I’m picking up three wild hogs on Friday for the Gainesville Cow Pool, so this week is all about cleaning out the chest freezer to make room for the influx of fresh pork. About a month ago my husband cleaned out and inventoried the freezer to find out what was actually in there. He made a list and taped it to the top of the freezer so we wouldn’t have to go on a treasure hunting expedition every time we opened it and it’s worked wonderfully. One of the surprises he found buried at the bottom was a small standing rib roast of pork. I’ve never cooked a standing rib roast in my life, but I pulled it out to thaw on Sunday and decided last night to just jump in and give it a try.
It was a halfway success. The meat itself was delicious, perfectly cooked and moist. The strong herb-mustard paste really complemented the stronger flavor of the wild pork. The major benefit to cooking a whole rib roast is that the loin, which is in the middle, is protected from drying out by the surrounding ribs and outer layer of fat. The bed of parsley root and leeks, on the other hand, was burned and swimming in melted pig fat. I underestimated how much fat a rib roast from a wild hog would have on it. I’ve changed the recipe below to roasting the meat on a broiler pan or a roasting pan, so the extra fat can drip away from the meat. If you want to roast vegetables in the oven at the same time, I suggest doing it in a separate pan.
Rosemary-Mustard Crusted Pork Rib Roast
1 3-4 lb pork standing rib roast, or any other bone-in pork roast
3 heaping tbl Creole mustard, or any spicy brown mustard
2 heaping tbl horseradish
1 heaping tbl ground rosemary, freshly ground if possible, or 2 tbl minced fresh rosemary
3 fat cloves of garlic
1 heaping tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper, freshly ground if possible
Start the prep the morning of the day you want to serve the roast. Rinse the roast under cold water and carefully dry with paper towels. Crush the garlic cloves with the salt in a mortar or in on a cutting board with the flat of a heavy knife. Mix the salt/garlic paste in a bowl with the mustard, horseradish, rosemary, and pepper. Carefully smear the paste over all of the surfaces of the roast. Set it on a plate in the fridge uncovered. This will allow the roast and the mustard herb crust to dry, which will help everything brown up nicely in the oven.
When you get home, take the roast out and carefully slide it onto a roasting pan with a rack or a broiler pan. Turn the oven on to 425•. Let the roast sit at room temperature while the oven comes to temperature, then put in the oven for 45 minutes. At 45 minutes, check the internal temperature by sticking a meat thermometer into the center of the roast between the rib bones. If the temperature does not read 165, put it back for another 10-15 minutes until it reads the correct temperature. Let rest out of the oven for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
To serve, hold the roast with a pair of sturdy tongs or a meat fork and slice between each rib to the backbone. Then carefully cut each chop away from the rib bone, cutting along the bone and then cutting the chop away from the spine. I served this with pureed cauliflower with plenty of butter and goat cheese. Delicious!