Posted by johngl
I’m gonna warn you ahead of time: this post contains digressions. If you are looking for a recipe for smoked rack of pork, you may want to go elsewhere. On the other hand, if you are more into real life adventures, you may just want to hang out and stay a while.
Firstly, the celebration part of this has to do with my dining room. Most glorious spousal unit and I came up with a design for 1) extra storage space, 2) a serving bar, and 3) something that looked cooler than a blank wall. This idea was four years in the making and began with this pencil on graph-paper sketch circa 2007:
Here’s what the dining room looked like before I started the project:
And here is what it looks like now:
Much improved, wouldn’t you say?
Okay, that’s just a little better. Strangely, I actually followed the original design pretty well.
And there you have why we were celebrating!
Now, for the pork:
This is your basic rack of pork. Some refer to it as a “crown roast” but that actually requires two racks formed into a circular crown with the bones pointing up. There are only two of us, so while the crown moniker may look and sound cooler, I’m sticking with rack. Most guys enjoy a nice rack.
Now, in the shot above you may notice that I am in the process of pulling off the silver skin. Some folks like to leave that in place. I’m not sure why. It’s tough and chewy. Nobody likes a tough and chewy rack.
Above is a shot of the rack in a roasting…well…ummm…rack. This is great roasting rack. This way, it can (obviously) hold a rack of pork. It can fit two chickens or a good-sized turkey or even a prime rib. If you flip it over and use it the other way, it can hold a half-dozen racks of baby backs keeping them separated and allowing for good air (or smoke) circulation all around. When not in use, this is also a great organizer for sauce pan lids. A serious multi-tasker! Alton Brown would be proud!
After a good salting and peppering (yes, really that is all it got), the rack made its way out to my Big Green Egg outfitted with a few unglazed quarry tile. This keeps it out of the way of direct heat and still allows for good air circulation all around. I had the Egg at around 200°F. I have a more detailed explanation of a rack of pork smoked in an Egg here if you’d care to look. If not, please continue reading.
A few hours later…
The roast has taken on that pinkish hue of a ham. It smells like bacon. The smell alone causes my Pavlovian inner-dog to bark with joy.
And now a word about packaging.
Most glorious spousal unit and I were wandering through Williams-Sonoma the other day and noticed this little gem called the “Final Touch”.
We knew this because the box told us so on it faux leather colored top.
It actually made me want to touch it. And I did. Then I felt completely silly knowing I’d fallen prey to some marketing guy’s ploy to get me to pay attention to a cardboard box. A box! I am so ashamed!
In reality, I didn’t even notice the box until after I got it home. You see, they had this Final Touch displayed in its shiny twisted-glass laboratory-like glory. I’m a mad scientist at heart (this shouldn’t surprise anyone) and combining shiny along with laboratory…well, I just had to have it.
Wine aeration thingys are all the rage these days. You’ll see them everywhere in about 20 different formats. You may even get one as a gift … though not from me. I’ve resisted buying or trying any number of these devices for well over a year. But, with this one’s twisty glass drippy thingy, not to mention the inclusion of a cool decanter (we already have like six wine decanters), my inner Dr. Frankenstein won out.
And you know what? The damn thing actually works!
Here’s the Final Touch in action. Note how it evenly distributes the wine over the entire surface of the upper part of the bulb. This allows oxygen to enter the wine and entertains you at the same time! If you were high, you could even get into the swirly patterns it makes while the wine slowly meanders its way down the sides. Fascinating!
You may wonder what effect it actually had on the wine. This was a Saint Esprite 2007 Côtes Du Rhône and the tannins were a bit forward on the initial pre-aeration tasting. We tasted the wine again immediately after it cycled through the swirly thingy. The result: a considerably softer wine. Definitely a thumbs up.
Also, please notice that yummy-smelling rack of pork in the background…quiet, it’s resting.
After the rest, I sliced off a couple of hunks of pork.
After the great show the Final Touch put on, these were looking a little…well…boring. What to do, what to do?
Adding a little salt and pepper went only so far.
A little corn starch dusted over the chop and a minute per side in a screaming hot cast iron skillet gave these chops that zip I was seeking.
Coupling that with most glorious spousal unit’s delicious mac’n’cheese, and we’ve got ourselves some good eats!
I deglazed the skillet with a bit of Cognac, then spooned the thickened mixture over the chop. The mac’n’cheese was finished with some super-premium black pepper courtesy of Penzey’s. The wine went amazingly well with the infused smokiness in the chop and the natural peppery flavors in the Côtes Du Rhône blended ever so perfectly with that Penzey’s pepper.
Even the kitties enjoyed our bliss.
And so ends this particular celebratory adventure. No matter where the journey takes you, please, make sure you enjoy the trip!