4 cup is enough)
- Salt and pepper to taste
* You will also need butcher's twine to tie the roast up before putting in the oven.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place roast (brined or not) on cutting board
- Starting on the left side of the roast, (if positioned as in the picture above) using a very sharp knife , make an approximately one to two inch cut just above the line of fat, going into the meat. It's important to keep your knife parallel to the cutting board when doing this.
- Push the meat back and again, make a cut in the meat, "rolling" it back towards the opposite end of the cutting board.
- Continue doing this until the roast is basically flattened out. It isn't going to look nice and even. (Well, if you're anything like me it won't.) How the meat looks won't make any difference in the final product and no one will notice.
- The end result will be a fairly flat piece of meat that you will be putting your stuffing on in order to roll back up.
- Salt and pepper both sides of the roast generously. I also like using a rub on the meat. In my case, I used Mac Brothers Pork Rub, but salt and pepper alone will work fine.
- Next, spread the prepared stuffing on the exposed side of the meat. You want the fat side of the meat DOWN at this point so it will be on the outside of the roast.
- Leave a border of about an inch along the sides of the meat. Leave about two inches from the end where you stopped your cut.
- Starting at the far end, you want to start rolling up the roast gently. Looking at the picture below, this is on the right side which is the side of the meat where you ended your cut. You want to keep rolling fairly tight but not tight enough that you push the stuffing out of the ends.
- Continue carefully rolling the meat up until it again is the size and shape of a typical roast.
- Now, the roast needs to be tied together so it won't fall apart as it cooks. You will need some butcher's twine. There is no need to tie fancy knots like you sometimes see on these (unless of course you know how to do that and feel like it!). I tie it in multiple places along the top with a simple knot (There were four ties for this roast. I think I used seven on the nine pound roast I made.).
- The next step is to cover the outside with bacon. There are multiple ways to do this. The easiest is to simply take strips of bacon and wrap them around the outside. I decided to make a bacon "weave" and wrap that around the roast. This will only work if your roast is fairly small (probably four pounds or less), otherwise it won't fit unless you do more than one weave. A "hack" that simplifies working with the weave is to put it in the freezer for a few minutes after it's been woven together. If you do this, it will be much easier to work with and wrap around the roast.
- Brush the bacon with the maple syrup (or honey if you prefer).
- Place roast on a roasting rack in a pan. You are now ready to put your roast in the oven. Your oven should be at 425 degrees at this point. You only want to cook at this high temperature for 15 minutes to give a good sear.
- Turn oven down to 325 degrees after the initial 15 minutes and continue roasting. You should baste the bacon at least one more time with the maple syrup or honey while it's roasting. When you turn the oven down to 325 is a good time to do this. You can do this multiple times if you want a heavier maple/honey flavor, but one additional time is sufficient.
- How long your roast takes to cook is going to be determined by how large your roast is. A good rule of thumb is 25 minutes per pound but it's important to go by INTERNAL TEMPERATURE, not time. The USDA recommends between 145-165 for pork. I much prefer the lower end of that time so it's not dried out. I typically keep it in until it hits about 140, then take it out and loosely cover with foil for about 15 minutes. The internal temperature will rise that extra five degrees after it's taken out of the oven and before it starts to cool.
- Remove from oven when temp hits between 140-160 (depending upon preference) and tent loosely with foil for fifteen minutes.
- Cut into slices and serve
When I make this, I typically put vegetables in the bottom of the pan. This time I used parsnips and carrots. Any kind of root vegetables work well for this. I also put a small amount of chicken stock in the bottom of the pan (only about 1/4 inch). The juices from the roast and bacon will drip into this and become a great way to make gravy if you wish. It also helps keep the roast from drying out. If you choose to do this you should check every 20 minutes or so and add more stock as needed as the juices burn off.