Why It Works
- Early salting of the loin is crucial to keeping the pork juicy and flavorful.
- Salting and drying the skin, then cooking it initially at a high temperature ensures you’ll get delicious, puffy crackling.
- Keeping the ribs partially attached to the pork makes it easy to season and salt the meat, helps reduce cooking time (preventing the pork from drying out), and gives you a tasty bone to gnaw on!
- The sweet and tart chutney is the perfect accompaniment to the rich pork.
A hearty family roast, done right, is cause for celebration—and a great reason to know your local butcher! This pork loin is flavored with herbs and served with spiced apple chutney.
- For the pork loin:
- One (4- to 5-pound; 2- to 2 1/2-kg) pork loin, center cut with rind still intact (see note)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (60ml) neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
- 2 heads garlic, cut in half across the bulbs
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- For the Spiced Apple Chutney:
- 4 tart baking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (20g)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice (120ml)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (150ml)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (about 5 ounces; 140g)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (about 2g)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 star anise pod
For the pork: Dry the skin as much as possible with a paper towel. Generously season the meat (not the skin) with kosher salt, including in between the ribs and meat. Place the roast on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the refrigerator and let rest, uncovered, at least overnight and up to three days.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 475°F (246°C). If the butcher has not done it for you, score the rind with a very sharp knife, using long, parallel slits 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch apart across the width of the loin; be careful not to cut into the flesh.
Flip the loin over and rub the flesh side with the remaining oil. Lift the meat from the bones. Place the garlic, thyme, and rosemary up against the meat. Using butcher's twine, tie the ribs back to the loin, with the aromatics sandwiched in between.
Rub the rind with more salt, ensuring that the salt is rubbed well into the slits. Brush the rind with 2 tablespoons of oil.
Place the loin, skin-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan or baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F (163°C) and cook until an instant-read thermometer poked into the center of the loin reaches 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare, or 140°F (60°C) for medium, about 1 hour. Skin should be puffy and crisp; if it’s not puffy enough, remove the roast from the oven, preheat the broiler, and place the roast a few inches under the broiler until the skin puffs.
While the pork roasts, make the Apple Chutney: Combine the apples, onion, ginger, pomegranate juice, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, pepper flakes, star anise, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes. Remove the star anise and allow to cool.
When the roast is done, remove it from the oven and let the loin rest on a carving board for 30 minutes.
Remove the ribs by cutting the remaining flap, discard the garlic and herbs. Carve the loin into slices following the scores so that each slice has a segment of crackling (approximately a 1/4-inch-wide strip). Serve the warm pork loin with apple chutney and your preferred sides. (We like Yorkshire puddings and a bitter green salad).
Butcher's twine, a roasting pan and rack, or a wire rack and a rimmed baking sheet
Ask your butcher in advance for a center-cut pork loin with the skin and bones intact. Ask for “easy carve” which means the bones are mostly separated from the meat. You can also go completely boneless, but the ribs make a striking presentation. You can also have your butcher score the skin with parallel slits 1/4-inch apart across the width of the loin. If you can’t find a skin-on loin, you can still make the recipe (minus the crackling). Make sure you find a loin with a thick fat cap, or the meat will be dry.