This pork rib roast is brined and then roasted with a spiced brown sugar rub. The brine keeps the pork juicy while adding some flavor to the meat.
A mixture of Creole seasoning, cumin, and brown sugar add flavor to this delicious pork loin. The brine contains salt, maple syrup, and orange juice. Replace the orange juice with apple cider or apple juice if you'd like. Feel free to add some dried herbs to the brine. A few teaspoons of dried sage, thyme, or rosemary are good choices.
- For the Brine:
- 3 cups water (cold)
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- For the Rub:
- 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning (or Cajun, preferably salt-free)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin (ground)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- In a large saucepan, combine half of the water with the kosher salt. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt has dissolved. Remove it from the heat and add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cold water, the orange juice, and the maple syrup; stir to blend. Let the mixture cool.
- Pat the pork roast with paper towels to dry. Place the roast in a large nonreactive food container or heavy duty 2-gallon zip-close food storage or freezer bag.
- In a bowl, combine the cold water, orange juice, kosher salt, and maple syrup; pour over the roast; move the container around to coat the pork thoroughly. Refrigerate the pork overnight, or for about 8 to 18 hours.
- In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients; blend well and set aside.
- Remove the pork roast from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse the pork and pat dry.
- Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan and rub it all over with the seasoning rub mixture.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).
- Roast for about 20 minutes per pound, or until the roast registers 145 F on a food thermometer or oven probe.
- Let the pork roast rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
A brine with about 3% to 6% salt affects the meat in a few ways. The solution dissolves some of the protein structure, which makes it possible for more of the brine to penetrate the meat. The brine increases the water-holding capacity of the meat, making it more tender and juicier. The brine absorbed into the meat increases its weight as much as 10% or more, so even though meat typically loses 20% of its moisture when cooked, the absorbed brine keeps it juicier.