Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spiral Stuffed Spinach Pork Loin... Slow Smoked on a Grill

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There is so much going on here... The stuffing is absolutely delicious.  It is a cooked cheesy baby spinach dish that would stand alone at any meal.  There is a flavorful Mustard rub seasoned with Cajun spices  Combine this with the cooking method that wraps pork around the stuffing, insuring the moisture of the stuffing helps to keep the pork fork tender and helps add flavors.  Lots going on, but in steps his is easy and any home griller can do this

By spiral cutting the loin (easier than it sounds), you also put a fork full of stuffing with each fork full of pork... The illusive One Wonderful bite!

 There are two tricks to this dish.  First is to do the spiral cutting.All you do is take a SHARP SHARP SHARP knife (I like to use a long thin boning knife) and start slicing 1 inch into loin.  Continue to roll the loin out as you continue to cut keeping the roll the same 1 inch width.  It does look, sound and appear intimidating, but really once you get the hang of it, it is very easy.

Once the loin is stuffed and rolled, time to tie it up so it does not unravel.  They make specialty rubber bands that are grill and oven safe that make this very easy.  But if you do not have them, ask your butcher for a length of "Butcher's Twine" and tie this up.  There are certainly correct ways, but as long as you do tie the ends, there really is not a wrong way.

BUT THERE IS A WRONG WAY TO TIE THE ENDS... And this photo shows the wrong way.  The ends need to be tied TIGHT so the stuffing does not ooze out.  Unfortunately I got involved and I do not have a photo of this bad boy trussed properly.  I used one of those specialty rubber bands and doubled wrapped it so it was sealed.  The ends are not pretty enough to serve to guests, but were great for a leftover Fritatta.

And the rest are simple grilling techniques giving you the best opportunity for success...
  • I did Brine the pork prior to spiral slicing and serving.
  • I set my grill up for indirect grilling, meaning I left one set of burners off in a gas grill and positioned the meat between the burners that are on.  This allows hot air to circulate around the meat without a concentration of heat on the bottom (which would force turning frequently for even cooking).  Of course this is just as easy with a coal grill, just make two piles of coal pushed to the sides.
  • Slow and low is a smoker's/griller's term we like to use... Slow cooking (long time) using low temperatures.  In a smoker I would cook this at about 250 degrees for about 3 hours, reaching an internal temperature of 145 degrees.  When I cook on a grill I set the temp just a bit higher, about 300 degrees.  It took right at 1 hour 15 minutes for this to reach proper temperature.
  • Best to use a remote probe grilling thermometer so you do not have to open the grill lid.  You are using your grill as an oven.  Same as baking cookies, if you open the oven, you lose your heat and your cookies take longer to cook and actually cook unevenly. 
  • BUT, if you must open the grill to check temperature, check the internal temperature of the meat every 15 minutes.
  • Once internal temp of 145 is reached, remove the meat from the grill and allow the dish to "rest" undisturbed for 10 minutes prior to cutting.
  • And a cutting trick... Have a friend hold a small plate on each end as you cut from the center.  This helps preserve the look of the spiral cut and keeps the stuffing inside.  Cut all slices with the friend holding the meat together providing pressure on the plates before you plate the slices.
And that's it... you can do this!!!

OK... Here's what I did...

Spiral Stuffed Spinach Pork Loin

  • For the Brine...
  • 4 Cups Water PLUS 2 Cups ICE
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 4 Pound Pork Loin
  • For the Stuffing...
  • 1 Pound Spinach, stems removed
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • 4 TBS Flour
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, small dice
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 6 Slices Provolone Cheese
  • For the Mustard Cajun Spice Rub
  • 4 TBS Cajun Spice Mix
  • 4 TBS Whole grain Mustard
  • Top of a PineaTo create whiffs of smoke during Grilling
Cooking Directions
  1. First, brine the pork loin... In a large soup pot, bring 4 cups water to a gentle simmer.
  2. Add the Salt and Sugar and stir to mix.
  3. Remove this from the heat and add the ice to cool.
  4. Add the pork making sure that the pork is covered by the brine water. Add additional water if needed.
  5. Set this covered in the refrigerator for 4 hours, up to overnight.
  6. Rinse the brine off the pork. Allow to air dry while you prepare the spinach stuffing.
  7. For the Stuffing... In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat
  8. Add the flour and stir until combined and heated. Be careful to stir constantly, do not let the butter mixture burn.
  9. Add the Onions and walnuts and continue to stir until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  10. Add the spinach and stir until all the spinach has wilted
  11. Add the Half and Half and stir to mix
  12. Add the Parmesan Cheese and Nutmeg and stir again until the sauce has thickened, another 3-5 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes while you spiral cut the pork loin.
  14. See notes above on how to spiral cut the loin.
  15. Once cut, line the pork with slices of Provolone Cheese, leaving a 1 inch space all around the 4 edges.
  16. Spread the stuffing mix on top of the provolone.
  17. Gently roll up the loin, being careful to not press hard or the stuffing comes out the sides.
  18. Truss the loin, tie the loin so it does not unravel while cooking. Gentile tension in the center, but twice the tension on the ends so the stuffing does not ooze out. Some will, just continue to push it back in as you truss.
  19. For the Rub, combine the Mustard and Cajun Spices and rub this around the outside.
  20. Grill using indirect heat until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees (see helpful tips above).
  21. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing, again, see helpful tips above on slicing instructions.
  22. Serve Warm and ENJOY!!!

Good enough for a brave husband to serve to his wife's friends and neighbors (see the last couple of  posts for the story of my grilling dinner for the neighborhood book club)!

And come back tomorrow to see the final course, a dessert worthy of the girls!!!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Grilling Time Secret Extras" or "52 Ways to Cook BBQ and Grilling Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop... Over 100 in one grilling season (I love to grill!). But not just leat... Drinks, Condiments (LOTS of different BBQ sauces), Drinks, Desserts... even specialty items like GRILLED Pizza, and fun shaped Watermelons.  Easy and these ideas will make you the MASTER of your Backyard Domain!


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