We’re huge fans of grillmaster Steven Raichlen’s smoky, meaty cookbooks. His latest work focuses on updating our beloved grilling techniques. Dive into recipes for grilled meats, vegetable sides, desserts and more. Tie up this meaty pork loin reuben tonight.
The pork loin is one of those blank canvas meat cuts—mild tasting and a great foil for whatever big-flavored ingredients with which you choose to stuff it. Notice I said “stuff”: Thanks to its clean cylindrical shape and lack of bones, a loin is easy to butterfly and stuff. It’s also lean, so I like to wrap it in bacon to keep the outside moist. The following pork loin channels a Reuben sandwich, and I think you’ll find the pastrami, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut stuffing as delectable as it is unexpected.
Inside Tip: Unlike a pork shoulder, which you can cook half to death so it will shred, you want to cook a pork loin to temperature: 145°F if you like it with a blush of pink (don’t worry: the USDA now says it’s safe); 155°F if you like your pork cooked through. Use an instant-read thermometer to guide you.
- 1 center-cut pork loin (about 3 pounds)
- Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 6 ounces lean pastrami, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sauerkraut (not canned), drained well and wrung dry
- 6 ounces gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 4 strips artisinal bacon, like Nueske's
- Vegetable oil for oiling the grill grate
- 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann's or Best Foods
- 1/3 cup chili sauce or ketchup
- 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
For the russian dressing
Place the mayonnaise, chili sauce, and pickle relish in a bowl and whisk to mix. Cover and refrigerate until using; it will keep for at least 3 days in the refrigerator.
For the pork loin
Butterfly the pork loin: Place the pork loin on a cutting board. Using a long, slender, sharp knife, cut the loin almost in half lengthwise through one side, but not all the way through. Leave both sides attached. Open up the loin as you would a book. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top and pound the meat with the side of a cleaver to flatten it slightly. Season the inside with salt and pepper and spread with mustard.
Arrange the pastrami over one side of the pork loin, followed by the sauerkraut and cheese slices. Sprinkle with chives. Fold the roast back together (like closing a book).
Position four 12-inch pieces of butcher’s string on your work surface so that the strings are parallel and roughly 2 inches apart. Lay a bacon strip across the strings so that it runs perpendicular to and in the center of them. Set the pork loin on top of the bacon so that the bacon runs down the length of the pork. Place a second bacon strip on top of the loin. Press the remaining 2 strips against the long sides of the loin. Bring the end strings and then the middle strings over the roast and tie it back into a tight cylinder with the bacon strips in place. Breathe a sigh of relief: The hard part is over. The pork loin can be stuffed to this stage several hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated.
Set up the grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well.
When ready to cook, place the pork roast on the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat, and cover the grill. Cook the roast until cooked through, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the meat; the internal temperature should be about 150°F. Transfer the cooked roast to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes, then remove and discard the strings. Cut the pork loin crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with the Russian Dressing.