Prime rib roast dominates the holiday table. But what if we told you that a rack of pork can be just as delicious, just as impressive to present to a crowd and that it costs a whole lot less? This year, mix things up and save a few bucks with a whiskey-glazed roast pork.
THE MEAT: A rack of pork is essentially the baby back ribs still attached to the pork chops.
THE METHOD: By cooking the rack of pork whole, you get a nice bark on the outside while maintaining incredibly tender meat inside. Added bonus: The bones will add flavor throughout the cooking process. Near the end of cooking we glaze ours with a combination of bacon, whiskey, apple cider, maple syrup—basically all the things you want on top of pork.
THE MEAL: To round out your holiday dinner, slice the pork into double chops, top it with the reserved glaze and serve with mashed potatoes and something green. And of course, more whiskey.
Whiskey-Glazed Pork Roast
For the pork:
1 rack of pork, 6-8 pounds
¼ cup grainy dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly-ground black pepper
For the glaze:
3 slices bacon, cut into lardons
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons whiskey
¼ cup apple cider
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
⅓ grainy dijon mustard
Rub the pork rack with the mustard and olive oil. Then season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow to sit covered in the fridge for a few hours if you have the time.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat your smoker or oven to 375ºF.
In the meantime, prepare the glaze by cooking the bacon lardons over medium heat until they are crispy, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for one minute. Add the whiskey and allow it to cook for a minute or two. Add the cider, brown sugar, maple syrup and mustard and stir well. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and then turn off the flame. Remove from the heat, and set half aside for serving. (One half will be presented at the dinner table and the other applied directly to the meat in two stages.)
Cook the roast (on a baking sheet if using an indoor oven) for one hour. At that point, brush on about half of the reserved glaze (so, a quarter of the glaze you just made). Allow it to cook for another 20 minutes and then brush the with the remaining fourth of the glaze. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from the smoker or the oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the reserved glaze.