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How Long to Roast a Pork Loin?

There is a delicious sounding recipe in the latest Sur la Table catalog for roast pork loin, stuffed with chopped dried fruits that have been simmered in tawny port. I want to do that for Christmas dinner, and today I found two fine roasts on sale. (will just marinate one in a lemon-herb mix for our diabetic friends) The recipe says to only roast the pork for about an hour at 350. Obviously I don't want it dried out, but my relatives are NOT going to eat pink pork, period. Will an hour at 350 really be long enough for a 4 1/2 pound pork loin roast?

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  1. I would recommend investing in an instant read thermometer - about $12 - $13 worth (at Sur la Table.) Time is less important than temperature. For your pork loin you are looking for an internal temperature of no more than 145 degrees. When you take the roast out of the oven it will continue to cook for a while (that's called carry over) and after resting for 15 - 20 minutes it will reach the perfect temperature of 150 - 155 degrees.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JockY

      I totally agree about the thermometer. Just did this, with a loin that was about 2 lbs & it took a good hour + at 350 to come to 150. Even after resting it was a nice tenderness, though I'd try the 145 & rest method next time.

      Try to get one that comes with a cord & timer/beeper, so you stick it in the center of the meet & set the desired temperature, then it beeps at you when it's reached 150! (The timer part doesn't go in the oven) I think I got mine at IKEA for $10. It also functions as a regular timer.

      1. re: bbc

        Cooks Illustrated just did a retest of these, and recommends the one from Thermoworks (which I believe bought another company that used to make these). Just bought myself one from their website for 19.95 plus shipping. Haven't gotten it yet . . .

        One thing they noted is that the presets on these gadgets are generally set to FDA guidelines for doneness, which may be far more "done" than we would necessarily like, so if you get one, you want to get one that allows you a workaround on that.

    2. A thermometer cannot be beat, but there's also rules of thumb for planning the cooking time of a roast. I'm sure there are such charts online somewhere. I think I got mine from an encyclopedia of cooking, years ago. Pork is usually 25-29 minutes per pound, I think, but there's a difference between times for bone in and boneless, and I can't remember the exact times. Joy of Cooking has guidelines, and all other complete cookery books will have something similar.

      AnnieG

      3 Replies
      1. re: violabratsche

        That's very true but unless you are very skilled in the art of roasting meat ther are a lot of variables which can affect the outcome. For example if the meat is taken straight from the refrigerator to the oven it will take longer to reach the desired internal temperature than if it is left to come to room temperature. Ovens as we know are often out of callibration and that too will affect the cooking time. And so on...

        1. re: JockY

          Ah, very true, but as I said, rule of thumb...basic times and temps to start with. There's sure a whole pile of difference between an hour for a 2 pound roast and 3 hours, that I heard some friends talking about.

          AnnieG

        2. re: violabratsche

          <i>Cook's Illustrated</i> tested that this year. Room temperature meat did not roast significantly faster (a difference of, on average, 10% of total oven time), and the exterior reached the "danger zone" well before it went into the oven.

        3. Somewhere Julia Child discussed roasting a pork loin and she pointed out that the weight of a loin (note we are NOT talking tenderloin, but loin) makes little difference in the time required to cook the meat, as a pork loin is generally of uniform thickness and a heavier loin is just longer, not thicker. So yes, a hour to an hour and a half should be sufficient, but 1) like all other posters I recommend using an instant read thermometer and 2) having never made a stuffed loin, I would expect a stuffed loin would take longer, just as a roast chicken or turkey takes longer stuffed than unstuffed.

          As an aside, I once purchased a loin roast from my local grocer and failed to notice at purchase that it was two loins tied together to make one fat, round roast, so it took about twice as long to cook.

          1. Roasting a certain number of minutes per pound is always problematic and never precise,
            given the variations others have mentioned.

            In this case, your stuffing is also a variable.

            Buy a cheap instant-read thermometer as others have recommended.

            A stuffed pork loin will never take as long as an unstuffed one, and remember when you do take the pork internal temperature, take it so the point is still in the meat, not in the stuffing.

            I take pork tenderloin out of the oven at 137 F. Carryover cooking (with foil) takes it to 143-5, with a warm pinkish interior. You can serve your relatives pork from the more fully cooked ends of the loin, or keep your loin in the oven till about 140. Above all, don't overcook the pork.

            4 Replies
            1. re: maria lorraine

              She did say her relatives would refuse to eat pink pork, which any finished temp. under 160+ is going to yield. I'm afraid she's stuck with either serving dry pork or finding new relatives...

              1. re: Will Owen

                Yep, read that about the pink.

                OK, maybe out of the oven at 145, carryover to 152-5 degrees for just through brown/greyness and no pink but still with a modicum of juiciness. No, don't think so. Won't work. Pork abuse. Still pockets of that going around.

                Find guest lecturer to speak on pork and doneness with charts and handouts if it would do any good. Nope, old inaccurate ideas die hard. Won't work.

                New relatives?? Now there's an idea! Oh wait, that won't work either. You love these people, flawed though they may be.

