Fall recipes: Cider-brined roast pork

10/30/15 – BOSTON, MA. – Executive Chef Tom Barton makes a fall inspired Pork dish on Oct. 30, 2015 in Exhibition Kitchen. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Here is the third installment in our fall recipe series from campus executive chef Tom Barton (the first two were a baked apple and pumpkin pizza dough). In his practiced opinion, brining, or soaking, the pork in a combination of apple cider, salt, and sugar and then letting it sit overnight will add flavor and moisture to the dish.

Yields four to six portions
(View recipe as PDF)

Listen to Tom discuss his inspiration for the recipe and offer some cooking tips:


  • 3–4 lbs. pork loin
  • ½ gallon apple cider
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, dried, and with thick stems removed
  • 1 bunch arugula, washed and dried
  • 8–10 oz. spinach, washed and dried
  • 2 apples, cored and diced small
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and chopped fine
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons oil divided
  • 6 to 8 slices bacon
Campus executive chef Tom Barton cuts into his roast pork dish. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Campus executive chef Tom Barton cuts into his roast pork dish. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

1. Combine the apple cider, kosher salt, and brown sugar. Mix well to dissolve the salt and sugar. Place the pork in an appropriately sized container and cover with the apple cider brine, being sure that the pork is completely covered and submerged. Cover and place the container in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat a medium-sized pan over medium-to-high heat and add oil. Lightly season the roast with black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, carefully add the pork to the pan, and then brown well on all sides and ends. Remove the pork from the pan and let rest.

3. Place a medium-sized pan over medium heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the apples and shallots and sauté until the apples and shallots are lightly browned and softened. Add the garlic and cranberries and continue to cook for another minute. Add the kale, arugula, and spinach and continue to cook until the greens are lightly wilted. Season the mixture lightly with salt and pepper. Remove the mixture from the pan and place it on a baking sheet or plate to allow it to cool slightly.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pork on a cutting board and slice it down the middle lengthwise about half to three quarters of the way through, being careful not to cut it in half all the way. Place plastic wrap over the pork and, using a meat mallet or heavy flat-bottomed pan, flatten the meat slightly until it is approximately ¾ inch thick. Evenly arrange the greens mixture and roll the pork roast the long way to create a pinwheel, placing the seam side down.

5. Wrap the individual slices of bacon around the stuffed roast until it is completely covered. Sprinkle the top with black pepper. Place the roast on a lightly greased baking sheet and place it into the pre-heated oven. Check the roast occasionally to be sure the bacon is browning evenly. Take the pan out and rotate if necessary to ensure even browning. Continue to roast until an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit has been reached. Remove the roast from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes.

6. Place the roast on a clean cutting board and slice it to the desired thickness. Arrange the slices onto a serving platter and serve with your favorite side dishes.