Stuffed Pork Loin

I really enjoy grilled pork loin – it’s quick, cheap, tasty, and very versatile. It’s the first thing I reach for when we’ve got guests to feed on short notice. The only issue I have with it is that pigs have been bred to be so lean that this cut can dry out pretty easily.

The solution – stuff it.

Here’s a 3 pound chunk of loin that I butterflied. Just cut the loin almost in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch and a quarter of meat joining the 2 halves. Spread the halves apart, like opening a book, and then slice each remaining half almost in half, again leaving about an inch and a quarter uncut. Spread open these halves. Place the butterflied pork between two sheets of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to flatten the pork to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle the top side of pork with with kosher sea salt and fresh-ground pepper.

Now stuff it as you see fit. There are no real rules on this other than you need about a 3/4 cup of stuffing the fill a 3 pound loin. I like to use a cheese, a leaf, and an accent. This one was stuffed with oil-marinated mozzarella, spinach leaves, and hearts of palm. Other tasty combinations are ricotta, spinach, and artichoke hearts; or grated Parmesan, fresh basil, and black olives; or gorgonzola, fresh sage, and reconstituted dried fruit. Use your imagination.

Whatever filling you use, spread it on evenly, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Starting at narrow end, roll pork around the filling. Tie the loin off at 1 1/2-inch intervals to keep it together. Rub pork with olive oil and sprinkle the top side of pork with with more kosher sea salt and fresh-ground pepper.

Place pork, seam side up, on the grate and grill indirectly at 350°F to 400°F for about an hour, or until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of roast reaches 145°F. When roast is done, move to a plate and let it rest 10 minutes before slicing.

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