Can you cook pork on a salt block? How do you balance a spice rub? What’s the ideal finished temperature for your Prime cut? Here, Chef Mario shares his advice, expertise and years of knowledge on how to make your meal a 5-star experience.

Achieve the Right Temperature

The safe internal pork cooking temperature is 145°F, followed by a three-minute rest time to seal in the juices and keep the meat tender and flavorful. Remember that meats will continue cooking slightly while they are resting.

Muscle meats such as chops, roasts and tenderloin can safely have a blush of pink in the middle.

Balance a Spice Rub

For balanced flavor, your spice rub should follow the famous 8:3:1:1 equation:

  • 8 parts sugar
  • 3 parts salt
  • 1 part chili powder or paprika
  • 1 part individualization (Try out pepper, garlic, ginger, onion, mustard or herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage).

Get a Sweet Smoke

Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor. In lieu of a brine, use a simple pitmaster’s rub to get tasty meat with unmatched tenderness.

In lieu of a brine, use a simple pitmaster’s rub:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chile flakes

Cook on a Himalayan Salt Block

You can grill (and even serve) pork on a Himalayan salt block. Salt blocks have a threshold for very high temperatures, but should be gradually warmed up at a low temperature and then increased to desired heat to avoid cracking. Use olive oil or cover your pork with herbs like rosemary to prevent meat from sticking.

Make a Savory stuffing

Additions like apples or cranberries work well with savory herbs and breadcrumbs. Make sure the stuffing is completely cold before you add it to the pork loin and leave about a half inch around the edges to give the stuffing room to expand as you roll. In lieu of string, you can use bamboo skewers to hold the loin together while cooking.

Brine to Tenderize

A brine will tenderize and flavor pork. For apple cider brine, combine:

  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Add the pork chops to the brine and let sit for 12-18 hours.