Pepper-Crusted Pork Loin

Source: Cooks Illustrated, October/November 2007
Time and Temperature: 450 F for 15min - 375F for 50min - rest 20
Yield:Serves 6
3tablespoons light brown sugar
2tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
2tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2teaspoons salt
1 (3-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin
1. Combine sugar, pepper, rosemary, and salt and rub all over pork. Let roast stand at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

2. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange pork on V-rack set in roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375 degrees and cook until meat registers 140 degrees, about 50 minutes longer. Transfer pork to cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 20 minutes. Slice pork and serve.

Serve plain or with fruit chutney, applesauce, or our Cherry-Brandy Sauce (see related content).

A spicy, savory crust of crushed peppercorns is the perfect adornment for a relatively bland pork loin, but balancing the two elements in our Pepper-Crusted Pork Loin recipe wasn’t as easy as it seems. Since lean pork doesn’t have enough flavor to stand up to a harsh peppery punch, we had to find a way to deeply infuse our loin with spicy pepper flavor while eliminating the bite. Using coarsely ground pepper in our rub lent moderate heat, spice, and texture to our Pepper-Crusted Pork Loin recipe, and the piney tang of fresh rosemary complemented the pepper. Adding brown sugar to the rub helped tame the heat, while adding salt helped carry flavor into the meat, especially when we let the rubbed roast sit for an hour after it came out of the oven.