Pale Ale Pork Loin for the Grill

By DirectHeat
August 12, 2012
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Author Notes: Pork loin belongs on the grill. I wanted to give this recipe the salty bite of soy without going Asian, and cooking with beer is well within my comfort zone, especially on Sunday afternoon when the children are napping. To get outside the traditional flavor profile that accompanies soy sauce and orange, I used whole and ground fennel (borrowed from my favorite recipe for pork shoulder) and beer. I chose an American India Pale Ale (Starr Hill Northern Lights from Virginia) with a great sticky pine profile thanks to a generous dose of Cascade and Willamette hops -- though any Pale Ale will do. Pork loin readily responds to the acidity of a beer like this, which cuts the salty intensity of soy. The result is balanced yet flavorful, distinctly American and perfect anytime of year.DirectHeat

Serves: 8

  • 3 lbs pork loin or tenderloins
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) Pale Ale
  • 1 cup orange juice + finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 T lightly crushed fennel seeds (for marinade) + 1 tsp ground fennel seeds (for rub)
  • 1 tsp red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the marinade, mix together beer, orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, garlic, lightly crushed fennel seeds, and red chile flakes. Combine with pork loin and marinate in a sealable plastic bag for two hours in the refrigerator, turning if necessary.
  2. Combine kosher salt, ground fennel, and black pepper for a rub. Set aside.
  3. Prepare charcoal grill or heat gas grill to medium-high.
  4. Remove pork loin from marinade. Dry thoroughly to promote a good sear. Rub the salt//fennel/pepper rub evenly over all sides of the pork loin. Immediately before grilling, apply a thin coat of olive oil to the pork loin.
  5. Sear all four sides of the pork loin on the grill for 90-120 seconds per side, closing the grill between rotations. After starting the sear on the fourth side, reduce heat to low.
  6. Move pork loin to indirect heat, turning it only as necessary and ideally just once. Insert a probe thermometer at this point. Cook the pork loin up to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (USDA recommendation) or to your preference. Remember, the internal temperature of the pork loin will rise by roughly five degrees during resting, so pull your pork loin off the grill at 140 degrees F if 145 is your target temperature. You definitely want to avoid drying out the roast.
  7. Rest the pork loin for at least ten minutes before slicing. I prefer ½ to ¾ inch slices, but I always cut any leftovers thin for cold pork sandwiches.

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