The General's Loin
Updated: Jul 26, 2021
Unlike some of my other posts, this dish isn’t one that has a long and storied Norman Rockwell feel behind it. This was more of an Iron Chef America adventure that turned out good enough to share!
Since I’m no longer traditionally employed in the belly of the beast, I’ve ended up adopting a more Bohemian existence. That goes for my time in the kitchen as well. One of the things that keeps my culinary life interesting is a rotation of different meats from Butcher Box. (No, I’m not sponsored.) One of the main benefits, besides not having to leave my house to get good quality meat, is that they provide a random assortment of items, some of which I wouldn’t seek out if left to my own devices. (I’m a relatively simple Viking and have been known to survive on little more than steak for months at a time. But that’s a story for another post.)
One of these cuts in a recent delivery was a boneless pork loin roast. This is not to be confused with pork tenderloin. Pork loin roasts are bigger, less expensive, and have a nice little fat cap on the top for maximum flavor.
As is typical when confronted with a cut of meat that I haven’t used before, I started with a survey of what the internets had to say. Most of the recipes I found were a savory flavor profile with herbs, garlic, etc. and roasted in the oven. That seemed serviceable, but a little boring. After all, I have to try to keep you people (and my Viking belly) entertained!
So after remembering that I still had leftover General Tso sauce from my last attempt at General Tso chicken, I decided to try something different. (I still have a little more work to do on the General’s chicken until I’m ready to share. My last attempt was a solid reality check for my ego. But rest assured that I’m well on my way to no longer needing my local Chinese takeout establishment.)
Ready your loins
1 cup light soy sauce
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
In my experience, really delicious food involves creating different layers of flavor. As such, we’re going to first marinate the meat before rubbing it and throwing in the oven. But before that, let’s address something about your kitchen hardware.
One comment that I always get from friends that offer to help with meal prep in my kitchen is that they are impressed that my knives are always extremely sharp. And while I do have some bougie Damascus steel for which I attached and shaped my own handle, I typically use a humble Victorinox chef knife as my everyday workhorse. For me, using a relatively inexpensive knife means that I can use one of the inexpensive countertop sharpeners that you just drag the knife back and forth through and then you end up with a razor sharp edge.
If you are spending time in the kitchen, make sure you have a sharp knife. It’s ultimately safer because you don’t have to use as much force to cut through things. It also makes it way easier to do this awesome scoring pattern that will get you plenty of attention on social media.
Start with the roast fat side up and slice diagonal cuts across the top about an inch apart. The goal is to get through the fat cap without slicing too far into the meat itself. Definitely don’t cut all the way through the roast, unless you want to have pork cubes for dinner. If you have to make a few passes over the same spot to get the correct depth, that’s better than going too deep on the first slice.