SAUSAGE STUFFED PORK LOIN WITH PAN GRAVY
Second place recipe from Stanley Sellers of Chambers County
Start to finish: 1 hour, 45 minutes (20 minutes active) Serves 4-6.
4- to 5-pound boneless pork loin with nice fat layer (or two tenderloins)
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
12 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced into rings
6 cups water
4 cups ice cubes
Fresh sausage links
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
2 tablespoons butter
Zest and juice of half a lemon
Place pork loin on a cutting board with fat facing down. Use a sharp knife with blade horizontal to the board. To butterfly the loin open about 1 inch from the bottom of the loin. Work carefully not to cut all the way through. Continue to slice horizontally, opening the loin up until you have a large, thin, flat piece of meat.
In large saucepan, mix together kosher salt, sugar, peppercorns, garlic powder, thyme and onion. Add 6 cups water and heat over medium heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and add 4 ice cubes. Pour into freezer bag; add loin, seal and set aside for 25 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Remove loin from brine and pat dry. Place uncooked sausage lengthwise along the short side of the loin. Pierce casings with tip of sharp knife to ensure the flavor of the sausage goes into the pork as it cooks. Roll up loin tightly, jellyroll style. Secure loin with tightly fitted kitchen twine about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large cast iron pan over medium heat. Add roast and sear, fat side down first, 3 to 4 minutes, and then on all sides. When final side is done, transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the internal temperature is 145 F, about 45-55 minutes (check at 20-30 minutes if using tenderloins). Remove roast from oven and rest on a platter.
For the gravy, in the same pan used to cook the meat, add chicken stock to pork drippings. Simmer 5 minutes on the stove. Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter to thicken. Finish with lemon zest and juice. Serve over pork loin.