It’s practically summer, which means we’ll retire our indoor oven for the next few months and do all of our cooking outside, either on our trusty Weber Grill or the Big Green Egg. This week, we’re cooking a big, fancy rack of pork on the grill.
The MEAT: A rack of pork is the baby-back ribs with the loin still attached. When you slice it, it will be reminiscent of a bone-in pork chop. That’s because a rack of pork is basically all of the best pork chops a pig has to offer all in one long row (it’s also the pork version of a beef prime rib roast). We order ours “French cut,” which means the butcher trims the rib bones so it looks pretty and is super easy to cut. We also recommend you find a butcher who has access to Berkshire pork. Berkshire is a rare, heritage breed of pig known for possessing succulent richness, juicy marbling and amazing texture. The one we cooked was 10 bones and weighed about 6 pounds, but your butcher should be able get you any size.
The METHOD: We utilize one of our favorite methods of grilling for these bad boys. It’s a two-step, two-zone process and it involves both charcoal and wood. Set up the grill for indirect grilling, then place the coals under half the grate. Sear the pork directly over the fire to give it a bit of a char on the outside, then move it to the other side of the grate away from the fire and add soaked wood chips to the fire so the pork gets a healthy dose of smoke throughout the rest of the cook. This process gives the end product a dark and flavorful bark but also ensures that the meat will cook evenly and be juicy throughout.
The MEAL: If you slice the pork parallel to the rib bones you’ll have delicious pork chop-esque hunks of meat. We like to double cut the ribs so they look primal on the plate (plus, more meat!). Definitely let the rack sit for a half hour or more before slicing otherwise you will lose a lot of the juices. Bonus: the meat will just get smokier in the fridge overnight so don’t forget to snag some bread and mayo at the store—you’ve got a killer sandwich in your future!
Grill-Smoked Berkshire Pork Rack
6-pound Berkshire rack of pork, French cut
¼ cup mustard
Freshly-cracked black pepper
Your favorite barbecue rub
You’ll also need: a grill, charcoal and 10 wood chips, soaked in water for one hour.
Before preparing the grill, pull the meat out of the fridge and cover it with the mustard. Season liberally with salt, pepper and your favorite barbecue rub.
Set your grill up for indirect grilling. Sear the pork directly over the flame, about 2 minutes per side. Move the pork to the other side of the grate away from the fire and add wood chips to the fire.
Cook for 45 minutes, add 8-10 coals to the fire, then wrap the pork in tin foil to protect the outside from burning and rotate it 180º for even cooking. Place the lid back on the grill and cook for about a half hour more, until the internal temp reaches 140ºF.