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4.5 lb center cut boneless pork loin roast - what's the best way to cook it? HELP!

Hubby brought this home from the market and I have no idea how to cook it. Is this something that's best prepared low and slow? As many details as you can provide would be greatly appreciated - oven temp, cooking time, meat temp, seasonings, etc... THANKS!

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  1. Most boneless pork roasts now a days tend to dry out .I cook fat side up on high heat till brown then braise at a lower temp white wine and cider works well under a cover a little pink won't hurt or the same process with a sofrito type liquid with extra cumin

    1. Get your dutch oven. season roast on all sides, s&p is fine, and brown on all sides in some fat. Then gently braise, covered, on stove top on low or in slower oven, maybe 325, for about an hour and a half. I like to use a bed of leeks, thinly sliced & onions, that have been cooked down a little first and which caramelize and turn very soft & yummy with the pork juices. I forget which temp it should be at, rarely take the temp, but the recipe never fails me. Should still be juicy and a touch pink on the inside, in the middle of the roast.

      You can also "marinate" it with slivered pieces of garlic inserted into the raw roast, rub down with kosher salt, and put on a bed of herbs, I like rosemary, and let sit, wrapped in plastic, in a ziploc bag in your fridge for a day. Then you can roast, uncovered in a medium oven, about 350, for again, about 15-20 mins. per pound. Another winner.

      1. This is a lean cut best suited to quick roasting. Braising and cooking at a low temperature is a sure recipe for dried out pork.

        Pork loins are all about the same thickness, so weight really doesn't affect cooking time, a heavier loin is just longer and cooking time will still only be about an hour or so. I really like a recipe I first read in a Julia Child cookbook, can't recall which one because I've made it so many times that I cook it from memory now. Served with braised red cabbage and a balsamic vinegar reduction or a homemade balsamic onion marmalade, it's absolutely delicious. The fennel flavor from the herbes de Provence really comes through here.

        Roast Pork Loin
        One 4-lb boneless pork loin
        1 teaspoon salt
        1/2 tsp black pepper
        2 tsp herbes de Provence
        2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp vegetable oil

        Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 degrees F (I put my oven to a temp somewhere between the two). Rub the salt, pepper and herbes de Provence all over the pork, rubbing in so the seasonings stick to the pork.

        Heat a small roasting pan, skillet or other flameproof shallow pan over medium high heat with butter and oil and when it is sizzling add the roast. Brown over medium high heat turning until colored on all sides, about 8 minutes total.

        Place roast in the oven and roast for about one hour, until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. I start checking the temperature after 50 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

        A four pound roast will serve about 8 people; leftovers are great in sandwiches.

        6 Replies
        1. re: janniecooks

          How can braising lead to dry food? If done correctly, a braise ought to make food more moist and tender. That makes no sense to me.

          1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

            janniecooks' method is very similar to my method, except I make a rub of toasted, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper, salt and garlic powder. I also take the roast out of the oven when my thermometer hits 140ish. I think a braise is great if the cut of meat has enough fat, but a center cut loin doesn't. That leads to it drying out.

            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

              slow cooking will break down the connective tissues, collagen, and render fat slowly; it will result in a moist piece of meat if there is collagen and fat to begin with. the hypothesis here is that the center cut loin roast will be quite lean and unable to give up internal moisture or fat. the liquid in the braise won't help. the extended cooking will dry out the lean pork.

              i agree with this and would roast it--well salted and peppered and slathered in olive oil, chopped thyme and chopped sage. we take ours out of the oven at 145--enjoying a touch of pink.

              i'd happily slow cook--or smoke-- a gunkier and fattier shoulder--the "good bad pork" as we call it.

              1. re: silverhawk

                silverhawk and adrman said it. Pork loin is tender to begin with, and has little connective tissue and fat, so braising is not an appropriate method for a fine cut like the loin.

                1. re: janniecooks

                  If you can spare an hour or two, you should brine it first. Gives you more leeway before it dries out, lets you put more of a crust on the roast.

              2. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                I agree, taiwanesesmalleats. Don't listen to the naysayers. Pork loin roasts are always sold with a fat cap layer anyway, and it slowly melts into and bastes the meat. And it's covered, so the steam also keeps the roast from drying out. And either wet or dry-brining is fine, but oftentimes, pork has already been injected with a brine solution, a lot like turkeys.

                Trust me, my recipe above, which came from Marcella Hazan's son, has never been tough or dried out. And I make it quite often.

            2. Braising is a favorite of mine, both for this time of year and for this cut. I would suggest using this recipe from Bon Appetit for Braised Pork w/ Black Grapes & Balsamic. I've made it many times and it's delicious served over polenta or mashed potatoes and a side of something green. Here's the link:

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              2 Replies
              1. re: lynnlato

                Note the critical distinction that this recipe calls for PORK SHOULDER, which is a fatty, "low and slow" cut. A pork loin is NOT fatty, and should not be braised if you want moist results.

                1. re: legalsec

                  You can definitely braise a pork loin roast. I do it a lot, and it doesn't turn out dry. You just need to control the temp & time.

              2. I've tried all kinds of recipes, but the juiciest pork loin I make is simply covered with a layer of applesauce and baked at 350 to around 150 degrees. Some cinnamon on top is a nice addition.

                1. I agree completely with those who say that braising is great for a fatty cut like shoulder (I made the Will Owens braised pork shoulder earlier this week and it was FABULOUS) but that for this lean cut dry roasting to about 140 internal temperature will be better. You can brown it first or not. I like to coat with a thin layer of Dijon mustard, maybe sprinkle with a little chopped rosemary or quite a bit of fresh thyme. 350 or 375, start checking temp around 45 minutes if you have browned it, or 50 mins if you have not. Let it rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. (PS -- taking it to 140 internal temp will kill the almost-certainly non-existent trichinosis, which dies at 137, but if a bit of pink in your pork will be unappetising, take it up to 145 or so, it will go up another 5 degrees at least while resting. Please, please do not take it to 160 as the cookbooks will tell you, it will be like shoe leather.)

                  1. Poke holes all over and stuff them with pieces of garlic and fresh rosemary. Sprinkle with pepper and rub all over with sea salt. Roast in a 350 degree oven. Maybe an hour and a half or so, but use a meat thermometer to be sure.

                    If you can cook outside, grill on a rotisserrie instead. It is absolutely delicious this way.

                    1. Only sweet meat dish I make and super easy: put it in an oven cooking bag with a cup each of pitted prunes, dried apricots and dried apples. Put a cup of brown sugar on top and pour over a 1/2 cup white wine. Roast at 350 F til 145-150 in the middle.

                      1. Low and slow is best. At 225F you should be looking at 30-40 min per lb. It certainly doesn't take 12-14 hours like a Shoulder Butt... I Smoke them... just a preference. And usually they are 9 lbs full length "Brown Snake", its dark brown after spices are rubbed on.

                        The BEST way to prepare it IMHO... Canadian Bacon. You need Nitrate whether its chemical powder, or supposed nitrate free celery nitrate, brown sugar and 10 days in the fridge.

                        1. I guess you could braise it but I buy them on sale and cut them into pork chops. They are boneless so it is easy to slice into chops. I get the loins on sale for $1- $1.50 per pound.
                          You can't beat that. Besides the grocery store charges $2.99 per pound if they slice it.

                          I would make it into pork chops. Freeze half, brine, bread and fry the other half.