beautifully glazed ham will be on many holiday dinner
tables, but the traditional ham is not the only pork option.
provides a wealth of choices for holiday meals. There are
hams for certain, both cured and fresh, that will serve a
crowd. But there are a wide variety of roasts that will
serve any size gathering. Pork loin, pork butt and even
small pork tenderloins are excellent dinner options. Pork
sausages, from kielbasa to hot Italian, work well for more
casual gatherings too.
is seasonal at this time of year, and while all meat prices
are high these days, pound for pound pork remains more
affordable than beef, particularly the high-end cuts of beef
like tenderloin and rib roast that are favored at the
Gray, owner of Al’s Quality Market in Barberton, Ohio, and
a specialty butcher and sausage maker, said pork is always a
big seller at the holidays. Many folks stick to ham or
sausages for their gatherings, particularly those who are
keeping ethnic traditions.
the rest of the hog offers plenty of options too.
ham is quite often overlooked," Gray said. While it is
the same cut of meat of traditional hams, fresh ham is
neither cured nor smoked. Think of it as a roasted leg of
ham tastes like a big pork chop," Gray said. "It
is white meat and lean."
the reasons home cooks may not want to take it on is its
size: a fresh ham will weigh in the vicinity of 22 pounds.
Even with its hock removed, it’s still an 18-pound piece
of meat, more than many cooks want to deal with.
however, said a good butcher will be willing to debone one,
and even cut it down to a smaller size for a customer
a boneless fresh ham that Cleveland’s Iron Chef Michael
Symon uses to make porchetta, the traditional Italian pork
roast that is thin-sliced into sandwiches. However, it is
just as easily served as a main dish and will serve a dozen
people at a Christmas gathering.
said a crown roast of pork, made by shaping together pork
rib roasts into a crown shape, is popular at Christmas and
New Year’s, when many cooks like to stuff the center with
cooking teacher Molly Stevens, in her book "All About
Roasting," offers an alternative to the crown roast,
which she calls the honor guard roast of pork.
roasts can be difficult to fit into a roasting pan and don’t
always cook evenly because of their shape. Stuffing the
center only makes even roasting more problematic, she
than curving the roasts into a crown shape, Stevens arranges
them side by side in a roasting pan and interlaces their rib
bones to give them the appearance of two rows of honor
guards with their swords raised and crossed to form a
smaller crowd, don’t overlook pork tenderloins, which can
be pounded, stuffed, rolled and roasted for a holiday
presentation. Because they are small and lean, a pair to
serve six will roast in under an hour.
cut Gray recommends is the pork butt, which, despite its
name, is actually the shoulder. Often this cut, due to its
size, is used for slow cooking and shredding for dishes like
pulled pork. But Gray said with its bone removed, it is a
fine cut for slow-roasting until it is falling-apart tender.
said cooks should not be afraid to ask their butcher to make
special cuts and trims, or to debone large portions to make
them easier to work with.
likes to debone the butt, season it with salt, pepper,
Hungarian paprika and garlic powder, and then tie it up and
roast it for 20 to 25 minutes per pound. "It’s
phenomenal," Gray said.
his recipe, along with lots of other ideas for going whole
hog this holiday.
butt (shoulder), boned, about 8 lbs.
and pepper, to taste
your butcher debone the pork butt for you. Season it
liberally with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder on
roast using butcher’s twine.
and roast at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes per pound
(about 3 hours).
10 to 12 servings.
Gray, Al’s Quality Market, Barberton, Ohio
tenderloins, about 2 ½ lbs. total weight)
bulk mild pork sausage
dried bread cubes
cups low sodium chicken or beef broth
small onion, chopped
1 to 2
tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
of 1 sprig fresh thyme, minced
tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
and pepper, to taste
sharp knife, remove silverskin from each tenderloin, then
slice each tenderloin lengthwise to butterfly it, being
careful not to cut completely through the meat. You don’t
want to cut the tenderloin in two. Working one at a time,
place each butterflied tenderloin between two sheets of
waxed paper or plastic wrap, place on a cutting board, and
using a meat mallet, pound until meat is an even thickness
of less than ½ inch.
inside and out with salt and pepper and set aside.
