Whiskey Cooking: Mother-in-Law Approved Sweet Mustard Pork Roast - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Cooking: Mother-in-Law Approved Sweet Mustard Pork Roast

By David Frick / September 6, 2019

My wife and I have a standing monthly dinner with her mother. It allows us to maintain good relationship with her while we enjoy a tasty meal together. It also gives us an excuse to make the house presentable and minimizes impromptu stop-overs to see the granddaughter.

The following recipe received 2 thumbs up from both my wife and mother-in-law.

Dry Team:
1 Tbsp Coarse Kosher Salt
1/2 Tbsp Whole Pepper Corns
3 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
2 Tbsp Granulated Garlic

These items should absolutely be staples in your pantry/cabinet/spice rack! They are indispensable for rubs, sauces, and popcorn on the stovetop (far better than anything in microwave bag).

Blend together with a mortise and pestle or spice grinder (coffee grinders are cheap and perfect, just be sure to keep it dedicated to spices so the coffee oils don’t taint your flavors). This step might seem superfluous, but it helps ensure flavors are well blended, the very fine consistency interacts great with the meat, and it gives a little more power to the flavors.

Depending on the size of your pork roast, you might need to double the spice rub. This mix adequately covered my 3.25 lb loin roast as a reference. Generously cover the entire roast with dry mix and take a few moments to physically rub it into the surface of the meat. Bonus points are earned if you cut a shallow criss-cross pattern into the top (fatty side) of the loin before coating with spices.

At this point, you have a couple options: Move on to the liquids and begin cooking for a meal same day, or wrap tightly in plastic and place in the chiller until tomorrow. I find it convenient to do some meal-prep the day before. Be sure to allow the pork loin to come up to room temperature before you start cooking.

Liquid Team:
1/3 C Maple syrup
1/3 C Mustard (half yellow, half smooth brown)
1/3 C reduced sodium Soy Sauce
1/3 C House Whisky
3 dashes Liquid Smoke

Whisk these together until consistent.

Cooking Option A: Slow cooker

Set cooker to low or medium-low (6-10hr) setting and cover the entire bottom of pot with onions. This helps elevate loin from the surface while providing additional flavor. Place loin on bed of onions, top with sauce, close lid, and let it work for for an hour or two. Since slow cooker temps seem mysterious and unpredictable, it is very easy to overcook a smaller roast

Cooking Option B: Sauce pan and oven

The key to a good braise is that about 1/2 the roast is submerged in liquid while the rest is not. A snug-fitting lid assures all moisture and flavor remains within the vessel. Since my roast was relatively small, I opted to use a 2 Qt sauce pan placed in the center of a 275 degree oven so that I could use a smaller amount of liquid. It was in the oven for about 1hr 45min.

Whichever method you choose; only pour one healthy glass of whisky while things are cooking.

ALWAYS use a probe thermometer inserted into the center of the roast to check for doneness. I usually find an internal temp of 135-140 is best to remove from the oven and let the carryover heat do the final 10. If using slow cooker (difficult to remove from heat source without ruining the mojo of the croc) turn it off when the probe indicated the center is 125-130.

Serve it with a risotto, and be sure to incorporate some of the onions and braising liquid into it for flavor consistency.

What To Expect:

As you might imagine, this will be sweet, salty, tangy, and aromatic in all the best ways! The whisky intensifies all the flavors while contributing its own oaky smoothness and enhancing the aromas of the dish. Adding some of the braising liquid to risotto helps tie flavors together and  lightens its dense and creamy texture.

What I Like Best:

Aside from the flavors, this meal requires just a little time in planning and preparation, but is super-simple at executing. Clean-up is a breeze as well.