Okay, there weren’t any funny stories surrounding the pork roast, nor any noteworthy failures. It’s a tried-and-true recipe of mine. The only funny thing was how little it mattered in my mind by the time we got to it. The sixth course? Madness! I figured everyone to be stuffed like Strasbourg geese at this point. I just didn’t care. Strangely, my friends did – I sent around a platter just for form’s sake, and not only did it come back empty, but my guests took it upon themselves to get up and carve themselves some more!
Let’s take a moment to give thanks for bacon. Is there anything it can’t do? Bacon has the magical property of being able to make even other cuts of itself better. Nothing can’t be improved by the addition of bacon. In this case, pork tenderloin. The recipe calls for an actual pork roast, and the drippings are required to coat the vegetables in a delightful patina of pig fat (which as we’ve established, makes everything better). Knowing what would have come before, though, I settled on some pork tenderloins to get a smaller cross-section of roast for my overfed guests. Plus Costco sells them for an absurdly low price.
Trouble was, these tenderloins looked pretty lean. Where was I going to get my beautiful beautiful fat to fall all over my vegetables? Well, since I wanted to do two tenderloins I was going to be tying them together anyway, so while I was at it I wrapped it in a protective bundle of bacon. There’s lots to be said for premium bacon brands like Harvest if you’re actually cooking bacon to eat for breakfast, but for wrapping scallops or tenderloins or anything else, go cheap and fatty. It’s really the fat you’re after anyway.
As you can see from the photo, by this time my guests had started to arrive already. Fortunately it wasn’t going to be race; there’d be plenty of time to get the pork roast cooked while we worked our way through the preceding courses. On the upside, this would have been a tricky photo to take by myself.
You know, I have some friends who are vegetarians, and to me it just seems a lot like wearing a hair shirt. Some people do it, for reasons that must seem compelling to them, and they typically have some sort of ethical justification for it, but in either case it seems like a joyless and uncomfortable way to shuffle through life. I choose to follow the prophet Denis Leary, who uttered the brilliant phrase “Eggplant will always taste like eggplant, but meat tastes like murder, and murder tastes pretty God-damned good, doesn’t it?” Yes it does, Denis, yes it does!
My new goal is to see how many things I can successfully improve by wrapping them in bacon. My guess is that it will be a long and fruitful project. In this case, however, it improved red potatoes, white potatoes, and baby carrots by light-years. It could even be argued that it improved the pork tenderloin itself. Ahh! Well, let’s just feast our eyes on the results there.
So now it’s time for me to confess my little Big Green Egg heresy. Are any of the faithful still reading, gladdened by its mention in the first two posts? You should avert your eyes. No doubt this will particularly gall my friend Doug. Anyway, this recipe involves cooking the roast and vegetables together, thus soaking the veggies in pig fat (which makes everything better, yes). Now you can do this in the Big Green Egg, and I did give it a try. Put the potatoes and carrots in a drip pan below the rack I was cooking the roast on, and all is well. The veggies burned more than they do in the oven, but not uncontrollably so, and they are supposed to brown a little. No, the trouble is for me that pork is a white meat with a pleasant, subtle flavour. I don’t actually like it done in the Big Green Egg, it’s too smoky. Sure, I could claim convenience and the fact that I was using the Egg for other things in the dinner, but mostly those other things were mere justifications after the fact. I just prefer my pork roast done in the oven. There, I’ve said it. I’m an apostate in the eyes of the church of the Big Green Egg.
This recipe is a combination of two recipes, one for pork roast and one for herbed vegetables, both from different books of Company’s Coming. Once again done right by Madame Jean Paré. I’ve also done a little bit of modification. Still, for the originals check out The Rookie Cook and The Pork Book.
Pork Roast with Oven-Roasted Baby Potatoes
2½ lbs. Boneless pork shoulder butt roast, rolled and tied, OR
2 pork tenderloins and 6-8 strips of bacon, tied together
1 bag baby carrots, around 1 lb.
1 bag unpeeled baby white potatoes, around 1½-2 lbs.
1 bag unpeeled baby red potatoes, around 1½-2 lbs.
1 bag boiler onions, or 2 small onions cut into wedges
6 garlic cloves, or 1½ tsp. minced
2 tbsp. olive oil (or cooking oil)
2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. parsley flakes
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Italian no-salt seasoning (such as Mrs. Dash)
½ tbsp. seasoned salt
- Combine the minced garlic, oil, salt, pepper, paprika, parsley, and thyme in a small bowl until consistency of thick paste.
- Rub paste over roast until coated. If doing tenderloins, just coat the tenderloins and put the strips of bacon overtop.
- Place on wire rack in roasting pan. Cover. Cook in 350°F oven for 45 minutes.
- Arrange potatoes and carrots around roast in pan.
- Melt butter in small saucepan on medium-low. Combine next four ingredients. Stir.
- Pour mixture over vegetables. Stir. Cover. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes more, until roast is done. Ideally, use a meat thermometer to check doneness.
- Remove roast. Cover with foil. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
- Stir vegetables in roasting pan. Increase heat to 450°F. Cook uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, until starting to brown. Serve with roast.