A stunning meat centerpiece of any dinner would be this Honey Mustard Glazed Roasted Rack of Pork. Brined in apple cider with plenty of aromatics, slow roasted and glazed, and perfectly frenched rib bones make this pork rib roast taste as good as it looks! Learn how to prepare a pork rack roast, how long to cook the said roast, and most importantly how to cut and serve.
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I was asked by a viewer, months ago, if I would do a video on meat alternatives to turkey and ham for the holidays. I began thinking of interesting and gourmet roasts that would really impress guests but not break the bank. I really knew I wanted a pork roast but didn’t want to just settle for a pork shoulder.
Don’t get me wrong, pork shoulder is fantastic, in fact, I use it to make my Shredded Pork Chile Verde and it’s delicious. But I wanted a stunning roast! Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: pork rack roast! It’s very similar to a rack of lamb or a prime rib for beef, but this cut is a bit more of an economical piece of meat that most home cooks would be able to create.
This roast is simple enough to make with ingredients that, while simple, when combined really make this bone-in pork roast stand out!
My other alternative meat centerpieces, if you’re interested, include:
If you’re looking for other awesome main dishes or roasts for Sunday or Holiday dinners, be sure to check out this post of 15+ Main Dishes for a Non-Traditional Holiday Dinner.
What is Pork Rack Roast (Pork Rib Roast, Bone-in Pork Loin Roast, Rack of Pork)
I feel like this might be something I need to address before going on further in the post just to make sure that you understand the terms I’m using. All the terms above (in the subtitle heading) all mean the same cut of meat.
If you look at basic cuts of meat from pigs, the rack of pork, pork rack roast, and bone-in loin roast all come from the rib/loin part of the animal. This is where pork chops come from. So if I happen to use these terms interchangeably, just know that they all refer to the same cut of meat. I hope that this helps you be able to talk to your butcher when you ask them to cut this roast for you and be able to understand what they’re selling you.
Where to Buy Rack of Pork
You might be wondering why you haven’t seen this cut of meat just out in the meat display, away from the butcher’s station at your local grocery store. The main reason is that you most likely need to order this cut from them specifically. I just called my butcher ahead of time, told him what I was looking for, and within an hour, I walked out of the store with 6 pounds of my bone-in pork loin roast.
Basically, wherever there is a working butcher station in your store, you’ll be able to get your hands on it. This pork rack roast is extremely popular during the holidays, so they’ll have plenty on hand to sell you if you need one the same day.
How to Make a Roasted Rack of Pork
How Do You Brine a Pork Rack Roast
I am a firm believer in brining meats that you plan on roasting over a long period of time. The reason being is that the longer a meat cooks, the drier it can become without any additional moisture added to it. I do the same with my turkey breast, which you can read about here.
A brine is a simple saline solution that can vary depending on the taste and feel you’re wanting to go for. A typical brine looks like this:
- Aromatics (peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, parsley stems, red pepper flake, bay leaves)
For this brine to use for my rack of pork roast, I wanted to keep with the fall and holiday feel, so I changed it up a bit. For this rack of pork roast brine, I used
- Pink Himalayan Salt
- Apple Cider
- Aromatics (peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, parsley stems, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, fennel seeds)
I omitted the table sugar in the brining solution because apple cider is so sweet on its own, that the sugar would have been too overpowering in the brining solution. I also reduced the amount of water in this solution by about half because of the addition of apple cider.
Allow the meat to brine for at least 8 hours or for optimum flavor, 24 hours! The result of brining a rack of pork in apple cider was a super moist and slightly fruity flavored roast. This pairs super well with the honey mustard glaze that goes on top of pork rack roast.
How to Prepare a Pork Rack Roast
This extra step that I’m going to show you separates home cooks from home chefs.
A rack of pork comes with some rib meat attached to the roast still. Now you can leave the rib meat on the pork rack roast and call it a day when roasting it. However, removing that rib meat and cleaning up the bones (called Frenching) really makes this roast stand out as a centerpiece for a Sunday or holiday dinner. It takes a little bit of time, but it is super simple, and the roast is stunning when it’s finished roasting.
The only tool that you need to French rib bones is simply your utility knife or a boning knife. I find that this tomato shark (affiliate) is also great for removing silver skin (or connective tissue that doesn’t break down with cooking) from the bones for a crisp, white look.
If you’re more of a video person than a written instruction person, I highly recommend watching my Facebook Live video to see how I do this.
Start by finding the seam in the meat where the ribs and the loin come together, this is where you’re going to remove the rib meat. Make the cut (you’ll run into the rib bones) and then using the rib bones as a guide, carefully slice away the rib meat off the bones. Once that chunk of meat is removed, be sure to cut any meat that is in between the rib bones.
You’re now left with bones that still have some meat or connective tissue still attached.
This is the Frenching part of preparing the rack of pork, but I promise it’s worth it. Using the back of your knife, scrape the bones clean of the remaining meat or connective tissue. If you use the blade of your knife, you run the risk of gauging the rib bones of the roast and they won’t look as nice after roasting.
If you have a tomato shark (affiliate) or have bought one specifically to do this recipe, this is where you would use it. This tiny tool has awesome little teeth that are great for getting silver skin off of the bones.
