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It’s the bye week: Here’s what to do instead of worrying about college football

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A LOT OF GRILLING.

NCAA Football: Georgia State at Penn State
Don’t know who these losers are, but they seem to be having a good time.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss is not playing football this Saturday, and frankly that’s refreshing, because Rebel football can be something of an emotional and psychological nightmare currently. So we’re providing you with this handy bye-week field guide, because you need something to do with all those hours not at the office.

First things first. We’re the premier Purdue Boilermakers blog on the web, so if you’re into this sort of thing, we wrote up the ideal Boilermaker recipe (shudders). We’re not going to do a watchability guide this week, because frankly nobody reads those things and I don’t like to waste my time. Watch whatever you want to watch. We’re watching the Purdue game.

As the premier food blog on the web, we’d like to supply you with some cooking and gustatory tips for the weekend. The weather will probably be splended, insofar as we’re now halfway through September, so it’s the ideal time to step outside, crack a cold one, and light up the grill. Let’s do this.

Grilled pork loin

  • 1 pork loin, unseasoned and oblong — it must be unseasoned, because you can do better yourself, and it must be oblong, because that shape grills much better
  • Sea salt, cracked pepper, Worcestershire, spicy mustard
  • Whatever dry-rub you prefer, your local fresh market should have plenty of options
  • Apple vinegar (orange juice works in a pinch too, trust us)
  • Lemon (optional)

Thoroughly beat the hell out of that pork loin with a tenderizing mallet. Just wail away for a good five minutes. These things have a tendency to cook a little bit tough, and this is a weekend for savory Epicureanism. Also, you can cook pork to temperature, so it frees you up for that. Next, mix sea salt, cracked pepper, and your dry rub of choice, then thoroughly massage that alloy onto every surface of the loin. Like, THOROUGHLY. Knead it into the loin’s core. Be generous in your application, too, because of what follows.

Setting that sucker aside, mix up two-parts spicy mustard and four-parts apple vinegar with one-part Worcestershire sauce. Vinegar, you see, and orange juice, help further tenderize your meat (anything acidic, really). I’ve used OJ in the past when smoking ribs, and my oh my does it improve things. Further, I live in the Carolina low country, and we are vinegar and mustard people. Maybe squeeze a lemon in there, whatever. Stir well with a fork or whisk. Placing the pork loin into a plastic bag, dump in this mustard-vinegar-Worcestershire mixture and let sit for an hour or two. It’s still early in the day, and your friends aren’t coming over until dinnertime anyway.

Grilled corn on the cob

  • Sweet yellow corn on the cob, unpeeled (do that shit yourself)
  • Paprika
  • Cracked red pepper
  • Salt, pepper
  • Lime
  • Butter, lots of butter

After you’ve peeled your corn, whip up to your taste a “rub” as it were of paprika, red pepper, salt and pepper. Go easy on the paprika, make a judgment call on the red pepper. Roll your corn cobs around in this mulch, aiming for about halfway coverage. Following that, place your cobs in pairs on a sheet of tinfoil. On top of each, place a tablespoon of butter. One slice off the old brick of butter should suffice. Then, slice a lime in half and squeeze it over both cobs for total inundation. Wrap up tightly in the foil and throw ‘em in the fridge.

Grill!

Grilling is humanity’s greatest invention, because it’s our first invention. It’s the one thing we’ve had the longest time to perfect, to innovate, to screw up, to enjoy.

I don’t think I’ve ever successfully, perfectly grilled a pork loin. It’s difficult, because it’s a weird shape and a weird cut of meat. The key here is to go low and slow. Keep the temperature DOWN until the very end, when you then sear the shit out of that thing to lock in all the flavor you’ve spent so long adding on the front end.

As I’ve already mentioned, you can more or less cook pork to temperature — pork chops especially — but doing so with a loin is a tricky matter. I tend to err on the side of well done with mine, even if the cut turns out a bit dry when it hits the plate. You do you, though, and come scream at me on Twitter if you end up with a wicked case of food poisoning.

So, low and slow for 30 (?) minutes, then crank the propane or increase temperature however you will to get a nice char job on that loin. It should sit on the grill for probably 35-40 minutes, all told. This is important, because at about the 25-30 minute mark, get those cobs wrapped in tinfoil out of the fridge and throw them on there besides. They’ll roast and boil in all that butter, with hopefully only a hint of charring, and you’ll be a better person for it.

If you want, throw in some greens, as well. A refreshing salad! Arugula with oil and lemon juice pairs well with this, since it picks up the citrus from your marinade and corn cobs. Shave some parmesan cheese onto it, dash of salt and pepper, and voila, you’ve transported yourself to the Italian peninsula in early autumn.

Eat, drink, and enjoy.