As I mentioned in my last post, cooking with a rack of pork is an entirely new experience for me. I spent hours trying to decide how to prepare it and came up with a list of over 20 different possibilities. I was struggling to choose so I asked Eric for his input. His thought was that when you have such a nice cut of meat, you should let the meat shine and not do too much to interfere with it. That sounded like pretty good logic to me, so I went with it.
When it comes to pork, I am notorious for overcooking it just because I get nervous about it being undercooked. However, armed with a meat thermometor, I no longer worry, especially now that the USDA has lowered the temperature guidelines for pork.
Did you know about that? In May, the USDA reduced the temperature guideline for pork loins, chops and roasts from 160 to 145 degrees F, with a three-minute rest. This will yield a juicy, flavorful product that may be pinker in color than most home cooks are used to. This is so comforting to me. I’ll no longer when I cut a pork roast and see a little pink in the slices as long as the temperature is at least 145 degrees. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve sliced pork and then thrown the plate in the microwave for several minutes just until all of the pink is gone.
I cooked this rack of pork to exactly 145 degrees and it really was tender, juicy and delicious. The herb and garlic crust added the perfect flavor to each bite. We all really enjoyed it and the seconds and thirds that got passed around the table were definitely proof of that!
Herb & Garlic Encrusted Rack of Pork
- 1 head garlic
- 2 T. fresh Rosemary
- 1 T. coarsely ground sea salt
- 2 t. dried thyme
- 2 t. coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 1 5-lb. rack of pork
1. Peel and slice all of the cloves of garlic. Mince garlic along with the fresh Rosemary. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the salt, thyme, pepper and olive oil until thoroughly combined.
2. Place the rack of pork on a foil-lined baking sheet with the bones on the bottom. Press the garlic and herb mixture on top of the pork.
3. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking for about 15 minutes per pound, until the pork reaches 145 degrees. (If the crust starts to brown too quickly, loosely tent with foil and continue cooking.) Remove and let rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing.
As you can see, this rack of pork makes a truly impressive presentation. With the holiday season upon us, I think this would be the perfect main dish for an early Christmas party. It would make a great sit down meal, although since it is so easy to slice into individual pieces, I think it would also be a fun yet impressive addition for a more casual party.
If you want to add a rack of pork to one of your holiday parties this year, I’d love to help you get started! As part of my project with The Motherhood, Costco and The National Pork Board, I have one $25 Costco gift card to giveaway. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. Good luck!