Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Butterfly, Stuff, Roll, and Tie a Pork Roast Like a Celebrity Butcher

Like almost all the videos I do, this tutorial for how to butterfly, stuff, roll, tie, and roast a pork loin was inspired by a viewer’s request. However, this was NOT your typical food wish, as it came via Chris LaFrieda, from the celebrated Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors

That’s right. America’s most famous butchers are fans of the channel, and asked me if I wanted to do a video with some of their fabulous meat. After carefully considering the offer for two or three seconds, I agreed, and we decided to show their technique for a rolled, stuffed, caul-fat-wrapped pork loin.

Not only do the LaFrieda’s star in their own TV show, "Meat Men," but their client list is a who’s who of the country’s top chefs. Their custom burger mixes are legendary, with the most famous being the Minetta Tavern’s “Black Label Burger.” Basically, if you’ve not heard of Pat LaFrieda Meats, you need to turn in your foodie card right now.

I tried my best to adapt their technique for the home kitchen, and as you’ll see, there really isn’t anything that even an average home cook couldn’t accomplish. For example, the butterflying may not look very elegant with all those slash marks, but in the end it will look amazing, and is a bit easier than the pro method.

As far as the caul fat wrap goes, you’ll need to go past the supermarket meat case, and talk to a real butcher. Anyone that can get you a large pork loin roast, like the one we used here, will be able to get you a half-pound of caul fat. It really is one of the keys to this procedure.

Pork loin is so lean, and by covering it in a thin layer of caul fat, you’re adding lots of moisture, as well as another layer of flavor. I highly suggest you find some, and if you don’t use it all for your roast, it makes a perfect casing for some sausage patties.

Anyway, a very special thank you to Chris LaFrieda, and the rest of the LaFrieda family for the opportunity to share this great technique. I hope you enjoy the video, and it gives you the confidence to try this exciting technique soon. Enjoy!

5-6 pound boneless pork loin roast, butterflied as shown
salt and pepper to taste (be generous, that’s a lot of meat)
3 cups any prepared bread stuffing recipe (ones with herbs and dried fruit will be particularly delicious)
caul fat, as needed
1 sliced onion for the roasting pan

Roast at 450 degrees F. for 15 minutes to sear.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees F. for about 1 1/2 hour OR until an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.

Pan Sauce Note: Once you remove the roast, you can add a splash of water to the pan, along with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar if desired. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, scrapping the goodness from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Season to taste, and spoon over sliced meat.


Tomek G said...

DO NOT google "caul" with your search filter set to anything other than strict. Trust me on this one

Other than that - as always - the recipe sound great. I'm looking forward to the weekend to try it.

Thom said...

Spectacular. Until my recent attempt at a Porchetta I had no idea how important it was to tie the rolled pork securely. I always thought you just needed to hold it together to get it into the pan, WRONG! Following Chef John's lead here with tight knots and plenty of individual loops will keep your roast looking amazing. THANKS CHEF!

Eric Pepple said...

Man this looks fantastic, thanks for the lesson. It was awesome!

Happy Valley Chow

philogaia said...

Wrapping that lean meat in a lovely sheath of caul fat. Brilliant. I would guess that would also improve a pork tenderloin as well. I'm a low carb person so my brain is already working on non-starchy stuffing ideas. Perhaps blue cheese, greens and walnuts? Probably would need ricotta or egg or both to bind it. Hmmm.

LauzPT said...

This looks awesome! I'd love to give it a try, but I've never seen caul fat selling at butcher stores in Portugal, and really... I wouldn't even know what to ask for if I wanted to buy it (wikipedia did not help). Any replacement suggestions? Maybe thinly sliced bacon?

Daniel Arsenault said...

@Tomek G: Thanks. I should have trusted you right away.

hiddy said...

Hey Chef, Can we use beef with this technique? If so, what cuts are recommended? Thanks :)

Sick Vans Blog said...

Wow. Your food porn gave me a raging food chubby.

Mark Anderson said...


Chris said...

Golf clap. Well done, Chef, as always. I've done a few spiral cut roasts and I still picked up a few tips here.

Kelly said...

Made this for a dinner party I hosted and it was a HUGE hit! The only sad thing was that I couldn't get caul fat anywhere in my town so I had to use bacon instead. It still worked and I was quite pleased with the results.

Bret said...


Is the stuffing pre-cooked? I assume that it was.


Chef John said...

It's not cooked! Cooks in the roast!

Kajikit said...

Thank you for solving my Thanksgiving Day Dilemma! I wanted to do pork for the two of us instead of turkey, but I wanted to make it 'holiday special'... now it'll be easy.

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

Chef John,
What about some brine after unrolling the roast and before rolling with the stuffing? Thanks.

Leisa♠ said...

Chef John: Thank you for this excellent video. I prepared this roast using your technique for a very large beach dinner party (26 people). I used 2 full loins, cut in half. Rubbed inside with olive oil and garlic, lay prosciutto, spinach and parmesan cheese over top and rolled. My butterfly technique needs some polish, but I will tell you that without your video it would have been a disaster. Very sharp knife makes quick work. With your video it looked professional. Everyone commented on how beautiful it was. Unlimited stuffing possibilities.

Cooks notes: Brining: unnecessary and renders pan juices unusable. Digital Thermometer (that snakes through oven). A must. I took to 140 and let rest. It was perfect. I did not use caul fat. Left fat cap on and roasted at 475 for 30 minutes and turned down heat to 325.

Do Ahead: Prepare roast day ahead--butterfly, stuff, tie. Put in 2.5 gallon ziploc. Next day, bring to room temp before roasting.

Rolling us was easier than I thought. Meat was very forgiving.

Thanks for taking the time to provide such professional, high content value videos.

Kirsten Weger said...

Chef John I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your video instructions, along with your humorous commentary, have turned my son into a huge fan of yours! To teach these skills to a teen boy is commendable. He has made the stuffed pork loin as well as chicken Kiev so far, both were picture perfect and tasted even better!

Chef John said...

Thank you! That's so nice to hear. You've clearly done an amazing job of raising him. :) Proven fact that teens who learn to cook, live happier, healthier lives!

Kirsten Weger said...

Cooking is a skill every person should have, even if it is just basics, but you're more elaborate dishes are fun for him to experiment with and learn from, which increases creativity, and with him on the spectrum, that's even more important!!! My girls like to bake, but both my boys love to cook...we have many dishes passed down through the generations but it is so nice to not have the same "boring" meals! The passion to cook comes from my mom, not me! I am pretty sure your "style" of teaching has everything to do with the enthusiasm he has choosing a recipe, and really making an effort to put forth a great dish, so kudos to you!

Sally said...

Leisa: Thank you so much for your Cooks Notes! They were very helpful.

Kim Quinn said...

140F is perfect. By the time it rests it is just slightly above and it will be done but slightly pink, juicy and perfect. Many sites claim to look for a internal temp of 160!😲😞 Loved your video.