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Crispy Pork Loin. Photo by Joshua Weissman

If you don’t already know Joshua Weissman of Houston, he is the young author of The Slim Palate (also the name of his blog). It’s also a Paleo cookbook, but that’s beside the point (as far as I’m concerned). And yes, it’s a lovely book with intriguing recipes and photographs that floored Donna, especially given that Josh was 17 when he took most of them, and is only 18 now. When I got an email request to blurb the book, I thought little more than “Ugh, OK, send me a PDF, I’ll try to have a look.” And I did, and it was good, and I did a little more poking around on his site. My turn to be floored. Watch this excellent video to meet Josh and hear his uncommon story—he’s an inspiration. This is more than a cookbook—it’s an extraordinary example of the power of food to transform our lives. Josh not only generously offered this post and recipe, he’d like to give away a signed copy of his book. Just leave a comment with your favorite cooking technique or method (grill, sauté, braise, etc.) and you’re entered. Take it away, Joshua!—M.R.

 

by Joshua Weissman

I am incredibly honored and excited to have the privilege to post on this website. When I was venturing through my journey in rediscovering food, Mr. Ruhlman was and still is one of the biggest influences on my views and choices on how I choose to look at food. He also made me quite the pork fanatic, so I figured I should share one of my favorite swine recipes.

Scored Pork Skin

This recipe is adapted from one of my very favorite recipes in my cookbook. When I ended up receiving a pork loin from a local farm, which offered it to me with the skin on, I was ecstatic because I rarely get skin-on cuts like that. As soon as I laid my eyes on it I had a plan to make alluring crispy skin. In adapting the pork loin recipe from the book, I simplified some of the ingredients, added in some others, and reworked the oven temperature and timing to work for a thicker fat cap and skin-on loin. This way you’re left with an intoxicatingly crunchy skin with a slightly different flavor from the original but still wonderful recipe in the book. It’s almost surprising when you take that first bite of this roast as that explosive crunch rings in your ears when you bite into the crispy skin, which of course is followed by the rich and slightly sweet juices of the pork. Not to mention it’s difficult to ignore the wonderful flavor of the pork fat running through the loin that helps flavor the skin.

Sage Leaves On Pork Loin

I think that those who truly love food probably also appreciate the beauty behind crispy skin. It’s like a reward for your hard work and persistence in preparation. In my experience, the key to crispy pork skin (or any animal skin, for that matter) is to keep it as dry as physically possible before you cook it. The more moisture that you leave in the skin, the more likely it’s going to turn out chewy and rather unappetizing. Many people go to great lengths to get pork skin dry, like blow-drying it for hours, but I’ve found that a diligent dabbing with a paper towel on the skin until it’s as dry as you can get it works fairly well. If you really want to be a perfectionist, I’ve also had great success by dabbing it dry and then leaving it in the fridge uncovered to air-dry overnight. That’s not required, but I usually do choose to let it air dry because I’m somewhat of a perfectionist like that. Plus I actually enjoy the process behind cooking, so while I enjoy quick cooking meals I also enjoy meals that are a journey in themselves. But like I said, if you’re not that person then you can skip the air-drying in the fridge.

Tied Skin On Pork Loin

I actually wish more people would take a day off and just make something in the kitchen that takes a bit of patience and labor to make. Eating is not only a daily thing that we have to do in order to survive but it’s also an incredible pleasure, so I think it’s important to make a fun adventure out of it every once in a while. Listen to the clicking sound of the burner preparing to erupt in flames or enjoy the various and changing aroma of the food as it progresses through different stages of cooking. Slow down and just enjoy the moment and the process of a creation that might just become another hobby for yourself while nourishing your body at the same time.

