Looking for a spectacular way to not only cook meat, but also serve it? Look no further. This is a Colombian way of cooking meat in the glowing embers.
This is a great way of impressing your guests while cooking a large hunk of meat. It is traditionally done with beef tenderloin but other similar large cuts of meat will work just as well. I’m using a pork loin for this recipe. Pork loin is very well suited for this type of grilling.
You need very little equipment, only fire, salt and an old kitchen towel (that you can sacrifice). In order to cook the meat directly in the fire you need something to protect it from the high heat, and this is where the coarse sea salt (or Kosher salt) and the towel comes into play.
Since the meat is cooked directly in the fire the thick layer of salt will protect it and lock in moisture. The towel will keep the salt in place. During cooking the salt crust will dry out and harden and form a thick protective shell which is later cracked open with the back of the knife handle. This is done by the dinner table for all the guests to see. Beautiful!
It is important to know that the carryover heat plays an important role in cooking. We will remove the meat from the grill way before it has reached its done temp, since the salt crust maintains temp well making the meat cook long after it’s been removed from the fire.
- 2-2.5 lb pork loin
- 0.5 lb flaked sea salt (or Kosher salt)
- 1 kitchen towel (that you can dispose of)
- 5 ft butcher's twine
- If using beef tenderloin I recommend folding the thin end piece back and tie it up with butcher's twine so the whole cut of meat is even in thickness. If you use pork loin like I do here you don't need to do anything.
- Light a good amount of charcoal in your grill, or start a fire with some logs in a fire place.
- Place the towel on a cutting board or directly on the kitchen counter.
- Add a good 0.5" thick layer of sea salt on the towel.
- Place the meat along the short side, 2 inches in. Grab the towel and start rolling it tightly. When you're a little more than halfways, fold the ends in and keep rolling.
- Roll it all the way and tie it up with butcher's twine. Spray it all over with water to moisten the towel.
- Place the package directly on the glowing embers. If you're using a kettle grill you can put the lid back on, but cracked open so there's a 2 inch gap to make the fire breathe properly. Leave the meat for 5-10 minutes.
- Flip/rotate the meat every 5-10 minutes so it is evenly cooked. NOTE: handle it carefully so you don't crack the salt crust.
- Check the meat temp after 20 minutes. For this recipe where we use pork loin the target temp is 62° C / 144° F. However, due to the carryover heat we need to remove it from the grill way before that. Remove the meat from the grill when the internal temp is 44° C / 113° F. Leave it on the cutting board to cool off for 15-20 minutes, and keep an eye on meat temp. The target temp is 62° C / 144° F.
- Once the target temp is reached you crack open the package by the dinner table. Use the back of the knife handle to give it a light wack and open it up. NOTE: use a large cutting board as there will be salt and stuff from the package creating a neat little mess. Now slice the meat and serve!