The Pork Rib Roast is an underappreciated cut. When cooked right, this roast is tender and flavorful. We start with a brine and then add a simple rub to make the most of this cut. It truly makes the Perfect Holiday Pork Rib Roast. Best of all, it is a less expensive cut than the beef equivalent.
What is a Pork Rib Roast?
Similar in appearance to a rack of lamb, a pork rib roast consists of the pork loin section with the rib bones still attached. It is an impressive cut of meat that is half the cost of a beef prime rib and a great candidate for the grill, smoker, or oven. Most of us are familiar with the pork crown roast, or a pork rib roast tied into a circular shape, then cooked. Other names for this cut include rack of pork and pork prime rib. Before cooking a pork rib roast, the bone section must be trimmed of fat or frenched. The average pork rib roast will weigh approximately 4-6 pounds.
Why brine a pork rib roast?
I like to use a wet brine on a pork loin before cooking it on the grill. Brining helps to plump up the meat and increases the moisture and juiciness factor. You do not have to do this, but I highly recommend it, especially if unfamiliar with this cut of meat. I added a little honey and sugar to the brine because these two sweeteners work well with pork.
Making and using a wet brine for pork:
-Dissolve the sugar and honey in 1-quart of water. Add your salt. Remove pan from heat, and add 5 quarts of cold water and bay leaves.
–Let the brine cool completely before using.
-Trim your pork rib roast! If your butcher hasn’t already done it, remove the large fat cap on the top of your roast. Cut away the fat from the bones, and remove the membrane on the back if needed.
-Submerge your roast in the cold brine, cover tightly, and place into your refrigerator for 6-12 hours.
Ingredients for the rub:
Unsalted butter softened
Grill set up:
If using a charcoal or gas unit, set up for indirect cooking (two-zone cooking area). Most cooking will be done over indirect heat, with optional searing over direct heat right at the end. I recommend setting a disposable aluminum drip pan below the pork rib roast as it cooks.
If using a pellet grill, plan on a 1 1/2-2 hour cook time. Prepare your pellet grill for 375 degrees F. Use apple, maple, or cherry pellets for this pork rib roast recipe. If you want to reverse sear your roast, remove it once it reaches 145 degrees F., and increase the heat to your cooker to 500 degrees F. Place it back in and sear for 5 minutes, moving the roast around as needed. Looking for a new pellet grill? Check out my Traeger Ironwood review.
Always keep a reliable instant read thermometer nearby! It will be your best friend when grilling and smoking meats.
The Perfect Holiday Pork Rib Roast
- 1 center-cut pork rib roast about 5-6 pounds
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon use more if desired
- 5 quarts cold water
- 1 quart water set aside
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup coarse salt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 5-6 bay leaves crumbled
- In a medium saucepan, dissolve honey and sugar in 1 quart of water.
- Add to a large pot with 5 quarts water and remaining brine ingredients. Let brine cool completely before adding pork roast. Submerge roast into the mixture, cover, and brine in the refrigerator for 6 hours.
- Prepare the grill for an indirect cooking.
- Remove roast from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Combine softened butter with the remaining rub ingredients and apply generously to roast.
- Place pork rib roast on the grill and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours over indirect heat. Look for an internal temperature between 145 degrees F. Move roast over to direct heat and sear the roast for 3-5 minutes to create a nice crust. You will need to move the get an even sear.
- Once seared, remove roast from the grill and place onto a clean cutting board. Loosely tent with aluminum foil and let meat rest for 15 minutes before carving.
- Pork roast will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days when stored in an airtight container.
All photos on this post by: Sabrina Baksh/derrickriches.com