                Maybe choose a different meat with no "doneness" issues?? Maybe choose another occasion with different guests to serve this stuffed pork loin? Maybe? Yes.

                Luckily, pork loin freezes well.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  Maria Lorraine, LOL. I am imagining the guest lecturer setting up his/her charts and handouts in my dining room for pre-Christmas-dinner edification.

                  Pork loin it will be. I bought the dried fruits and the tawny port today. There's no turning back now.

                  1. re: zorra

                    Hope it's a nice dish...sounds impressive!

            2. Assuming your oven is accurate and ultimately you will apply some of these suggestions presented to you...consider slow roasting if time is not a factor for you and I will guarantee your meat will not be dried out. I have been slow roasting meats ever since I read an article in Cooks Illustrated, and party guests are always amazed how moist the meat turns out and what a pleasurable difference it makes. The method works well for pork, beef and turkey.....

              For a pork loin roast @ 250 degrees, cooking time is about two hours.

              For a pork loin roast @ 275 degrees, cooking time is about
              one hour and 45 minutes

              My personal favorite temperature is cooking @ 225 degrees.. Think about it as the way BBQ Pit Masters ply their trade. I have tested varying temperatures every time I use the oven for meats of all cuts and grades and the most compliments come from 225*. If color is not to your liking, simply brown under the broiler for a few minutes or crank up the oven for the last 10 minutes @ 500 degrees and your roast will look great.

              BTW...This is the only way I will cook a Prime Rib Roast.....and almost all commercial kitchens concerned with costs, quality, less shrinkage and a better end result of product cook this way in Cook and Hold ovens made by companies such as Alto-Sham.

              2 Replies
              1. re: fourunder

                HI for the 225 deg., how long is a 12 lb pork? Thanks, Paula

              2. I made that dish for Oktoberfest for our gourmet group--it was fabulous, btw.

                I made it twice--once the week before, to test-drive it. I'm not disputing the need for a thermometer, but I wanted to report that I cooked it for about an hour both times.

                1. That doesn't sound long enough to me at all. I just made the Pancetta Wrapped Pork Loin with Fig Jam from Epicurious tonight for dinner (it was wonderful--I highly recommend it). I had a 2.75 pound pork loin, and it took 1 1/2 hours at 400F. To keep it moist, start marinating several hours before or overnight. The recipe that I made also called for me to wrap the loin in thinly sliced pancetta, which I'm sure helped to keep it moist as well.

                  Good luck!

                  Julie

                  www.peanutbutterandjulie.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PBJulie

                    But that isn't stuffed. Much less cooking time if stuffed. The heat penetrates more quickly.

                  2. Just did a 4.5 lb. loin at 300 F. Checked it after 2 hours --> Internal temp 185 F!!!!!!!!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jmunn

                      Next time, do the same size loin at 250F, allowing 30 minutes per pound. oh yeah, forget about that half pound and pretend like you're cooking a clean 4 pounder-it's just one of two ways to make sure the loin comes out perfect. The other method is carryover of course. Pull the loin when internal temp reaches 140. Let rest for a half hour, minimum. You should be quite pleased with the result....

                    2. 3.5 lbs at 350 degrees took 1 hr 15 minutes. I removed it at 138 F and let it sit for about 15 minutes covered in foil. It got above 140 F , wasn't pink and was still juicy. Flipped it once during cooking, ending fat side up.

                      Didn't marinate it or brine it, either, just a dry rub. It was a no water added loin.

                      1. nothing worse than dry pork.

                        I'd say spend $25 if you have it and get a digital probe thermometer. You can set it for the temp you want(say 145) then remove from oven, foil wrap and let it set again till it hits the temp you need.

                        Remember, you can always cook to the degree of doneness YOU like, and nuke the servings going to relatives . I do this all the time for my hubby who will not eat chicken until it's rubbery, or rare salmon.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Trichinosis is killed at 137F. Cooking to an interior temperature of 140 gives you a margin for error, and the rest period out of the oven raises the temperature to 145, which is, admittedly, somewhat pink.

                          You could slice it 1/4" thick and brown each slice slightly in the roasting juices, which is a pain but will quickly darken the color with the deep brown of the juices.

                          One way to prevent drying out is to take the roasting pan out of the oven when the interior is 140 and cover it during the resting period, which makes the interior the nice gray your guests insist on while keeping the moisture in.

                          Grit your teeth, break the piggybank and spend the @$&%# $95 for the Thermapen instant thermometer. It's that much better than anything else, and it lets you calculate the temperature precisely.

                          The alternative is beef. I make the slow-roasted eye of round from the January 2008 Cook's Illustrated, and it was really excellent. Go easy on the salt for the overnight conditioning, though. The method is described in sufficient detail even without a subscription at http://www.cooksillustrated.com/login...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: KRS

                            I use a Polder analog instant read thermometer. Less than $10. If you're all anal about calibration, you can check/recalibrate it in a cup of ice and water. Works just as well as anything else.

                          2. If you brine it you'll have more wiggle room to go over in order to avoid any pink

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              Better yet: tell your guests at the outset that the brine turns the pork pink - you know, like corned beef?