Pork roasts are an easy and affordable option for feeding a crowd, but the lean meat can become dry in the oven. This recipe solves that problem with a super flavorful brine full of bright, warming flavors like orange, ginger, star anise and dried chilies.
Brine the pork: Combine the salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, star anise and chiles in a large pot with 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Squeeze the orange juice into the brine, then add the squeezed orange pieces and 2 cups cold water.
Place the pork on a cutting board, fat cap–side down and make a few slits between the ribs with a sharp knife; transfer to a large pot or resealable plastic bag. Add the brine, plus up to 2 cups more water if needed to cover the pork. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Remove the pork from the brine and pat very dry. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Set a rack in a roasting pan and place the pork on the rack, fat-side up. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 115˚ F to 120˚ F, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 425˚ F.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: Combine the orange juice, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Simmer, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside about half of the glaze for serving.
Brush some of the remaining glaze over the roast. Return to the oven and continue cooking, brushing with more glaze every 5 minutes, until the thermometer registers 135˚ F to 140˚ F, 15 to 25 more minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serve with the reserved glaze and any collected juices.
Ask your butcher for a “frenched” pork roast, which means the fat is scraped off the bones for a nicer presentation.
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Photograph by Mike Garten
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