AKA oak-smoked pork loin.
I recently spent a weekend with some old friends in Somerset who have all the kit needed to hot and cold smoke food. As an added bonus, they’re also accomplished wood-turners so they have large bags filled with shavings and tagged with delicious labels like maple, apple, and oak. Fortunately it didn’t take much begging to persuade them to set everything up so we could play.
After four hours of careful tending, the first batch of maple smoked goodies were ready. That night we feasted on cheese, bread, pate and smoked mushrooms cooked in butter (the mushrooms were slightly disappointing). The following day, we loaded up the smoker with oak shavings and more food, including a pork loin.
When the second batch was done, we decided to marinade the pork loin before cooking it. After rooting around in their kitchen cupboards, I assembled a batch of ingredients and went to work. Once the marinade was ready, we realised that the pork had a distinct resemblance to a Goa’uld… complete with mouth, eye, fins, and tail.
That Goa’uld spent the rest of the day and night in the fridge, being shaken every time one of us passed through the kitchen. Meanwhile we learnt that camembert take to smoke well and brie prefers maple smoke over oak. I thought that the oak worked better on cheddar, but my friends preferred maple. Red Leicester on the other hand was delicious with either smoke, as was the bacon. The maple smoked sausages were brilliant and my friends let me take the oak smoked ones home, where they made a truly spectacular toad-in-the-hole.
The next day we roasted the pork loin for 40 minutes at 180C, spooning the marinade over it halfway through, rested it, and then carved it up. Now I’m not the biggest fan of barbeque, but this was probably the best barbeque I’ve ever tasted. Particularly since it was roasted not barbequed! Sweet and succulent, salty and smoky, the flavours mingled and lingered on the palate. Definitely a recipe I’ll be making again.
1 oak-smoked pork loin
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Combine ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Remove from fridge and allow meat 20 minutes to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Pour excess marinade into a bowl or jug and roast pork for 40 minutes, spooning over some of the reserved marinade halfway through. Remove and rest for 5-10 minutes. Carve and serve.