Roasting the pork at a low temperature in a spiced salt mixture amps up the flavor of the meat and makes it extra-tender. After cooking the pork, the rack of bones is cut off and used to hold the roast for easy carving.
- 1 teaspoon plus 2/3 cup freshly ground black pepper (3 1/2 to 3 3/4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon plus 8 cups coarse kosher salt (3 3/4 to 4 pounds)
- 1/3 cup freshly ground fennel seeds (1 to 1 1/4 ounces)
- 1/3 cup freshly ground juniper berries* (about 1 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 5-pound bone-in pork rib roast, chine bone removed, all but 1/4 inch of fat trimmed
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup freshly ground whole allspice (1 to 1 1/4 ounces)
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 250°F. Sprinkle pork roast all over with 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and fennel seeds, patting to adhere. Heat olive oil in heavy large roasting pan over medium-high heat. Place pork, fat side down, in pan. Cook until brown on all sides and on ends, holding pork upright with tongs when necessary, about 12 minutes. Transfer pork to baking sheet and cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- Combine 8 cups coarse salt, 2/3 cup black pepper, allspice, and juniper berries in same roasting pan. Stir to blend. Add 1 cup water and stir to moisten. Push 2/3 to 3/4 of salt mixture to 1 side of pan, spreading remaining salt in long wide strip (about size of roast) as base for pork. Place pork, bone side down, on salt base. Pack remaining salt over entire roast, enclosing completely.
- Roast pork in salt crust until instantread thermometer inserted straight down into pork from top center registers 165°F, about 2 1/2 hours.
- Transfer roasting pan to work surface. Let pork rest 10 to 20 minutes. Remove all salt from around pork. Transfer pork to cutting board, brushing off any remaining salt. Position roast so that bones are vertical. Cut between bones and meat to remove bone slab in 1 piece.
- Place bone slab on platter. Arrange roast atop bones in original position. Carve roast and serve.
- Sold in the spice aisle of most supermarkets.
- With the pork, pour a Côtes du Rhône. We like the Domaine Rouge-Bleu 2007 “Mistral” (France, $18). Its blackberry and earthy flavors and anise notes complement the meat deliciously.