SERVES 10 Celebrity chef Tyler Florence, who’s behind this centerpiece entree, uses his Big Green Egg smoker for this recipe. But you can roast the pork in the oven—we tell you how to do both here. Either way, you’ll get thick, fantastically seasoned, extra-juicy pork loin and creamy, sherry vinegar— laced onion gravy. Just make sure to use a meat thermometer to avoid under- or overcooking the meat.
FOR THE RUB:
2 tablespoons fennel pollen or ground fennel seeds
2 tablespoons crushed chile de árbol, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
4 fresh bay leaves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE PORK AND GRAVY:
1 (10-pound) bone-in pork loin roast, fat trimmed and chine bone cut by the butcher
2 unpeeled red onions, halved
2 unpeeled sweet onions, such as Walla Walla or Vidalia, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Preheat the smoker or the oven to 275°F. To make the rub, combine the herbs, spices, and garlic in a bowl with the oil and mix well.
To make the pork and gravy, season the pork with 2 tablespoons kosher salt, then rub all over with the rub mixture. Transfer bone–side down to the smoker (or to a roasting pan in the oven). Add the onions, cut side up, in the smoker (skin side up in the oven), next to the pork. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the pork reads 140°F, 1½ to 2 hours. Remove the pork and onions from the smoker or oven. Let the pork rest at least 10 minutes. When you’re ready to serve, slice between each of the rib bones into thick chops.
When the onions are cool enough to handle, remove and discard their skins and coarsely chop. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and slightly caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cream, scraping up the browned bits. Transfer the onions and cream to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a gravy boat or other serving dish and serve alongside the pork.
Photo: Lou Lesko