Make Friends With Your Butcher: Herb and Lavender-Stuffed Standing Pork Loin Rib Roast

standing pork roast

I feel kinda cheesy. I admit it, I feel cool about using a butcher. I understand this is lame and that butchers have been around for ages, but, truthfully, in the recent year, we’ve really gotten to know our neighborhood butchers. Growing up in the ‘burbs, meat was only bought pre-cut and pre-packaged. Yes, every once in awhile you’d see the grocery store’s butcher come out from behind those weird black, plastic doors with the small square window. You’d wonder what rock he/she crawled out from because, more often than not (now I mean NO disrespect) those grocery store workers who came out from the back had a few less teeth than me and looked as though “meth” could’ve been their middle name.

After our first attempt at making homemade sausage, I realized how invaluable a butcher is. We live in a country where many people don’t know what kind of animal their meat comes from. Hold up an eggplant to a 10-year old and good chance they may not even know what the hell it is. It’s sad that the neighborhood butcher is starting to become a thing of the past. Hell, I live in Brooklyn, NY, one of the most multicultural places on earth and, in my hood alone we only have a few butchers left. I’m talking about the neighborhood butcher, not that gourmet food store up the street. You know the place – the guy/gal behind the counter has butchers hands and fingers, you know his/her name and he/she knows your name, they don’t switch employees as quickly as McDonald’s and they can easily ask you if you want “the regular”. Word is that the decline in these gems is because young people aren’t interested in carrying on the family trade. Maybe with this economic downward spiral Americans will be more willing to work with their hands again and see the beauty how happy meat/poultry can make people.

standing pork roast

Jonny and I have wanted to try and make a dish that we ate in Florence, Italy at the awesome Coco Lezzone since the last time we recreated their Pappa al Pomodoro. It was one of those meals from start to finish that will forever stay etched in my mind. Saveur did a cover story on their Herb-Stuffed Pork Loin in their April, 2006 issue. We tweaked the recipe just a bit (lavender wasn’t a part of the original recipe) and, thanks to our awesome butcher, the dish turned out phenomenally. We’re going to do a version of this for Christmas Day dinner because it’s pretty inexpensive and extremely delicious. I highly recommend you go give your butcher a big hug tomorrow.

standing pork roast



  • 1 6-rib center-cut pork loin roast (about 4-5 lbs)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and ground to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped sage
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/4 (or so) cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

  1. Preheat over to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, add together the garlic, all the herbs and lavender with a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Use a fork to make sure it’s all incorporated together.
  2. Push the handle of a long wooden spoon through the center of one end of the pork roast allowing it to poke through the other end’s center. Do this again, moving the handle back and forth and in a circular motion to allow the hole to get bigger. It will end up being about 3/4 of an inch wide.
  3. Reserve about 3/4 of a tablespoon of the herb mixture to be use in a moment. Using your fingers, push some of the herb/garlic mixture into the center hole starting on one side and the finishing on the other. Put roast in a roasting pan.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup or so of olive oil over the roast. Rub it in a bit. Using the reserved herb mixture, rub all around the top and sides of the rib roast. Season generously with salt and pepper and roast the pork in the oven until golden brown – about 25 to 30 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and continue to roast for an hour longer or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
  5. Allow pork to rest about 10 minutes and then carve into individual chops. Serve with the pan drippings (which are DEEE-LISH, by the way!).

40 thoughts on “Make Friends With Your Butcher: Herb and Lavender-Stuffed Standing Pork Loin Rib Roast

  1. Oooooo yumm! The one thing I do love about winter is that we can make rich porky foods like this and lets the aromas and heat from the oven warm up the house. I’ve been having way too much asian food the past week, so I might balance it out this weekend with a nice roast, thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Maybe you could start a ‘Make friends with a good butcher day.’ It was one of the first things I did when I arrived in Rome (after a bit of searching.) I have found a master craftsman when it comes to meat. The man is highly skilled, honest, knows the origins of all his meat, most of which is very very local and shares this information willingly, lets you know how long the meat has been hung for, jumps at the chance to order or prepare you something special – sounds to good to be true, I know, but it is – he is also seriously charming and makes me blush.
    Great recipe make even more tempting by your classy photos, yikes might have to make this at the weekend.
    I had some lardo J would have loved yesterday.

  3. No need to feel embarassed about having a butcher.
    When you live in a neighborhood, especially a city where you can walk into “town”, then you usually have a butcher, a bakery a local hardware store, a fish market etc.
    I have a butcher, but lately my supermarket butcher has been getting even better quality meats at better prices.

    Do you have a cheese man? We do! He sells pate, cheeses and fresh baguettes. Worth its price!

