Carpe Diem - in other words, "Seize the Day". Had I not watched Robin Williams film Dead Poets Society many years ago I still might not have known what that meant as I never took a Latin class in school. But what does Carpe Diem and cooking have in common? For me it means taking what you have available and affordable to cook with and weather permitting getting out doors in the glorious sunshine and utilizing your grill. Even in winter if you get a day that's not windy and bitterly cold and you have a grill on your porch or deck - seize that moment to grill your dinner.
Our gas grill was falling apart but my clever husband knowing it wasn't in our budget to purchase anything new, removed the disheveled burners, made a charcoal box and converted our gas grill to a charcoal grill. He also found a rotisserie (sometimes referred to as a spit) and connected it up so we could grill the whole boneless pork loin.
I decided that since we were rotisserie grilling the pork that I would first brine it. I purchased a small roast with a nice fat cap that weighed 2.66 pounds and could easily feed 6-8 people. The roast cost $13.27. The brining solution is simple and you may already have all of the ingredients necessary to do this.
This roast came out succulent, juicy and so flavorful because of the brine and the spice rub.
For the brine:
- 8 cups cold water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 small cloves garlic - peeled
- Poke holes in the pork loin - top, bottom, sides - lots of them.
- Place your roast in a pot large enough to hold the roast and the water.
- All of the ingredients go in the pot. Swish the water around so the brown sugar dissolves.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, longer or overnight if you have time.
Make a spice rub of your choice. I chose spices you would typically find in a Cajun Spice Rub.
The recipe for the Cajun Rub:
- 2 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Store any left over rub in a sealed container for up to 3 months.
- Rub the spices over the entire pork roast. Be as generous as you want.
- Store any left over rub in a sealed container for up to 3 months.
- Light your grill and let the rotisserie do the work. Grill directly over the coals to get a nice sear on the roast, then move to the side and continue grilling on indirect heat until you reach an internal temperature of 145°.
For the sides, I steamed asparagus and roasted a mix of baby red, Yukon gold and Peruvian potatoes. I spiced these with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and some freshly chopped herbs: parsley, rosemary and thyme. Basically do these to your own taste. Mix the potatoes and spices and herbs with some olive oil in a bowl. Transfer to a pan you can use on the grill. Cover with foil and grill over the direct heat.
You can keep the cost of this meal down by purchasing regular potatoes to slice up and grill in foil packets and a less expensive vegetable. That would make your dinner right around $18.66, feeding six people for $3.11 or eight people for $2.33 each.