I have a theory about so many of the highly flavoured and sugar laden ‘rubs’ that are used to enhance pork on the grill. I think that the reason they exist is to try to bring a bit of life to otherwise insipid and uninteresting meat. Some of you may spring to argue with this assertion. You might say “If you ever tasted my Uncle Jessey’s ten chilli rub, you would know how flavour can punch you in the gullet.” or “Sue Ellen does a mean brown sugar, corn syrup and honey wet rub.” I don’t deny that either of these probably have some value to add (Lord help us!). My issue is with the unfortunate meat that so many rubs serve to aggrandise. I’m not trying to cause any friction with my rubbing. I’m just making the case here for high quality meat, a balance of rub flavour and some gentle smoking.
While I’m at it, I’ll give you a delicious simple recipe for a Plum and Ginger Sauce to accompany this Smoked Loin of Pork. My rub is pretty straightforward. I think I have a good balance of ingredients – Not too hot, not too sweet. It needs to be so as to avoid overpowering the meat or the gentle flavour added by the peach wood (Thank you Teddy) used to smoke.
- 1 loin of pork about 2 kilo
- 2 teaspoons of soft brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic flakes
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of hot chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of English mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion salt
Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix.Skin the joint and slash through the fat but not through the meat. This is to allow the rub flavour permeate the meat. Rub the joint all over with the delicious, well balanced rub. Leave the rub to permeate the meat for a few hours. While that is going on, we have time to make a delicious plum and ginger sauce.
- Half a kilo of plums (unripe is OK)
- 5cm piece of ginger root
- Sugar to taste
Place the plums in a saucepan along with the sugar. Slice (roughly) the ginger and add it too. Add a splash of water.Place this on the heat and cook until the plums have reduced to a mush. The ginger flavour will have added itself to the sauce at this stage. The sauce is really delicious (belying the simple nature and short ingredients list). When the plums are completely mush, take the saucepan off the heat and let the mixture cool enough for you to pass it through a sieve.
Place the pork on the barbecue. Note my use of a smoker box to get a gentle peach wood smoke going. It’s important to keep the lid shut and only open it to take the occasional photograph. This loin was cooked in an hour and three quarters.The meat had a lovely gentle smokey flavour and a nice slightly spicy edge. Literally the edge as the rub made that lovely crust. We served it with the sauce and some salad, wrapped in tortillas. I can’t over-emphasise how delicious it was. My rub may not be the hottest, most powerful, cough inducing rub there is. But, I’m not trying to disguise badly reared, poor quality pork. For many, that really is the rub.
In short, the lesson is get great quality ingredients and you won’t have to disguise them with too much flavour. Instead, you can have fun enhancing the flavours and balancing them with some other simple and delicious ingredients. Bon App…