Maple Brined Pork Loin with Spiked Sweets

By Erin

The sweet hubby’s go-to dish for family parties is a maple-brined pork loin.  It’s delicious, not too labor intensive, and easy to make for a big group – especially when you buy a giant pork loin from BJ’s.

While we’re at it, let’s take a Time Out for one minute to discuss the meat quality at BJs.  OMG. I love it. I swear by their tenderloins – they are delicious.  And, cost-wise, its the best deal around.

Back to the story. At Christmas, the sweet hubby had bought a 9 pound pork loin from BJs to bring to our Christmas Eve dinner. He used two-thirds and froze the last third. When I learned that a few friends were coming over last week, I decided to take the last of the pork out of the freezer and serve it with sweet potatoes.  The pork was tender, juicy, and just the right amount of sweet.

You DON’T need to buy a large pork loin for this recipe – the brine and glaze can also be used on a much smaller pork loin. It’s also easy enough to make on a week night.  (You can brine it the night before, or in the morning before work.) The recipe I’ll give you before is good for a 3-pound loin or less. For a bigger one, double the recipe.

Doesn’t the end result look great?

And, the sweet potatoes – which are spiked with a touch of Drambuie!

For the pork brine:

  • 1 Pork Loin
  • Enough water to cover the loin in  bowl or pot
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • Some black pepper (just a bit)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Fresh Rosemary
In a large pot or bowl, Pour salt, maple syrup and smashed garlic into water. Add some fresh ground pepper. Stir until salt is dissolved.  Place the loin into the pot, making sure its covered by the water.
I used this Maple Syrup:
Adding the pepper to the pot before I stirred it all together:
Then place the pork into the pot, layering the rosemary and thyme on top of the of the loin.  I bought these small packages of the fresh herbs and just used the whole package. (I only used 5 cloves are garlic.)
Pork in the brine, covered with spices and ready to go in the refrigerator for a while.
Refrigerate for 8-12 hours, or overnight. I made the brine first thing in the morning, set the pork in it and then cooked it at night. The hubby always brines it overnight.
When you’re ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 325. Mix the glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard

Cover the pork with the glaze.

Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan – FAT SIDE UP. Place it in the oven on 325. It should roughly take 20 minutes per pound.  Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature – you don’t want to get trichinosis!  The temperature should get to 160 degrees.  About halfway through, add some more glaze to the top.

And for the mashed sweet potatoes!  I had planed to use Bourbon, but we didn’t have any.  So I used Drambuie. This recipe highlights the creaminess and flavor of the sweet potatoes, without being too sweet.  The process also ensures that they’ll be super smooth – without additional butter or cream! You will need:

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Drambuie
  • Sea Salt

First, I peeled 4 sweet potatoes and placed them in a pot of water.  I boiled the water until the potatoes were nice and soft.

I then strained them.

Next I used my ricer to smash the sweet potatoes. You could use a masher, or even a Kitchenaid or hand mixer, but I love the texture the ricer gives the potatoes! When they are pipping hot its so easy to use. Just put a few in at a time, and smush!

Then add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon Drambuie. Stir both into the potatoes.

Add a few shakes of sea salt:

Spoon into a dish and place in the oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.  Then serve!


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