Ultra Crispy Skin

Herbed Crispy Roasted Pork Loin

Recipe adapted from The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook

  • 5 shallots, unpeeled, cut in halves
  • 2½–4 pound boneless skin-on pork loin
  • 1 lemon
  • 10–15 sage leaves
  • 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced marjoram
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or high-heat oil of choice
  • Kitchen string for tying the roast
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/218°C and place a wire rack inside a roasting tray. Scatter the shallots around the bottom of the roasting tray.
  2. Pat the pork loin completely dry and do your best to keep the skin as dry as possible. Score the skin of the pork loin in straight lines about halfway down the fat cap but not all the way to the meat. Repeat this at ½-inch intervals all the way across the skin of the pork loin. Flip the pork loin over so the skin is facing down. Starting about 1 inch above the fat cap, cut into the meat of the pork loin lengthwise and open it up like a book until it lies flat, being careful not to cut all the way through the meat.
  3. Zest the entire lemon over both sides. Lay all of the sage leaves over one side of the pork loin, then lay the parsley, marjoram, and garlic on the opposite side. Season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle ½ tablespoon of the oil over it. Carefully close the pork loin and tie the roast fairly tightly at 1-inch intervals. Pat the skin once more to ensure that it’s as dry as possible, then drizzle the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil over the skin. Season the whole roast generously with salt and pepper and mop up any of the seasoning with the sides and bottom of the roast. Season the skin side once more very generously with salt, working the salt into the slits made earlier. (You really want to season the skin quite generously here.)
  4. Place the roast on the wire rack in the roasting tray, skin side up, and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 395°F/200°C until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140°F/60°C when a thermometer is placed in the deepest part of the meat, 30 to 35 minutes. Increase the temperature to 500°F/260°C and continue roasting until the skin is slightly puffy and crispy, 4 to 6 minutes more.
  5. Let the pork loin rest for 15 to 20 minutes, slice, and serve.

 

Note 4/7/14: Congrats to Nancy McDermott, of Jackson, NJ, winner of the Slim Palate Cookbook.

 

Other links you may like:

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

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119 Wonderful responses to “Introducing Joshua Weissman
(Crispy Pork Loin and Giveaway!)”

  • Kristine

    Braise because I love the way you can take a cheap, humble cut of meat and make it into something fantastic.

  • NancyRing

    Amazing photographs and recipe! Congratulations!!

    Sauteing gives me great satisfaction!

  • Garrett

    Grilling–you can use high heat or low, and the occasional primal feeling!

  • Sandra

    It’s hard to pick one – so much depends on the ingredients and the time of the year!\. Right now it would probably be roasting; you can get such nice browning, add veggies to the bottom of the pan if you’re roasting meat or poultry, and there’s the fond and juices to top it off!

  • Eric Souder

    Braising hands down. I love the ability to build flavors in a single pot simply by slowly easing them out of the ingredients added. The smell that flows through the house while doing so is certainly an added perk!

  • Sally

    Oh, I love all ways of cooking. Grilling in the summer, braising in the winter, slow stewing any time.

  • Fiona

    I love roasting meat and in England (where I’m from originally) roast pork made just like this with crackling (the crispy skin) is the norm. It’s hard to talk the butchers in Missouri into leaving the skin on – but I have found one who will do it for me!

  • Judith

    Roasting….I love the aromas as they develop and permeate the house!

  • Will

    Braising. Love how it turns cheap cuts into the most flavorful tender bites.

  • Allen

    I forgot to mention my cast iron skillet, a small one, just for me.
    It holds the heat if I cook my dinner, keeps it warm, I eat right out of it. Slow cook in it, confit, I keep it well seasoned so it’s easy to clean.
    I sauté, fry an egg, char a steak, crush anything with the flat surface – nuts, chips, garlic etc…, plus, it adds iron to the diet.
    That, and my chefs knife are my favorite kitchen tools.

  • Simon

    My favorite cooking technique/method, if I truly must choose, would have to be sauteing. Partially because of the method itself, but also because people seem to think the food is fancier when you use the word saute.

  • May

    Beautifully photographed, indeed, Joshua – nice to “meet” you, and that looks like a delicious recipe. It’s not often you see marjoram used nowadays.

    Anyway, my favourite way to cook is slow-roasting. And taking the day off to enjoy doing it properly, of course. There’s just something about the way the flavours develop sooo slooowly in the oven that is deeply satisfying, long before one sits down to eat!

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