Lets us just begin here by acknowledging that a bacon-wrapped maple pork loin is no ordinary, run of the mill dinner. It’s not something I go around whipping up on a regular basis. But I made this last Sunday night and now I get it! Insert sound of me slapping myself on the forehead. This is why people make a big Sunday dinner-leftovers to carry you through the week. Pork sandwiches, pork tacos (try them with goat cheese), noodle soup with pork have all come from this one magic pig dinner. Look for recipes for the last 2 coming soon.
I found the brine does not yield a huge amount of liquid so I ended up brining the meat in a long narrow pan to make sure it was totally submerged. Begin to brine the day before you plan to roast it and you’ll feel like you’re ahead of the game.
For brining pork
- 8 cups water
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B or amber)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (4- to 4 1/2-lb) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
For roasting pork
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B or amber)
- 16 bacon slices (about 1 lb)
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon water
Combine all brining ingredients except pork loin in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and heat over high heat, stirring, until salt is dissolved. Pour brine into a deep 4- to 5-quart pot; cool to room temperature, uncovered, about 2 hours.
Add pork to brine, making sure it is completely covered by brine, and marinate, covered and chilled, 8 to 24 hours.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Pat pork dry (discard brine) and remove any strings, then transfer to a roasting pan. Stir together garlic, sage, and 1 tablespoon syrup in a small bowl and rub all over pork. Lay bacon slices crosswise over loin, overlapping slightly, and tuck ends of bacon underneath loin.
Roast pork until thermometer registers 140°F, about 1 1/4 hours. Stir together 1 tablespoon syrup and vinegar until combined. Brush vinegar mixture over bacon slices and continue to roast pork until thermometer registers 150°F, about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let stand in pan 15 minutes. Transfer roast to a cutting board with a lip, reserving juices in pan, and let roast stand, uncovered, while making sauce.
Skim fat from pan juices and discard, then transfer jus to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir together cornstarch and water and whisk into jus. Simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon syrup. Serve pork with sauce.