Lean, tender, and fine grained in texture, center-cut pork loin remains the most popular pork roast available. We love Latin American flavors with pork, so we’ve flavored this roast with a spicy beer marinade and then rubbed it with a coarse chimichurri paste inspired by Argentina’s national table sauce. Grilled squares of polenta provide an earthy note of corn.
Prep: 40 minutes (plus 15 minutes for marinade and rub)
Marinate: 3 hours to 2 days
Rest before grilling: 1 hour
Grill: About 1 hour.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs
– Sturdy, long-handled spatula.
Indirect heat, medium (350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill–middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill–1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS)
For the polenta:
¾ cup coarse yellow cornmeal
3 cups cold water
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup crumbled queso blanco or grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
Oil for coating baking dish and polenta
For the pork:
1¾ cups Fire Beer Marinade
1 boneless center-cut pork loin roast, 2½ to 3 pounds, surface fat trimmed to ¼ inch
½ cup Green Chimichurri Rub
Oil for coating grill grate.
1. For the polenta: Put the cornmeal, water, and salt in a saucepan and whisk vigorously. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and regulate it so that the mixture simmers gently until it is very thick and pulls away from the sides, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring almost constantly. It takes patience, but the stirring prevents the polenta from becoming gummy or burning on the bottom. When the polenta is thickened, stir in the cheese and cilantro.
2. Coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish or other shallow 2-quart baking dish with a small amount of oil. Scrape the hot polenta into the dish and smooth the top. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until very firm, 2 to 3 hours or up to 2 days.
3. For the pork: Put the marinade and pork in a large zipper-lock bag. Press the air out of the bag, seal, and massage the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 2 days.
4. Remove the pork from the marinade and discard the marinade. Pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle the pork all over with the chimichurri rub, patting it in with your fingers. Let the meat rest at room temperature before grilling, about 1 hour.
5. Heat the grill as directed.
6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the pork on the grill away from the heat, cover, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers about 145°F, 50 to 60 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F.
7. While the pork cooks, cut the polenta into 12 square “cakes.” Coat the tops with oil or oil spray. When the pork is nearly done, grill the polenta cakes directly over the heat until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
8. Using tongs and a spatula for support, remove the pork to a large serving platter. Cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into slices ½ to 1 inch thick and serve with the polenta cakes.
– To save time, replace the polenta with prepared polenta, which is sold in a cylindrical package in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. Slice the cylinder of polenta crosswise about 3/8 inch thick, and grill as directed.
CHOOSING A PORK LOIN ROAST
Cut from the same general area of the pig as pork tenderloin, center-cut pork loin is lean and fine grained in texture. It’s the most popular pork roast sold. But other pork loin roasts can be used in any recipe calling for a center-cut roast. Here’s some anatomy to help you visualize the differences among pork loin roasts. The entire loin runs along either side of the pig’s back, from the shoulder to the hip. The loin muscles closer to the shoulder are worked more heavily and yield a slightly tougher and coarser roast called the blade roast. Loin muscles near the hip are also worked pretty hard and yield the similarly dense sirloin roast. While these bone-in loin roasts are slightly tougher than boneless center-cut pork loin, they’re also juicy and full of flavor because the muscles are more developed. The bones provide a bit of juice and flavor as well.