  4. Awesome!!!! What a great dish for the Holidays!!!! Those herbs and that shinny meat… mmmmmm delicioso!
    Here there’s many butchers and fishmongers, I have no complain and even though supermarkets attrack thousands of customers, small corner shops still have a space here 😀

  5. I miss going to the butcher shop. There was a great one in Jacksonville, IL, and it was bustling at holiday time. We have good quality meat options at Central Market and Whole Foods here in Austin, but no neighborhood butcher. Lucky you!

  6. OMG…how fantastic does that look? I bet it tastes 10 times better…yum. Good butchers seriously lacking in Napa (and they think they are the gastronomic centre of the universe..pish). Thanks for visiting my lamb post on Vinsanity.

  7. This looks positively fantastic… you could lure me away from my usual prime rib roast for Christmas day, if you’re not careful. Lord knows that would save me a buck or two… I should seriously consider it.

    So, what specs did you give your awesome butcher?

  8. Back in Mexico you really get to know your butcher better. But we also have chicken butchers in little shops that only sell chicken, they are call pollerias and they were one of my favorite places back then. There is something mesmerizing about watching somebody butcher an animal that will become dinner. lol I think I need help! :-p

  9. I do have food issues with lavender BUT (there it is), this Prime Rib-sized, big-assed Pork Roast tempts me to try out the combo.

    I know lavender appears in some Herb de Provence blends and I’m trying, tryin’.

  10. You have no idea how I wish I could find a butcher. I have no butcher. I live in the middle of nowhere and there are cows all over…and somehow…no butcher. :'( When I visit my folks this xmas, I’ll have to see if they have one because I need to try this–it looks amazing!

  11. Gorgeous photos and gorgeous roast. I love the butcher too! I love being able to ask their advice and also ask for special requests (“Can you saw those ribs in half lengthwise so I can serve cute mini-ribs?”) I do hope butchers don’t disappear. Perhaps as people become more conscious of cost they’ll have better business.

  12. Nice homage to this great profession. I have a butcher in the city and I can’t tell you how many times he has saved my life. Last minute orders, special orders.. he’s always there for me.
    As for the pork rib roast, what a beautiful cut! It’s fantastic roasted whole just like you did. I can almost ‘smell’ it from looking at it. 🙂

  13. I bring my butcher gifts all the time (homemade chutney, bits of duck prosciutto, hand-me-down baby clothes for his kid) and he hooks me up with all sorts of treats. We should all have our butchers on speed-dial.

    And that roast looks porktacular.

  14. I am so lucky to have a butcher shop right around the corner from my house. He asks me,”How the blog going?” I got a chuckle when you said to hug him, I don’t think I’m there just yet.

    Such a lovely roast you have there! Definitely like the lavender addition.

  15. That’s a beautiful piece of meat. Glad to say that I know a few butchers who know me by name…. They get me some choice cuts every once in a while 🙂

  16. Wow, now this is a truly impressive dish. I don’t know where the local butchers would be up in these parts (East Harlem) but I can do some looking. However, we are seriously lacking on the grocery front. Maybe something on the Upper East Side… Anyway, great post!

  17. can you recommend a butcher shop in bk? I’m preparing menus for tomorrow and xmas and am freaking out about it. Im guessing that italian butcher shop on metropolitan would be one, but i dont know anywhere else to find standing rib roast.


  18. Ok, first thing to do is take a deep breath. Second is think about a 2nd choice if you can’t find it. Call Staubitz (718) 624-0014 in Carrol Gardens and also call (my fave personally) United Meat (718) 768-7227 in Windsor Terrace.

    Good luck and let me know what happens!!!

  19. Butchers are true food heroes. I shop at the same one every week, ask how things are, shoot the breeze, that sort of thing. His pies are amazing and his pork chops are just that little bit thicker than normal. When I want something weird for my latest food project, he sorts things out for me.
    He knows about the meat he sells, and I know where he buys it because, and I absolutely kid you not, his trips to the cattle market in the next town are reported in the local paper.
    Welcome to heaven.

  20. I love the good pr about butchers. My gpop was a butcher and we always had the best meats. My aunt has never eaten meat from the supermarket, not even chicken. I love my butcher. John tried to convince me to switch to one closer but they weren’t as good. They even asked where he had been the next time we went. I won’t eat lunch meat from anywhere else.

    Hope you lovies had a great holiday!

  21. I cooked this little piggy just as directed for 10 people and they loved it! The flovar was so succulent and actually pretty simple. The sage, salt and pepper on the outside made it like the picture. Just do not over cook it! Mine came out just perfect, and you could tell that if it was over cooked it would mean for a waste of good porky pig.

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