I was walking through Trader Joe's Thursday after picking up something for lunch when I spotted a jar on the shelf that drew my eye; Dark Morello Cherries in light syrup. My wife thinks tart cherries are an aphrodisiac so my mind started whirling how I could use them in the smoker. Just the day before I'd picked up a 6 lb pork loin on sale that was near its "sell by" date of 10/11/14.
While walking through TJ's I threw together a recipe in my mind, picked up a few extras, and bought 7 jars of the cherries (hubba hubba). What I'm documenting below is a total experiment. The loin is smoking as I type and my first batch of experimental glaze is reducing on the stove. We'll see how this turns out. The bummer is my wife won't be back until Sunday so I can taste test this experiment and fine tune it before she gets home. I'll edit the recipe for any changes I make.
Tart Cherry Juice Brined Pork Loin with Cherry Balsamic Glaze
1 Quart Trader Joe's 100% Tart Cherry Juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 5-6 lb Pork Loin (or four 1-1/2 lbs tenderloins).
Course Black Pepper
1 24.7oz Jar of Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries
2 Tbs Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze
2 Tbs Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
1. Mix all brine ingredients in a large bowl until the salt and sugar dissolve. Place pork in brining bag, pot, or cambro. A 2 gallon brining bag works best. Add the brine. Seal and brine in refrigerator for 24-48 hours.
2. Fire up the smoker to 235°F to 250°F using your wood of choice, but cherry is an obvious favorite.
3. While the smoker is coming up to temp remove the pork from the brine. Then sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, Onion, Garlic and very lightly with the cinnamon. I like to smoke pork loins in a 9x13 aluminum roaster so I start with the fat side up so the meat side is exposed to the smoke when I turn it over to do the other side.
4. Smoke until the meat has an IT of 145°F. Remove, cover, and rest.
5. While the meat is smoking, make the Cherry Glaze. Put a jar of the cherries, the glaze, and the optional cherry balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan. Bring to a light boil over medium heat then reduce to a low flame and stir occasionally until the glaze reduces by half and thickens a bit.
6. Slice the pork loin and top with a nice helping of the glaze.
Bag o' brined pork loin.
Nice cherry color.
All rubbed and ready for the smoker.
Loaded smoker and TBS.
Stuff for the glaze.
Glaze almost done.
More to follow soon!