Roast pork is a wonderfully versatile entreé that’s really easy to prepare, and that’s why it’s one of our favorites to serve for holidays and special occasions.
Why We Love This Recipe
This recipe uses a “crown roast of pork,” a special occasion cut that makes an absolutely beautiful presentation at the table that is sure to impress your guests. Our recipe uses a robust rub made with olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs to infuse flavor throughout the pork as it cooks, producing a perfectly seasoned roast that’s tender, juicy, and delicious.
We also use this same rub on a boneless pork sirloin roast. The boneless roast may be less showy than the crown roast, but it’s easy to prepare and carve, and definitely, a great choice when serving a smaller crowd.
What Is a Crown Roast of Pork?
Made from two racks of pork loin chops, a crown roast of pork is actually a specially prepared presentation, rather than a specific cut of meat. The butcher prepares it by scraping the ends of the bones clean (this is called “Frenching”), scoring the meat so the racks will curve properly, and tying the racks together to form the “crown.”
Crown roasts vary in size, with the range being from 7 to 12 pounds. A good butcher will guide you in calculating what size roast you’ll need to feed your guest, but figure on 3/4 to 1 pound per person (1-1/2 to 2 ribs per guest) as a general rule of thumb.
Most likely you’ll be serving a crown roast of pork for a special occasion, so be sure to plan ahead and order in advance so you can get just the right size for your guest list.
How to Stuff Crown Roast of Pork
We like to fill the cavity of our crown roast with aromatics during roasting and cook our stuffing separately. Depending on the size of your roast and how meaty the ribs are, it’s difficult to judge how much, if any, stuffing you can place in the cavity, so we find it’s just better to bake it separately. You can still present the crown roast with stuffing at the table though. Here’s how:
- Bake the stuffing in a casserole, according to the recipe instructions.
- As soon as you remove the crown roast from the oven, discard the aromatics in the cavity and spoon in some of the cooked stuffing.
- For extra flavor, drizzle a small amount of the pan juices over the stuffing to soak in while the roast is resting.Transfer the remaining stuffing to a serving dish.
Serving Suggestion: Our Rustic Italian Menu
This holiday dinner menu, inspired by rustic Italian cuisine, is all about bold flavors, fresh herbs, and simple preparation and centered around our delicious crown roast.
- Stuffed Mushrooms Italian Style – Flavored with chopped Genoa salami, a bit of crushed red pepper, and a topping of Parmesan and mozzarella, these stuffed mushrooms are relatively light and make a great starter for this meal.
- Italian Sausage and Herb Stuffing – This recipe is an adaptation of our Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing made with crumbled, mild, Italian sausage.
- Oven Braised Zucchini in Olive Oil – This simple, rustic side dish of zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes can be roasted along with the pork during its last hour of cooking.
- Orange Rosemary Biscotti – A perfect finish for a rich meal these twice-baked, classic Italian cookies are flavored with orange zest, orange liqueur, pine nuts and fresh rosemary.
For those of you that like sweet and savory flavors, we also offer a variation on this crown roast in the recipe notes. It cuts back a bit on the garlic and pairs the pork with a Brandied Cherry Sauce and a savory Cornbread Stuffing.
Garlic-Herb Crusted Crown Roast of Pork
- 8-9 pound crown roast of pork, 14 to 16 ribs
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 sprig each of fresh rosemary and thyme
- 1 small orange, cut into chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the rub:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest
- Bring the roast to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
- Make the rub by combining the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme and orange zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
- Season the cavity of the pork with salt and pepper and stuff with the halved garlic, sprigs of rosemary and thyme and the orange. Shield the ends of the ribs with small pieces of aluminum foil to prevent burning.
- Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan and using your hands, coat all the outer surfaces of the meat with the prepared rub.
- Pour 1/2-inch of water in the bottom of the pan and place the pork in the oven. The water adds moisture to the oven's heat and helps to keep spattering to a minimum during the first few minutes of roasting at high heat.
- Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 145°F. The total cooking time should be around 1-3/4 to 2 hours for an 8 to 9-pound roast. Rotate the pan in the oven about midway through roasting for even browning. If the water has evaporated by the time you turn the pan, feel free to add some more.
- Once the roast is done, tent it loosely with foil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
- Carve by slicing between the rib bones to separate into individual chops.
Variation: Crown Roast of Pork with Brandied Cherry SauceWe’ve also served a crown roast of pork with an easy and delicious Brandied Cherry Sauce. You can still use the same rub on the roast with a couple of minor adjustments.
- Cut the garlic quantity back to 1 teaspoon.
- Eliminate the orange zest and replace the 1/2 orange in the cavity with 1/2 of a small onion.
- Serve with Savory Corn Bread Stuffing in place of the Italian-style version with sausage.
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