This looks impressive, it's very tasty, but don't tell anyone - really easy to prep and cook!
Tapenade is usually made as an appetizer - made into a spread for crostinis or toast - but can be used to stuff meats - like I did!
The ingredients are pretty basic:
Olives - 1 cup
Garlic - minced - 1 1/2 tblspn
Capers - 4 tblspn
Lemon Juice - 4 tblspn
Olive Oil - 4 tblspn
Kosher Sea Salt - 1 1/2 tblspn
Black Pepper - 1/2 tblspn
Mince the olives and capers - not too fine. Add and mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Now the hard part - it's not really that hard - prepping the loin. You must have a very sharp knife. Make the following cuts slow - take your time. If you cut too deep you will slice through the meat and there will be a hole in the finished meat. Holes are bad - the filling will fall through!
Cut down the center of the loin until there is about 2" left unsliced.
Start slicing horizontal about a 1" down from where the vertical cut stopped and open the flap up as you slice. Slice until you are about 1" away from the horizontal edge.
You can slice offset from the previous slices to open up the meat the rest of the way. You want to cut offset from the previous slices because the meat will open up more and there will be less chance of slicing through the meat and making holes.
Spread the tapenade filling evenly over the loin. You can add other ingredients into the stuffing such as cheese or some red or yellow bell peppers to add some color. You want the tapenade flavor to come through so if you add something else - make it a mild flavor or a flavor that will match well to the salty / olive flavor of the tapenade.
Roll up the loin and use butcher's twine to tie the roll up and hold it together. Have someone help you on this step and try and get the twine as tight as possible - you can't hurt the meat so pull the twine as tight as possible.
Now let's make the dry rub that will cover the outside. This dry rub is Mediterranean inspired - feel free to adjust as you like.
Garlic Powder - 1 1/2 tblspn
Kosher Salt - 1 tblspn
Italian Seasoning - 6 - 8 tblspn
Heavily coat the outside of the loin.
Place on the smoker / gas grill / oven @ 300F grate temp. Pretty easy to make in the oven. Gas grill would be tough but possible - place the loin on the side of the gas grill with all the burners off - control the opposite side burner as low as possible and keep the grate temp at 300F.
Roll over to evenly cook and get some grate marks on the other side after about 1 hour.
For a smoker - I would avoid using mesquite - it's just too powerful of a flavor and will drown out the tapenade. I would use apple, pecan, or maybe oak.
Cook until internal temp is 160F. I average about 2 hours cook time on this loin but have seen in take up to 3 hours. The nice thing is you can estimate long and let the loin rest longer. After you hit internal temp, wrap in foil then a beach towel and place in a clean dry cooler or on the counter for at least 1/2 hour to let it rest.
Cut the twine off. Slice into about 1 1/2" thick slices. The pin wheel effect looks nice - the meat should be pretty even between the coils if you cut the loin up evenly. The bark on the loin looks nice and dark offsetting the pork. If you cooked it on a smoker nice and slow, you will get some pink smoke ring too.
Serve it up - Let's eat! This is plated with a spinach, hard salami, and pepper jack cheese stuffed loin and some smoked Mac & Cheese.