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Serbian Stuffed Pork Loin On The Grill

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    Posted: 01 April 2012 at 06:31

From a presentation standpoint, little compares to a stuffed, rolled pork loin. But many cooks shy away from it because they find the rolling and retying hard to do. And, according to some, controlling the cooking time on a grill is difficult.

In his truly wonderful Planet Barbeque!, Steven Raichlen has a variation he calls "Serbian Stuffed Pork Loin," which makes the whole process easier. Instead of rolling and tying the loin, after butterflying, it is merely folded over the filling. This makes it easier to handle, obviously, and cuts the cooking time way down.
 
Since making this the first time I've found it easy to adapt any loin-stuffing to this style. And I discovered that the technique is not unique to Serbia, but, historically, was used throughout Europe and the New World.
 
To Butterfly a Pork Loin
 
For some reason, this rather easy technique seems to intimidate many people. Or perhaps it's the badly written instructions they've read? Whatever. Butterflying a loin only involved three knife cuts:
 
Lay the loin on a cutting board, fat-cap up. It may help if you orient the loin so the end faces you, and the length of it points away. Center your knife the long way on the loin and cut halfway through it. Turn the knife so it is parallel to the cutting board and cut almost through the loin. You should stop the cut so there is a "hinge" of meat at least 1/2 inch thick. Repeat cutting the flap on the other side.
     Open the loin like a book so it lies flat. Sometime this requires a little judicious knife work o the hinges, but don't go overboard.
     Sandwich the opened loin between two pieces of plastic film and, with a meat mallet, pound it out so it is as even as you can make it and about 1/2 inch thick.
     According to Raichlen, in Serbia they butterfly a little differently. Starting at the thin end of the loin, center your knife parallel to the cutting board, and split the loin almost in half, leaving a half-inch hinge. Open it up and pound it into a flat sheet half an inch thick. If you go this route you'll have more evenly sized slices when you cut the roast.
 
Serbian Stuffed Pork Loin
 
1 piece center-cut pork loin, about 2 lbs
3 oz (3-4 slices) smoky country-style bacon (I use European slab bacon, and barely cook it)
Coarse salt and pepper
3 tbls Dijon style mustard (Whole grain mustard works nicely too)
3 oz thinly sliced smoky ham
2 oz piquant cheese, such as Edam, Gouda, or Provolone, grated or thinly sliced (My choice is Provolone, to carry through the smoky flavor profile)
 
Cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until lightly browned and just beginning to crisp. Drain on paper towels.
 
Generously season the inside of the pork loin with salt and pepper and spread the mustard over it. Arrange the bacon over the bottom half of the open pork loin. Places the slices of ham on top of the bacon, followed by the cheese.  Fold the top half of the loin back over the bottom piece. Season the outside of the loin with salt and pepper. If you like, secure the edges with toothpicks or tie the loin with kitchen twine. I hightly recommend this, especially the first time or two, until you develop a feel for turning a package like this.
 
Set up the grill for direct cooking and preheat it to medium-high. Brush the grate with oil. Set the loin diagonally to the bars and grill until well browned and cooked to medium; the cheese should be melted and sizzling, 6-8 minutes per side.
 
If you want a cross-hatch of grill marks, cook the first side four minutes, then turn it diagonally in the other direction for the rest of the cooking time. Repeat after flipping.
 
Transfer the grilled pork loin to a platter. Remove any toothpicks or string. Cut crosswise into slices about an inch thick.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2013 at 15:03
Well, this one could be on deck for this weekend ~
 
We were in the grocery yesterday, and I somehow convinced my wife to buy a whole, 7.x-pound pork loin. I'll cut off two 2-pound-ish sections for Canadian bacon, which will leave enough for a nice, big dinner and leftovers. I have been wanting to try Daikon's roast pork loin with poached prunes, but we're looking at such a beautiful weekend, I'm thinking that this grilled option might be the way to go this time.
 
I've never stuffed or grilled a pork loin, so we could be in for an interesting  time; however I think that the Weber kettle is up to the challenge, if I do my part....
 
Quote According to Raichlen, in Serbia they butterfly a little differently. Starting at the thin end of the loin, center your knife parallel to the cutting board, and split the loin almost in half, leaving a half-inch hinge. Open it up and pound it into a flat sheet half an inch thick. If you go this route you'll have more evenly sized slices when you cut the roast.
 
Brook, I'm having a bit of trouble visualising this; "starting at the thin end," of the loin; it seems like this method opens the loin up "the long way," - or down the length - so that there's one, long strip of pork twice as long as the original loin section? I've never seen that before, but I can sure do it if that's the Serbian way (as described by Raichlen).
 
I think I have it figured out, but let me know, just in case ~ and thanks!
 
Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2013 at 23:31
When I butterfly a loin, I make by first cut the long way, slicing halfway down (blade perpendicular to the cutting board); then, with the two additional cuts outward from the first cut (blade parallel to the cutting board), I open it like a book.

What I envision Raichlen's method is to start at an end and cut down the middle (blade parallel to the cutting board) almost through the far end. Hinge it there and pound it even.

Here's the kicker: The Serbian pitmaster Raichlen learned them from uses an entire loin, cutting from where it narrows down (hence, "thin end."). That may be fine for a restaurant or big gathering, but is a bit much for a family. There's a photo of the guy holding one up, in Planet Barbecue, and the butterflied, flattened loin has to be four feet long.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2013 at 08:11
Alright, I've got it now. Since I'm doing a Serbian pork loin, I'll butterfly it in the Serbian style, for this preparation.
 
Looking forward to trying it - thanks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2013 at 09:26
After trimming and cutting some a couple of sections of pork loin for Canadian Bacon, I also had a section at the "thin" end of the loin that was a little over a pound, which I butterflied in the Serbian fashion, pounded and stuffed for this Serbian grilled pork loin, which is known as punjena veŇ°alica. I didn't take any photos, since the loin was half the size of a full recipe, and I had a couple of minor execution issues that affected the looks but not the taste; having said that, I will be making this again before too much time passes, and will do a full-on pictorial when I do so. 

Delicious!Star
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2013 at 19:24
My work here is done.

It really is everything you say, Ron. And other than the butterflying, which might be a new technique for some folks, it's a simple thing to prepare and cook.

But there's a fast learning curve when it comes to butterflying a pork loin. Once you've done it once you pretty much know everything you have to know to do it right.

This dish, alone, was worth the price of Planet Barbecue! But, since I've made other dishes from it, and have yet to find one I was unhappy with, the book was a real bargain.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2013 at 08:30
Agreed on all points, Brook - this is definitely a new favourite, and I'm very glad I tried it!
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