skillet over medium heat, brown sausage until no longer
pink, breaking up with spatula until it is even brown
large bowl, combine bread cubes, cooked sausage, celery,
onion, sage, thyme and parsley. Mix well. Add broth, ½ cup
at a time, mixing stuffing after each addition and breaking
up bread as you go until stuffing is soft and holds together
well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
the center of each tenderloin lengthwise with stuffing,
overlapping meat to close seam and tucking in ends. Use
cotton butcher’s twine to tie up tenderloin, making about
five or six ties down the length of the tenderloin.
tablespoon or two of olive oil to a very large skillet or a
roasting pan set over two burners on stovetop. Set burners
to medium-high and sear tenderloins on all sides, turning
them carefully so stuffing does not come loose.
brown on all sides, cover roaster with foil (or transfer to
roasting pan if using a skillet) and roast in 375-degree
oven, for 30 minutes. Uncover and roast an additional 15 to
20 minutes, or until internal temperature of thickest part
of pork reaches 145 degrees when checked on an instant-read
thermometer. Be careful to check temperature of meat closest
to stuffing, as this area tends to cook more slowly than the
done, remove from oven. Cover with foil and allow to rest
for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove twine. Slice into circles and
Pork tenderloins are small, averaging about 1 to 1 ½ pounds
each. However, with stuffing, each should serve three
pancetta, finely chopped 10 garlic cloves, minced
zest of 2 lemons
zest of 1 orange ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
from 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped 2 tbsp. red pepper
flakes 2 tbsp. rinsed capers, chopped
salt 1 (10- to 12-lb.) skin-on boneless fresh ham,
oven to 350 degrees.
the pancetta in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until
it forms a paste. Transfer to a bowl and mix in by hand the
garlic, citrus zest, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes
and capers and 2 tablespoons salt until thoroughly blended.
the fresh ham flesh side up on a cutting board and score the
meat with the tip of a sharp knife every inch or so in a
cross-hatch pattern. Rub the pancetta paste into the meat,
making sure to get it into the score marks. Flip the ham
over and cross the skin with the knife as you did the flesh.
Roll the ham up, skin-side-out, and secure with kitchen
twine. Season the skin lightly with salt.
the pork in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven to roast
for 2 hours.
the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast until the pork
reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees and the skin
is nice and crisp, about 1 ½ hours.
from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes. Thinly slice the
porchetta before serving. Don’t worry if there are
leftovers, as porchetta makes awesome sandwiches â€"
hot or cold â€" and holds up well for days in the
12 to 15 servings.
Porchetta is good served with bitter greens dressed simply
with olive oil and lemon juice, and is excellent served on
Symon’s "Carnivore" cookbook
PORK RIB ROAST
cool water (about 50 degrees)
cup kosher salt
tbsp. brown sugar, light or dark
sprigs fresh rosemary (4 to 5 inches)
garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
to 5-lb.) center-cut, bone-in pork rib roast (6 to 8 ribs)
with the chine bone removed or cracked
the pork: In a large bowl or a 2-quart measuring cup, stir
together the water, salt, brown sugar and honey and stir
until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Stir in the
rosemary, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
the rib roast in a large zip-top plastic bag. (If you don’t
have a large enough bag, place the pork in a deep bowl.) Add
the brine. If using the bag, press out any extra air, seal
and set in a deep baking dish to catch any leaks that may
occur. If using a bowl, add more water if needed to cover
the pork and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 18 to 24
an hour before roasting, remove the pork from the brine. Let
drain and then pat dry with paper towels. Let stand at room
temperature 1 hour.
a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 325 degrees
(300 degrees convection). If you have not already done so,
remove the pork from the brine and let sit at room
temperature while the oven heats.
large ovenproof skillet (10 to 12 inches) over medium-high
heat. Place the pork roast fat side down in the skillet and
cook until the fat is browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn the pork
roast (tongs and a meat fork are handy here) so it sits fat
the skillet to the oven and roast until an instant-read
thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers
140 degrees, about 1 ½ hours. Transfer the pork to a
carving board, preferably one with a trough, to rest for 15
by slicing down between the rib bones to divide the roast
into chops. Drizzle any carving juices over the chops and
To make an Honor Guard Roast of Pork, double the above
recipe, including the amount of brine, using two 4- to
5-pound center-cut bone-in pork rib roasts. Have the butcher
french the roasts to expose the rib bones. After searing,
let the roasts cool enough so that you can handle them and
arrange them facing each other with the bones interlaced.
Roast as directed, but allow for an additional 10 to 20
minutes of roasting time.
"All About Roasting," Molly Stevens