Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork is an easy meal that’s fancy enough to impress at Christmas, Easter, or any special-occasion dinner. The roast is cut into gigantic chops that are more than enough for one person (I usually eat half of one).
Near the holidays, one of my favorite roasts appears at wholesale clubs. Rack of pork, a.k.a., pork rib roast. These roasts inevitably turn into one of my favorite easy, fancy-pants meals: Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork. This is a very hands-off meal because the oven does the work for you. The roast gets cut into gorgeous individual servings consisting of brontosaurus-sized chops (I exaggerate…slightly). I can never polish off an entire chop myself, but I never have to worry: Phil is always there to “help me.”
As a side note, I also turn into a vulture around holidays. By this I mean that I start watching meat specials at the supermarket and my favorite wholesale club, not only noticing what’s on sale, but also taking note of the sell-by dates on my favorite cuts of meat. I revisit the store a few days before said sell-by dates and I almost always score some really good meat at a truly fantastic price. It’s a great trick that I learned only very recently.
Back to that Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork. These roasts are usually sold vacuum-packed in brine, already Frenched.
I always rinse the pork well before roasting it because the brine usually contains other stinky things like nitrates and phosphates. We want as little of that as possible in our roast. I score the meat so I can rub my herby-garlicky-mustardy mixture into the fat cap and the meat itself. After that, the total roasting time rarely exceeds 1.5 hours.
Another aside here: I used to hate pork because it was almost always overcooked and dry. That’s because the recommended cooking temperature used to be 160º F. At this temperature, pork adopts a sad, grey color and a consistency that approximates shoe leather. But a few years ago, the USDA relaxed these guidelines: it now recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145º F: the pork is still succulent—and yes, still a bit on the pink side. RELAX. It’s delicious.
When the meat has rested sufficiently, I cut the herb-roasted rack of pork into chops, using the bones as guides. I love to serve these chops with stuffing (I added cranberries to this recipe), although I’ve also served with Meal-Prep Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Irish Colcannon with Cabbage and Leeks, Piquant Cabbage-Bacon-Onion Saute or even a salad (like my Arugula-Shaved-Fennel Salad). I haven’t posted the recipe for the scalloped potatoes in the photo below, but I will soon!
If you have leftover Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork, slice it up thinly and use it in my decadent Cubano Quesadillas!
I hope your family loves this festive roast. Happy Holidays!
P.S. If you need some ideas for how to use up your leftovers, check out my post on Using up Leftovers!
- #CookBlogShare (coming soon!), a great food blogger recipe-share hosted this week at Everyday Healthy Recipes.
- #CookOnceEatTwice, for recipes that are just as good left-over as they are when you made them, hosted by Searching for Spice.
- The What’s For Dinner Sunday Linkup (coming soon!) at The Lazy Gastronome.
- Delicious Dishes Recipe Party, a weekly link party where bloggers share their most delicious recipes and check out other bloggers’ amazing recipes, hosted by Walking on Sunshine.
Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork
- 1 ~3-lb. bone-in pork rib roast, - Frenched*, excess fat removed (leaving a thin fat layer on top)
- 3 cloves garlic, - minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, - chopped
- 3 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- Carefully rinse the pork and pat dry with paper toweling. Score the fat (make shallow cuts in a criss-cross pattern). Mix the remaining ingredients and rub the mixture evenly over the meat, down into the score cuts, and in between the rib bones. Place roast (fat side up) on a rack set in a roasting pan (line the pan with aluminum foil first if you want an easier clean-up). Place the roasting pan in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350º F and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer (inserted into the thickest part of the meat) reads 137º F (~45 additional minutes to an hour)**.
- Remove the roast to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for at least 20 minutes (the temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests.
- Slice into chops, using the rib bones as guides. Arrange on a platter and serve.
|Piquant Cabbage-Bacon-Onion Saute: perhaps the perfect side dish for roast pork. Tangy, smoky, and slightly sweet, I almost named it “Sweet ‘n’ Sauerkraut”.|
|Easy Sausage Stuffing: this vintage recipe has been a fixture on the Thanksgiving/ Christmas Day table for decades. Perfect for any festive occasion involving pork, turkey, duck, or Cornish game hens.|
|Perfect Meal-Prep Creamy Mashed Potatoes: great for busy weeknights or big events where you want to work ahead as much as possible. Peeling and pre-soaking ahead of time removes a lot of the hands-on work from go-time.|
|Ultimate Classic Roast Turkey turns out perfectly juicy every time thanks to a wine-and-butter-soaked cheesecloth that keeps the turkey from drying out for most of the roasting time.|