Citrus and Spice-Rubbed Pork Loin in Banana Leaves

  • Yield 12 servings

You don't have to set your sails for the Caribbean to enjoy this island favorite of pork stuffed banana leaves.

Cooking the pork on the bone, in the banana leaf, produces an unbelievably moist final product. Best of all, you can cook it right over a campfire on the grill for a truly alfresco treat.

Ingredients

1 (6 pound) center-cut bone-in pork loin
1 head garlic
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into garlic clove-sized pieces
5 banana leaves
2 limes, zest and juice
1 orange, zest and juice
1/4 cup Spice Island Rub, or your favorite jerk or Caribbean spice blend
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Using a paring knife, cut 12-15 2 inch deep slits into the pork loin, evenly from side to side. Insert the garlic cloves and ginger into the slits, pushing them into the center of the loin.
  2. Next, prepare banana leaves. Holding both ends of a leaf, move it slowly over a stove burner or grill grate on medium-high heat until it becomes shinier darkens slightly, about 1 minute. Turn over and heat second side of the leaf. It should now be much softer and more pliable than before toasting. Soften remaining banana leaves in same manner.
  3. Line roasting pan or sheet tray with softened leaves, shinier side facing down, placing 1 leaf lengthwise and 2 leaves crosswise. Trim excess overhang to no more than 12 inches on all sides. Place studded pork loin on the center of the leaves and set aside.
  4. To prepare marinade, combine lime juice and zest, orange juice and zest, spice rub and oil in a small bowl and mix well.
  5. Pour marinade over pork loin, turning to coat the entire loin evenly. Fold overhang of leaves over pork to enclose completely, and wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil. The pork and banana leaves should now be sealed. Place in refrigerator and allow flavors to meld overnight.
  6. To cook, place pork in the oven and heat to 350. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the loin reads 150F, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest to 30 minutes in the leaf and foil wrapping. To serve, remove the foil and present the pork still wrapped in the leaves. Open the leaves in front of your guests to reveal the beautiful, aromatic pork within. Slice and season to taste with a little coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

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