Wednesday, July 15, 2009

BBQ Buzz: Grilled Pork Loin with Coffee-Spice Rub and Apricot Sauce

I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle not too long ago extolling the virtues of using coffee or espresso in recipes. Ever since that day, I haven't been able to walk past a Starbucks without thinking of dry rubs and marinades.

The Chronicle article gave a basic coffee rub recipe for a grilled pork; that recipe was the launching point for my own spicier version. And naturally, with all of the gorgeous stone fruit in season right now, I thought that pairing the smoky, aromatic rub with a simple fruit sauce would be a gorgeous complement of flavors. Happy to report that my instincts were right. Apricots won the spot in the sauce thanks to their vibrant color and subtle sweetness, and a robust French roast claimed the spotlight in the rub.

The finished product was a roast that was beautifully and deeply stained from the dark rub, but incredibly moist and flavorful. It was so good, in fact, even my dog couldn't resist from helping himself (and that's another story entirely... but for any of you that know my dog, you know exactly what happened). Canine belly aches aside, this recipe is smokin'! I suggest you give it a try, but keep it all to yourself (sorry pooches!).

Grilled Pork Loin with Coffee-Spice Rub and Apricot Sauce
  • 2-pound pork loin roast
  • Oil, for cooking
Coffee-Spice Rub
  • 3 tablespoons ground French roast coffee
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small bowl, combine rub ingredients; rub all over meat (there may be extra). Cover the pork loin and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.

Preheat a gas grill on high or prepare coals until hot. If using coals, bank the coals around the perimeter once hot. Oil the grate and the pork loin. Sear the pork over high heat on each side for 3 minutes, turning only once. Reduce the grill temperature to medium-low, or ideally (using a multi-burner gas grill), turn off the flame entirely directly beneath the loin and reduce the side burners to medium in order to provide indirect heat. Continue to rotate the pork loin every five minutes or so; cook until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the loin reaches 150 degrees. Remove from the grill and let rest; the temperature will continue to rise. The roast is finished when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Slice and serve with Apricot Sauce.

Apricot sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds apricots, pitted
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, to taste
  • Dash of salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Place apricots in blender and puree until smooth. Run the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove any pulp or chunks. Transfer to a sauce pan and heat to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer and add remaining ingredients, whisking to combine. Reduce by 1/4 or to your desired consistency.


  1. Stop, you're making my mouth water! That one's going on the grill this very weekend, providing I can find apricots (We're running almost a month late on fruit -- my sweet cherries aren't ready yet).

    I'm thinking I might want a bit more sugar in that sauce. Maybe our apricots are just more tart than yours. I'll taste as I go. :)

  2. Certainly - adjust accordingly! We've just had super sweet apricots - they've been amazing! A peach, plum or nectarine sauce would also be good with this - it was tough to decide which way to go. Color won. I can't believe the Utah fruit is so late... all that rain has delayed your flavors of summer - drats! The anticipation would be killing me.

  3. That sounds tasty. I like coffee and I like apricots and they both probably taste good together.If you would like to see the collection of tips and recipes I have for grilling you can visit