Pork Rib Roast With Port Wine-Cherry Sauce

It's the time of year again when big hunks of meat sound appetizing. This one, from America's Test Kitchen, is as delectable as can be -- dare I say it might make a better Thanksgiving centerpiece than turkey? Keep in mind, you've got to start it a day in advance of serving. Also, you can have a butcher remove the bones for you, but remember to take them with you!

Photo courtesy America's Test Kitchen
Photo courtesy America's Test Kitchen

Pork Rib Roast With Port Wine-Cherry Sauce
Serves 6 to 8

1 4- to 5-pound center-cut bone-in pork rib roast, chine bone removed
2 tbsps packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsps pepper

Using sharp knife, remove roast from bones, running knife down length of bones and following contours as closely as possible. Reserve bones. Combine sugar and salt in small bowl. Pat roast dry with paper towels. If necessary, trim thick spots of surface fat layer to about 1/4-inch thickness. Using sharp knife, cut slits, space 1 inch apart and in cross-hatch pattern, in surface fat layer, being careful not to cut into the meat. Rub roast evenly with sugar mixture. Wrap roast and ribs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, up to 24.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Sprinkle roast evenly with pepper. Place roast back on ribs so bones fit where they were cut; tie roast to bones with lengths of kitchen twine between ribs. Transfer roast, fat side up, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Roast until meat registers 145 degrees, 3 to 4 hours.

Remove roast from oven (leave roast on sheet), tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack 8 inches from broiler and heat broiler. Return roast to oven and broil until top of roast is well browned and crispy, 2 to 6 minutes.

Transfer roast to carving board; cut twine and remove meat from ribs. Slice meat into 3/4 inch thick slices and serve, passing sauce separately.

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Sauce -- makes about 1 3/4 cups
2 cups tawny port
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 tsps minced
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
16 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine port and cherries in bowl and microwave until steaming, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and let stand until cherries are plump, about 10 minutes. Strain port through fine-mesh strainer into medium saucepan, reserving cherries.

Add vinegar, thyme sprigs, and shallots to port and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and reduce mixture until it measures 3/4 cup, 14 to 16 minutes. Add cream and reduce again to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs. Off heat, whisk in butter, few pieces at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in cherries, minced thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover pan and hold, off heat, until serving. Or, let sauce cool completely and refrigerate for up to two days, reheating over medium heat until warm.

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