Hi, my name is Ryan, long time Lurker, first time posting :p
So, i was at the grocery store today, and say an awesome pork loin, so i grabbed it.. now to cook it...
I figure im going to cut it into probably 4 sections and freeze 3 as im only cooking for 2 people...
now i know you can do the usual roast with apples and onion, but i was thinking more along the lines of brazing it with bbq sauce, to make an almost "pulled Pork" but i know it wont be because its not a shoulder... i guess my main question is, should i brine it over night and cook it tomorrow? and will it work... i figured just water down some bbq sauce throw the oven on like 250 and leave it for most of the day.. any other ideas are greatly appreciated, and ill make sure i post pictures when im done :D
also, dont hv a slow cooker, or ide toss it in there.
I agree pork loin is not a good choice for braising. Even center cut chops do poorly in braised pork chop recipes. My recommendation would be to dry roast the whole loin. The leftovers can be served in numerous ways--sandwich meat, in salads, reheated with gravy, or added to soup or rice dishes.
I buy whole pork loins all the time but I primarily slice them into 3/4 to 1 inch pork chops and freeze them. You could always slice them thicker for stuffing.
I agree that pulled pork usually requires a boston butt. You could pot roast it. You could take some of it and cut it into strips for stir frying. Like someone else suggested cutting them thin for piccata or snitzel. Cut it in chunks for a stew.
I would brine it for a few hours. Even if I was going to put bbq sauce on it, I would brine it first then marinate it in bbq sauce. Oil based flavors in bbq sauce will not penetrate like brining does. You could consider injecting bbq sauce into it.
That's about all I can think of.
I buy them farily regularly. I like to do a nice rub...cumin, brown sugar, salt, parika, corriander...whatever you like. Rub it on, let it sit, put it on the gas grill, 1st real high so you get a good crust, then lower for proper cooking through, sometimes I wrap it tight in foil after the initial sear/crusting. It always comes out juicy and oh so flavorful! I forget how long its on the grill but I use a thermometer to test internal temp (about one hour and 15 mins for a smaller roast)
Would you make a pot roast out of a prime rib beef roast, or braise a beef tenderloin? Probably not, and likewise a pork loin is not suitable for long slow cooking. It is a more expensive cut of pork, quite lean with no connnective tissue within, and should be seared then roasted for only an hour or so.
Can you braise pork loin? Sure, but it won't be very good, nowhere near the great result you'd get if braising a shoulder, and nowhere near as good as the result you'll get from simply roasting the loin. There are many who disagree and believe you can braise whatever you want to, so to each his own, but IMO don't ruin a good piece of meat with an unsuitable cooking method.
i really think you'd be better off to brine it, roast it at a "normal" temp for a contextually short period of time, slice it and serve it with the bbq sauce of choice. trying to go long and slow with a loin is like trying to pull a sinking fastball on the outside corner. it'll be a weak roller because you're not working with what you have. just like a ballplayer needs to "go with the pitch," go with the cut of meat you have, in this case a fairly lean roast--take it to the opposite field at 375 until the internal temp is 135-140.
I love pork loin though it is not conducive to slow cooking, and for pulled pork, you usually want a fattier cut. But if you want the BBQ effect w/ this, follow Greygarious's advice.
Also, rather than trying to "pull" it, you may just want to try slicing it thin. At that point, it will probably start to break apart, but I don't think you'll ever get the shredded meat effect of pork shoulder.
Brining should definitely be a plus for a loin--should help keep it moist, however you cook it. It definitely benefits when you are simply roasting it.
I love to put pork loin on the grill; we also occasionally put it on the rotisserie, and that comes out really well.
Loin is not ideal for pulled pork, but if you cook il long and low, it can work reasonably well, just like chuck is better for pot roast than round, but if you don't rush it, round will get the job done. Go ahead and brine it overnight, then dry it, sear it, and braise it on really low heat (200-225 oven, or barely bubbling on a stove's burner) in broth, cider, or beer. Once the level of the liquid drops below half, and you can start to pull the meat apart, replenish it with bbq sauce. If you use bbq sauce at the start it is likely to burn before the meat is cooked.
I find pork loins problematic and probably won't buy one again - after I eat what's in the freezer! IMO, there's not enough fat for proper slow cooking. What I've wound up doing is slicing, pounding thin and doing picatta-type dishes. You can probably find some suggestions by searching here if you haven't already. I know people have posted that they bought pork loins when they thought they were getting TENDERloins.
Edit: Welcome to the Dark Side :)