As noted in the tenderloin smoking process previously described in Prof Bill's post, this following post is all about the sauce. For those who value an extremely complimentary sauce, you might try your hand at this one.
Smoked pork-loin roast sauce.
Ø 2 onions, medium, chopped—I used what I had, Yellow, Vidalia onions.
Ø 4 cloves garlic, minced
Ø 6 Granny Smith apples: cored and chopped
Ø 1 lb. sliced portabella mushrooms—I wanted Shitake mushrooms, but out.
Ø 6 fresh Basil leaves loosely chopped [I grow my own at the kitchen door]
Ø 3 sprigs fresh Greek oregano finely minced [ditto above]
Ø 1/8 cup black strap molasses
Ø 1/3 cup sugar—more or less to taste: check it as the sauce simmers
Ø 6 Tbs cornstarch
Ø ½ cup white wine—I used on hand Chablis; but, chardonnay would work too
Ø ALL the pork-loin drippings: the browning oil, smoker drip pan—all of it, and the drippings from the plate after browning.
Assembly of the sauce:
Food chemistry is a new thing for me. Balance of sweet and sour or contrast of salty and sweet is a dangerous experiment unless you taste as you go! You MUST allow the ingredients to simmer about 20 minutes before you add more sugar, salt, or vinegar. However, this "experiment" worked well. I was lucky!
1. Place fully smoked/cooked loin roast in a closed container to keep warm.
2. In a moderately heated Dutch oven, add or scrape all the goodies left over from browning the roast.
3. If not enough oil, add 2-3 Tbs canola or soy oil. Add the onions and sauté until clarified.
4. Lower the cooking temperature to medium. Then, add the garlic, Greek oregano, and Basil. Stir constantly—DO NOT scorch the garlic!
5. Add the mushrooms next and continue stirring until they are soft.
6. Add molasses just ahead of the apples and then dump in all the apples. Keep stirring—forever—and allow them to cook down at medium heat.
7. Start tasting! Too sweet? Too sour? Here is where you start adding sugar—or more vinegar. You are looking for balance, not too sweet or sour.
8. Save back 2 cups liquid from smoker drip pan. Add remainder to the cooked sauce.
9. Keep stirring. Use your third and fourth hands to do the next step.
10. Saved liquid should be cool, so stir in the cornstarch until no lumps.
11. Add the wine and the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and keep stirring.
12. At this point, all ingredients should be inside the Dutch oven, in case I forgot one.
13. Oh, did I mention? Keep stirring—for at least 20 minutes. Then taste for sweet/sour contrast. Stir. If needed, add more apple cider vinegar or sugar. Stir. This is a "to taste" state. Stir until boiling to make cornstarch thicken. A burned bottom is NOT where you want to go with this sauce—especially after the cornstarch thickens. Stir. Otherwise, your burned sauce will be trash. Please stir.
14. The meat will be slightly salty—will contrast well with the sauce and your taste buds will explode with delight!
15. Now, for the final step, place roast on top of the sauce and allow both to keep warm for however long you need to wait for plating.
16. I cooked up rice and fresh broccoli with fresh Basil leaves after pork-loin was in warmer—remember 150 F!!
17. Plating, add ½ cup rice, slice the pork, and place over rice. Spoon sauce over meat and rice: smother it all. Broccoli can go on the side with sour cream. The colors here are critical for eye appeal. White rice, white sour cream::Dark green broccoli—NOT OVER COOKED!! And the browns from the sauce and light white of the meat contrast well. For a final touch, grab a couple more Basil leaves and add them to each plate.
18. The rest is up to your taste buds. Enjoy!