Rack of Pork with Apples and Shallots

October 9, 2019
Created by Harmons
8 hours 30 minutes
Serves 12
  • 2 (8 bone) racks of pork (about 4 lbs each), chine bone removed, fat trimmed to 1/4" thick, rib bones frenched
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 12 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus 8 sprigs
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard, divided
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 12 lb apples, such as Fuji, halved
  • 1 1/2 lb shallots, quartered
  • 3 cups dry hard cider

Lay racks of pork flat on work surface, meaty side down (inside of ribs should be facing up). Use a knife to make 3 vertical 3″ long slits (about 1″ deep) into loins of each rack, 1 slit between every 2 ribs. Place each rack of pork into a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag and chill.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add brown sugar, salt, and 4 cups of water, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar and 4 cups ice water. Chill brine until cold, about 1 hour.

Divide brine between bags with pork and seal, squeezing out excess air. Refrigerate for 4 hours up to overnight. Remove pork from bags and pat dry. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and let come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 300°. In a small bowl, add garlic, chopped thyme, pepper, 1/4 cup mustard, and 2 tablespoons oil. Smear all over pork, working into slits; tuck thyme sprigs into slits. Upend both racks so they’re parallel to one another with bones facing up and slits facing out. Curve racks toward each other so they meet at both ends to form a crown. Holding pork in place, encircle racks with string and tie securely in 2 places; around rib bones and around thickest part of loin. If desired, wrap tops of bones individually with foil to keep them from burning.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil. Working in batches, add apples, cut sides down, and shallots and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer apples and shallots to roasting pan.

Remove pan from heat and carefully add cider, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Pour liquid into roasting pan and place pork in center, pushing apples and shallots to the edges; reserve frying pan. Roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of loin registers 135°, 1 3/4-2 1/4 hours.

Remove roast from oven and transfer apples and shallots to a platter; tent with foil. Increase oven temperature to 500°. Transfer pork to a cutting board and pour pan juices into reserved frying pan. Return pork to roasting pan; roast until browned and crisp all over, 5-10 minutes. Transfer roast back to cutting board and let rest 30-40 minutes.

Just before serving, whisk remaining 2 tablespoons mustard into pan juices in frying pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, whisking often, until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, 7-10 minutes.

Transfer pork chops to platter with apples and shallots, and spoon sauce over.