This article is going to be part instructional, part recipe so while you can absolutely jump right to the recipe card, I do provide lots of useful information to roast a perfect rack of pork. Similar to a rack of lamb, a pork rack is just a cut of half the ribs of a pig. While a similar cut to pork ribs, a rack of pork has much more meat and is more attuned to roasting. While many people have their preferred method, the recipe on this article is my absolute favorite way to roast pork.
You can buy a rack of pork at some grocery stores, and at most butcher shops. I’m lucky my butcher is knowledgeable and can give me any cut I ask for. For this instructional guide I bought a rack of 8 ribs that has not been prepared in any way, to show you how to do it yourself. After this article you’ll be able to make a ‘guaranteed to entertain at your next dinner party’ perfect rack of pork.
How To French A Rack Of Pork
No, there won’t be a diagram showing what you should be doing with your tongue. Frenching in butcher terms refers to the style of cutting away part of the meat to expose the bone. In the images below you can see that the meat I bought doesn’t yet look as pretty as the meat in the title picture. We have some home butchering to do.
If you look at the picture on the left, it doesn’t really look like much except a fatty piece of meat. Therefore we have to clean it up a bit. Note that the bones are on the bottom of the picture. Make an incision about 3 inches from the bottom straight across the entire rack. Go all the way to the bone, don’t worry…you won’t cut through.
Every part of meat below the cut, remove. Don’t throw it away, there is still good meat there, just save it for another recipe (I slow braised it for homemade street tacos). You will also need to cut the meat out from in between the bones. I’m not a professional butcher, as already mentioned, so you can see how I did it. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but try to remove as much as you can.
Next is time to remove the fat cap. I am not a fat hater, and love meat with a healthy bit of fat on it. However when roasting a pork rack I want my crust to stick on the meat, and if you leave the fat on to render in the oven your seasonings will slide right off.
Use your knife to get under the layers of thick fat and just slice. You can leave some bits of soft fat, but anything that feels tough to your fingers, cut it off. Voila, you’ve just Frenched and prepared a beautiful rack of pork.
How To Season A Rack Of Pork
So this is the section that may have the most contention. Everyone likes different flavors, so I know I can’t please everyone. However this is my absolute favorite way to make a perfect pork rack and I think most people will like it.
We start with the base layer. You can use a variety of different things, such as olive oil, mayonnaise, pesto, etc. The best way you ask me? Well that would be to use mustard. And I’m not just talking about yellow hot dog mustard either. My recipe uses three different mustard varieties to coat this pork. 50% Dijon, 25% Hot English, 25% Whole Grain. People will know you’ve used mustard, but they’ll never guess what type.
From here on out I’m working with the rack of pork already on the roasting dish. I’m using foil for easier cleanup as I’m not making a pan sauce from the drippings, but if you plan to make a sauce go sans foil. Generously spread the mustard mix all over the meat making sure to cover every inch of exposed pork. You don’t need to coat the bottom as it’s mostly bone, and will cook differently than the top. Be liberal with the mustard, you want a lot so the seasonings stick.
What seasonings do I choose? Well that would have to be Grandma’s Salt Mix. Also known as Mormors Saltmix, this is one of my favorite seasoning blends for pork and chicken. I even made a bowl of Grandma’s Salty Shrimp with this blend. You can buy this seasoning blend at any Flying Tiger store, but if you want to make a similar variety at home you’ll need:
- Salt (49%)
- Dried Oregano
- Dried Tomato
- Celery Seeds
- Coriander Seeds
- Dried Garlic
- Black Pepper
The exact ratio is proprietary, but this is a list of all the ingredients if you want to mess around with making your own.
Make sure to use the seasoning liberally, just like the mustard. Make sure to cover the sides and press the seasonings down a bit into the mustard. This will form your crust as the pork bakes, locking in juices and keeping the meat moist. I used about 30 grams of seasoning (30% of my packet) for this rack. It may seem like a lot, but this is the main flavoring for the entire hunk of meat.
