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Grilling for Father's Day

June 16, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Grilling for Father's Day

One of the most enduring images of American suburban life (Al's background, as it happens) is the Dad of the Family holding court grillside in the backyard.  And for many of us,  there is something near perfect about a fiery grill, a set of tongs, a big hunk of meat and a gaggle of hungry people. So this Father's Day, we thought we'd toss out few ideas for the grill.

The Rotisserie - is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit – a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or charcoal grill. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs or turkeys, but works just as well on chickens or roasts. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous basting.

There are a large variety of commercial rotisseries available on the market plus a number of DIY videos on the internet.

Cuban Pork Loin

12 medium garlic cloves
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 1 medium orange)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 medium limes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4- to 4-1/2-pound) boneless pork loin

Place all of the ingredients except the pork in a blender and blend until smooth; set aside.

Have 6 (16-inch) lengths of butcher’s twine ready. To butterfly the pork, place the meat on a cutting board with one end pointing toward you. Slice lengthwise down the center, almost but not quite cutting through the pork, leaving about 3/4- to 1-inch thickness of meat intact. Open the pork up like a book and push on it to flatten.

Starting on the left side, with the blade of the knife parallel to the cutting board and the blade facing left, slice down the length of the seam, maintaining the 3/4- to 1-inch thickness. Pull the meat open and press down to flatten. Continue cutting and flattening until the entire left half is 3/4- to 1-inch thickness. Rotate the pork and repeat on the other half.

Flip the pork over so that it is cut-side down. Using your hands, rub half of the garlic mixture on the top surface of the pork. Flip the pork again and rub it with the remaining half of the garlic mixture.

Starting on the right side, roll the pork into a tight cylinder. Tie it up crosswise with the twine pieces, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Trim off any excess twine. Transfer the pork loin to a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours.

Slide the spit through the center of the pork lengthwise and push the pork until it’s firmly embedded on the fork tines.

Attach the other pronged fork with the tines facing inward and slide it down until it’s firmly embedded in the pork. If necessary, adjust the forks and pork so that they are centered on the spit. Tighten both forks into place; set aside.

When the grill is ready, load the pointed end of the spit onto the rotisserie motor. If you’d like,place a sheet tray of assorted vegetables directly on the grill grates underneath the pork. I like to use onions, red peppers, green beans and whole cloves of garlic tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Turn on the rotisserie motor, cover the grill, and cook, stirring the vegetables every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 145°F, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Turn off the rotisserie motor, rotisserie burner, and grill burners. Using potholders or kitchen towels, carefully remove the spit to a cutting board and loosen the forks. Remove the pork from the spit and remove the forks.

Tent the pork loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Remove the tray of vegetables from the grill and cover with aluminum foil. Cut and discard the twine from the pork. Cut the meat crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with the vegetables.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.