When my parents would visit my younger sister and I in our apartment in the late 70’s (returning to the city from their back-to-the-land adventures on Thetis Island) I would try to make a really sumptuous feast at least once during their visit. I can remember buying a huge pork roast (in reality it was probably no more than four pounds) to serve one night. I carefully sliced it through almost to the bone, every couple of inches, and stuffed it with nuts, herbs, and dried fruits. There wasn’t a recipe to follow, it was just an idea I had. I stuck garlic slices into it, and salt & peppered the fat. I roasted it on low until the meat could be pulled from the bone. I still have no idea what cut of pork it was, but its flavour holds fast in my memory.
Pork does so well when treated to a good crust or stuffing, or the both. This herb & salt mix takes the humble pork butt roast to an amazing centerpiece. The butt is full of flavour due to the lines of fat that run through it. The fat pulls the flavours in and through it. Let it sit at room temperature for one hour after covering it with the seasoning. It will give the pork a chance to take advantage of all you have offered it.
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Boneless Pork Butt Roast 3# – 4#
4 cloves of garlic
2 T Kosher salt
2 T olive oil
1 T Dijon mustard
a nice handful of one or two types of fresh herbs – I have used sage here, but a mix of thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram or savory, all work well. Just don’t muddle it with more than two herbs.
Just over an hour before your roast will be going in the oven, take it out of the fridge, blot it dry, and set it, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan that is large enough to have a couple of inches clear all around the roast.
Peel and coarsely chop the garlic.
Put in the bowl of a small processor.
Add in the salt, pulse a couple of times.
Add in the Dijon and oil.
Pulse 4 or 5 times until well mixed.
Add to the garlic mixture.
Process until the herbs are finely chopped and mixed throughout.
Using a spatula, scrape all of the mixture onto the topside of the roast.
Use your hands to smear it all over the sides, ends, and top.
Let the roast sit for an hour at room temperature before roasting.
Preheat the oven to 325°
Put the roast in the center of the oven.
Roast for 2½ hours. Internal temperature should be at least 63°c
Let the roast rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Always work backwards with your timing. If you’re serving at 7:00PM, be sure to have your roast out of the fridge at least 4 hours ahead of that. It may seem really early, but that’s the time it takes to do it right. If you don’t give your roast time to sit before roasting, it will be much colder and consequently will take longer to roast, so you really don’t make up time by just throwing it in the oven, as you’ll eat later!