Celebration In Rack of Pork: Smoked and Pan Fried

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:

Dining Room Cabinets On Graph Paper

Here’s what the dining room looked like before I started the project:

Dining Room Before Cabinets

And here is what it looks like now:

After the work

Much improved, wouldn’t you say?

Ummm…

After the work!

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:

Basic Rack of 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.

Roasting the rack in a roasting 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!

Out to the Egg!

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…

Rack of Pork

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”.

The Final Touch

We knew this because the box told us so on it faux leather colored top.

Faux Leather Box

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!

The Final Touch in action

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.

Looking a little boring

After the great show the Final Touch put on, these were looking a little…well…boring. What to do, what to do?

Getting ready to fry

Adding a little salt and pepper went only so far.

Now that's a pork chop!

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!

Pork Roast Chop and Mac-n-Cheese

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.

Blissful State of Kitty

And so ends this particular celebratory adventure. No matter where the journey takes you, please, make sure you enjoy the trip!

This entry was posted in Meat, Techniques, Wine and tagged , , by johngl. Bookmark the permalink.

About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

8 thoughts on “Celebration In Rack of Pork: Smoked and Pan Fried

  1. Bravo! Good work with the cabinets too!

    Someone was just asking me if I could do pork chops, now I have a plan! Thanks again!!

    The conjoined kitties – must make it rough to catch mice.

    Oh – with all the rack innuendoes, I was tempted but restrained myself. The visual of a tough chewy rack was memorable though. (grin)

    • Thanks David! Nice of you to stop in.

      I’m really quite amazed at the difference in flavor comparing a conventional pork chop with those that are freshly cut off a rack. I’ve done them all sorts of ways (sous vide, oven roasted, smoked, and just cut from the rack and pan-seared) and the ones from the rack just have way more pork flavor. I’ve been toying with “pork sirloin” lately and will be posting on that series soon. We recently had some pan-seared chops cut from a 6 hour sous vide pork sirloin that came out fork tender and quite tasty.

      On the cats, I was tempted to refer to them as our “Siamese” twins.

  2. just my opinion, I think you need a backsplash to connect the lower cabinet to the top, visually (fill in the big white gap between). the walls are a bit bright for that dark wood.

    keep at it.

    cheers!

    • I went back and forth on that for a while actually. In the drawing, we mimicked the tile pattern from the butler’s pantry (visible through the archway) with tile.

      These kinds of projects are never quite “done”. 🙂

    • Thank you! We’re rather partial to it ourselves. Once the cabinets went up, it took my most glorious spousal unit about a minute to start putting glassware in it. I admired her restraint.

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