Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Peach Jalapeno Smoked Rack of Pork

In my neverending quest to learn the fine art/craft of smoking pretty much on my own (with some precious tips from Greg Blanton down in the fine state of Georgia), Mark and I set out to experiment with the peach chips recently bought at Cabela's. The orange chicken we smoked last weekend was a rousing success...would the peach pork work as well? Not going to keep you in suspense here, the peachy pork was just, well, peachy! 

When it comes to the chips, I really don't think the peach chips added anything to the flavor that apple or cherry or pecan wouldn't contribute. In teaching ourselves, one of the things we're learning is that the type of wood doesn't necessarily impart the flavor of what the tree produces. Peach doesn't impart a peach flavor, apple doesn't lend a true apple-y essence to the protein on the smoker. 

Wood simply (in my opinion) imparts a smokey flavor - some woods produce a stronger smoke flavor (mesquite/hickory) and some milder and sweeter (apple/pecan). It is the marinade and/or rub and/or glaze that truly determines any flavor that isn't smoke.

This recipe really layers the flavors. The first layer was a good garlic/jalapeno rub, the second a tenderizing peach, garlic and vinegar marinade, the third was the smoke of peach wood and fourth was a peach and jalapeno echo of a rich, sweet finishing glaze. 

To help get the flavors ALL through the roast, I pierced the pork all over with a small sharp knife to insure the marinade got into every nook and cranny and then let it laze for a few hours...kind of like a meat hot tub only cool and comfy. Nothing like pampering your pork before it gets all hot and bothered on the smoker! (Did I just say that?!)

A few pitted, fresh peach halves, onions, jalapenos and garlic were scattered around the roast for about an hour to impart some smokey goodness to them before turning them into a chunky sauce that's kind of a cross between a spicy chutney and a good peach salsa. With the addition of a little vinegar, honey and mustard to accent the sweet heat aspect of the dish even more, I call it Peach Jalapeno Chut-Salsa.

A final step of glazing the roast during the last half hour turned it into a gleaming beauty of a hunk of meat just waiting for its close up! Was this labor intensive? Yes. Was it worth it? YES! Even though it is more time consuming than most Sunday dinners, everything was done in steps throughout the day so it really wasn't bad at all time-wise.

Tender, juicy and smoky

The schedule went something like this: the meat went into the marinade and the chips started soaking early. They did their thing while we brunched and watched CBS Sunday Morning. (It's a Sunday ritual at our house.)

When the show was over, Mark got the smoker going while I prepped the peaches and veggies. The pork went on the smoker by 11:30 a.m. and everything was done by 4:30 p.m. 

In between, laundry, cleaning, making the rub and peach glaze, some shopping, putting together the salsa/chutney, a little yardwork and some neighborhood socializing, it all made for a relaxing, yet productive, day. In fact, one might just call it one peach of a day!

Peachy Jalapeno Smoked Rack of Pork 
with Peach Chut-salsa

  • 2 pounds pork roast, a 4-rib rack of pork

  • 1 1/2 jalapenos, leave seeds & ribs in for lots of heat, remove them for less heat - cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 7 large garlic cloves, paper skins removed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 cups peach nectar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 peach, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 peaches, cut in half, stones removed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 jalapenos, whole
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole, left in skins
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard

Using a small, sharp knife, deeply pierce roast on all sides. Massage the rub into all the cuts, using all the rub, all over. When it is thoroughly covered, carefully put the roast into the ziptop bag that contains the prepared marinade. Refrigerate for 3 hours, remove from fridge and let it marinate another hour at room temp. 

Prepare smoker as you normally would using peach wood - if you can find it. I really don't think it makes a difference. Feel free to use apple, hickory or your own favorite variety. 

Once the smoker is ready to roll, put the roast on bone side down. Smoke the roast for about 2 hours before putting the peaches and veggies on. Let those smoke for about an hour, remove and let the roast continue to smoke for another 1-2 hours. 

The length of time it takes to smoke depends on your smoker. You know your smoker best, so use your own best educated smoking judgment for when it will be done to your own taste.

Glaze about 1/2 an hour before removing from smoker. Let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

Rub: Put the 7 garlic cloves, kosher salt & granulated onion into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

Marinade: In a large ziptop bag, add peach nectar, 1/4 c. cider vinegar, 1 T granulated onion and 1 T granulated garlic. Set aside.

Glaze: Add the pitted peach WITH the skin on, 2 T mustard, 1 T vinegar, 1/4 C honey and Kosher salt to the food processor. Process until pureed. Add additional honey to desired consistency.

Chut-salsa: Finely dice the smoked peaches and veggies and add to a medium bowl. Add 2 T honey, 2 T red wine vinegar, 1 T Kosher salt and 1 T stoneground mustard. Mix well and serve as a condiment atop slices of pork.

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Jeff said...

Very nice recipe. What temperature where smoking at? And what temperature did you take your meat out?

Dinner-Planit said...

Thanks for checking out Dinner Plan-it, Jeff! Smoking temp was kept between 225 and 250 degrees. Internal temp? Not sure. We took it off when we thought it was done to our liking. The perils of teaching yourself how to smoke sometimes result in missed steps. You can be sure that when the outside weather is warm and we can smoke once again internal temperature taking will be part of the new routine. Go with your gut...works for us!