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Barbecue Secrets

Jul 12, 2006

Hey, barbecue fans. Welcome to another Barbecue Secrets video podcast.  This spring I was a guest on Vancouver's Global Morning News demonstrating plank cooking recipes from my new book, Planking Secrets. With the kind help of Sharron Bates of Global I'm re-broadcasting them on this podcast, and I'm posting the recipes from each show here on the podcast blog. This is the second of five segments.

Planked Pork Loin Roast with Whisky-Apricot Glaze (From Planking Secrets)

Serves 4 to 6

In this recipe the aromatic, spicy, mildly astringent flavor of the cedar smoke nicely complements the sweetness and richness of the pork. The trick with plank-cooking a roast this big is to get the plank smoldering on a high or medium-high heat, and then turn it down to medium as soon as you get the meat on. Serve slices of the pork with roasted vegetables on the side and, if you like, some Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

1 cedar cooking plank, soaked overnight or at least 1 hour
one 14-oz./398 mL can apricot halves in light syrup
1/4 cup/50 mL Dijon mustard
1/4 cup/50 mL Jack Daniel's whisky
1/4 cup/50 mL brown sugar
1/4 cup/50 mL apricot jam
pinch cayenne pepper
one 3-lb./1.5-kg pork loin roast with a 1/8-inch/3-mm fat cap
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprigs fresh parsley and thyme for garnish

Open the can of apricots and drain the syrup into a medium-sized saucepan, reserving the fruit. Add the mustard, Jack Daniel's, brown sugar, apricot jam, and cayenne to the syrup. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring to melt the sugar and the jam. When it looks like a smooth, fairly thick sauce (about 5 minutes), take it off the heat and set it in a bowl of ice cubes to cool.

Lightly score the fat cap of the pork loin in a diamond pattern. Season it with salt and pepper, and set the meat on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spoon half of the mustard-whisky mixture over the loin and pat it all over to coat. Wrap the foil around the meat, sealing it as best you can. Place the wrapped loin in the meat drawer of your fridge. Let it sit for a couple of hours at least, but overnight if possible.

Combine the remaining half of the sauce with the reserved apricot halves, cover and refrigerate.

Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5 or 10 minutes or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°C. Rinse the plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4 or 5 minutes, or until it's starting to throw off a bit of smoke and crackling lightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Place the marinated pork loin on the plank fat side up. Cover the grill and cook for 1 hour, checking periodically for flare-ups.

At the one-hour mark, take the reserved apricots out of the sauce mixture and place them on the plank next to the roast. Baste the roast with some of the sauce and cook for about another 10 or 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 140°C.  Take off the roast and lightly tent it in foil.

Transfer the apricot halves to a cutting board and coarsely chop them. Warm the remaining sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave and add the chopped apricots. Let the roast rest for at least 15 minutes (while it's resting, roast some vegetables on the grill). Carve the roast into 1/2-inch/1-cm slices and serve on warmed plates with a spoonful of the apricots and sauce. Garnish with sprigs of parsley and thyme.

Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk is the author of Planking Secrets: How to Grill with Wooden Planks for Unbeatable Barbecue Flavor, and Barbecue Secrets: Unbeatable Recipes, Tips & Tricks from a Barbecue Champion, published by Whitecap Books. Find him, and more recipes, at