If you’re one that freaks out about wasted meat, you don’t have to throw these scraps out. This rib meat goes perfectly in a pot of beans or cooked up with some eggs in a delicious breakfast.
Honey Mustard Glaze for Rack of Pork Roast
When deciding on what to glaze my rack of pork with, I went super traditional because nothing goes better with pork than mustard! Mustard has that sharp taste that cuts through the fattiness of pork and gives an interesting eating experience. This is why you’ll always see mustards and dried pork meats together on charcuteries boards (I talk more about that in this post).
This honey mustard glaze is super simple. All you need are:
- Whole grain mustard
- Dijon Mustard
- Apple Cider Vinegar
You want this glaze to be viscous enough that it doesn’t just run off of the pork rack roast but thin enough to actually get out of the bowl.
Even though mustard already has some sort of vinegar in it, adding apple cider vinegar would tie in the flavor of the brine nicely with this glaze.
How to Cook Pork Rack Roast
The key to roasting a perfect rack of pork lies in the way it’s roasted. Very much like my classic Simplified Stuffed Porchetta Roast, you want this Roasted Rack of Pork to develop a nice outer skin which is accomplished over slow roasting and placed on a roasting rack (affiliate).
First prep the rack of pork by covering the exposed rib bones with a piece of foil long enough to cover the whole rack of ribs. All the work of Frenching the bones will have been wasted if the rib bones are not covered with a piece of foil. Covering the bones helps keep them white instead of turning brown over the course of roasting.
Placing the pork rack roast on a roasting rack helps the roast to evenly cook on all sides without the risk of having a soggy bottom, much like my porchetta roast.
The secret to having a super moist pork roast is to slightly undercook the roast so that the roast can come up to the right temperature while resting. It is so much easier to do this with an oven-safe thermometer (affiliate) because you can just set the temperature you want the meat to come to and the thermometer will beep when it’s done.
I set my thermometer to reach 150 before I pull out the roast from the oven. It takes about 2 ½ hours roasting at 325 degrees for this rack of pork to be fully cooked.
Over the course of the roasting time, glaze the rack of pork with the honey mustard glaze with a pastry brush. I do about 2-3 glazes during the roasting time to reduce the number of times the oven door is opened since ovens cool drastically each time they’re opened.
Once the pork rack roast has reached the temperature you want it to be, allow the roast to rest for at least 15-30 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute and the roast to come up to a fully cooked temperature.
How to Carve a Pork Rib Roast
Now that you have this beautiful roast cooked, it’s time to carve and it’s super simple. I use the placement of the ribs to determine where to cut each portion of the roast. If that seems like too much for some people, you can cut each of those pieces in half, ending up with one bone-in pork rib roast and one boneless pork rib roast.
When I bought my roast for my Facebook Live video, I ordered six pounds from my butcher but had him cut them both in half. Six pounds would easily feed twelve people for dinner, which is perfect for the holidays. And six pounds ran me a little over $30. Totally worth it!
If you find yourself with leftovers and want to know how to reheat this pork rack roast without drying it up or changing the taste, I highly recommend reheating the roast in a slow cooker. It keeps the roast super moist and evenly reheats the roast.
I hope that you have enjoyed with the recipe and that it becomes a new favorite for the holidays! If you loved this recipe, tell me all about it with a comment (and rating) down below!
Chances are if you’re wanting to change things up for a holiday dinner, or even a Sunday dinner, you’re looking for killer side dishes as well. Be sure to check out this post of 20+ Unique and Gourmet Holiday Side Dishes.
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- 6 pounds rack of pork, pork rack roast, or bone-in pork loin
- To taste salt and pepper
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups apple cider
- ¼ cup pink Himalayan salt
- .75 ounces thyme, rosemary, and parsley stems
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flake
- 2 bay leaves
Honey Mustard Glaze
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup whole grain mustard
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider
- Bring pork brine ingredients together in a stock pot and boil until salt is dissolved, about 30 minutes. Allow the brine to cool before putting roast in pot.
- Put roast in stock pot and allow to brine at least for 8 hours, if not for 24 hours.
Honey Mustard Glaze
- Mix ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
Roasted Rack of Pork
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Remove roast from brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove rib meat from roast by following the natural seam in the roast. Use the rib bones to guide you. Either discard rib meat or set aside for other use.
- Using the back of your knife or a tomato shark, scrape off the silver skin still attached to the bone until the bone is clean. Wrap cleaned bones with aluminum foil.
- Season pork rack roast with salt and pepper, then place on roasting rack. Insert oven-safe thermometer into the middle of the roast and set to 150 degrees.
- Place roasting pan/rack in the middle of the oven and allow to roast until done. Glaze roast when the thermometer reaches 80 degrees, 120 degrees, and 140 degrees.
- When thermometer beeps, remove roast from oven and allow to rest 15-30 minutes. Glaze roast one last time with the honey mustard mixture before serving.
- Carve servings alongside the rib bones. If those servings are too big for your guests, cut those pieces in half, creating double the amount of portions.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 8 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 1321 Total Fat 67g Saturated Fat 23g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 36g Cholesterol 423mg Sodium 3823mg Carbohydrates 45g Fiber 2g Sugar 40g Protein 128g