This trick was taught to me by a chef years and years ago when I first started taking home cooking seriously. Make a bath of chicken stock. I use two cups of homemade chicken stock, but you can use three if you have it on hand. This keeps your oven humid and guarantees juicy pork every time. Plus, just imagine how fragrant your kitchen will be as the stock evaporates in the oven.
How To Bake A Perfect Rack Of Pork
The first baking step is to preheat your oven to 225 Celsius (about 450 Fahrenheit). When prepared, pop in the pork and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes lower the temperature to 160 Celsius (about 320 Fahrenheit) and set the clock for 1 hour 20 minutes. This will result in a perfectly cooked, yet still juicy rack of pork. Now, if you live in Europe or Japan, there are very strict hygiene rules for pigs and you can safely shorten the cooking time to leave it a little pink in the middle, however this is entirely up to your preferred done-ness.
Let the meat rest! This is a crucial step just as if you were making a steak. Because this is such a thick cut of meat I let the rack rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it. This step will preserve the juices so your pork chop is not dry.
Speaking of pork chops…
Is A Rack Of Pork The Same As Pork Chops?
In a way, yes. A rack of pork is just 8 pork chops that haven’t been separated. However one would usually grill a pork chop whereas you have to bake a rack. When I was showing you how to French the rack, you could easily cut 8 chops out and cook them completely differently. In short, the meat is the same, the cut is different. If you want a recipe for the chops I can wholeheartedly recommend my miso glazed pork chops; They’re divine.
Final Bits Of Advice
Sometimes your butcher will French the meat if you ask. I think it all depends on how busy they are, but any good one should know how to do it. If you don’t want to trouble yourself with the preparation, just ask and see if they can do it for you.
When I’m making this to entertain I plan on two chops per person. So you can easily make more than one roast at a time depending on the number of guests. If you want to stretch your budget you can serve one chop per person and pair it with a heavy side dish like loaded mashed potatoes, or rolls.
This recipe for a perfect rack of pork also makes perfect leftovers. Just store the rack/chops in an airtight container in your fridge for up to three days. You can eat the leftovers as a chop, or slice up the meat to use in sandwiches.
Perfect Rack Of Pork
- Roasting Dish
- 2.5 kg Rack Of Pork you don't need to have the exact same weight, just make sure to get a full 8 bone rack. It should end up around 2-3 kg (4.4-6.6 pounds), so you can follow this recipe like normal.
- 3 tbsp Mustard I used a mix of 50% Dijon, 25% Hot English, and 25% Whole Grain. You can of course use your preferred mustard, I would recommend staying away from American Yellow.
- 30 grams Grandma's Salt Mix aka Mormors salt mix. This is my favorite seasoning blend for most cuts of meat, but you can make a copycat recipe if you don't have access to a Flying Tiger store near you.
- 2 cups Chicken Stock homemade preferred
- Begin by cleaning and frenching the pork. Expose 2-3 inches of the bone by trimming away some of the meat. (Check the instructions within the body of this article for progress pictures).
- Trim the hard fat from the pork using a sharp knife. This step could be considered optional as a lot of people like leaving the fat on, however I prefer removing it as the crust sticks better to the meat. Pro tip: save the fat and render it down in meaty pasta sauces for an amazing flavor kick.
- Preheat your oven to 225 Celsius, or about 435 Fahrenheit
- Place the rack of pork bone side down in a roasting dish. Smear mustard all over the pork, making sure to coat the sides. If you need more than 3 tbsp feel free to use more, you want to be extremely liberal with your mustard layer.
- Coat the mustard layer with the Grandma's Salt Mix (or preferred seasoning blend of your choice). Lightly press the seasonings into the mustard to ensure a tight crust. Just like the mustard, if you feel you need more than 30 grams of seasoning, feel free to add more.
- Pour the two cups of chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting dish. Place the dish in the oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, turn the temperature down to 160 Celsius and let the pork roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. You have to let it rest before cutting into it or you will lose some of the juices. Slice into chops and serve!