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I've got a whole boneless pork loin. Now what should I do with it?

  • CindyJ Dec 31, 2010 10:45 AM

I've never made a boneless loin of pork before, but they were on sale at my local market, so I figured I'd buy it, then figure out what to do with it. It's pretty big -- about 7.5 pounds. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. How many people are you cooking for....that's a lot of meat!

    5 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      Yes, I know. I'm thinking that, for starters, I ought to cut it in half and freeze one half for another time. That said, there might be four of us. Or maybe only two, and lots of leftovers.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Depending on the size of the loin, I cut it down into 2-3 sections. Small end, Center
        Cut and Large end. The ends are reserved for roasts. The Center can be used as a roast, but generally, I make 2-3 inch thick boneless pork chops out of them....or I'll butterfly 1 inch thick chops, pound and bread for cutlets.....the poor man's veal.

        1. re: fourunder

          Is the center not as tender as the rest of it?

          1. re: CindyJ

            The small end is the most tender and moist, the larger end is usually the leanest, but the center is the most uniform, so it makes for the same pork chop for everyone. You can obviously roast any of the three sections, but the small end often is butchered poorly and will make for inconsistent sized chops.

            Here's a couple videos that will help you out a bit

            http://vimeo.com/8101573

            http://www.gourmet.com/food/video/200...

            1. re: fourunder

              Those videos are great, fourunder. Thanks!

    2. Cut in half. The rest is great in sandwiches. The small end is juicier and more flavourful.(my choice) The large end is dryer and not so flavourful..like turkey breast. I usually slit and stuff with garlic and rosemary. or crushed fennel red pepper and garlic. wrap it up for 4 hrs.Braise it in a dutch oven. Brown in olive oil, deglaze with some wine and an anchovy or two...get some crusty bread YUM.

      1. There are literally hundreds of preparations - we love pork. We like to brine it and make an apple cider, maple syrup and rum glaze. Or go the Med route and poke holes, add garlic cloves to holes. Make a paste out of more garlic and fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme and olive oil and rub. Or stuff it. You can also make a dry rub from pulverizing porcini mushrooms and make a Port reduction. You can braise it in milk and make a luscious sauce. A wet jerk rub is fabulous - we recently did this and then made a glaze from orange marmalade, bourbon and orange juice. If you so desire you can save half and roast it and use the remainder as medallions. A spiced honey orange glaze can also be nice.

        Pork is literally a blank canvas and is neutral so can take a lot of treatments. Make sure to roast it only til slightly pink so it remains succulent. I pull mine out of the oven at 135, let it rest until it hits 145.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chefathome

          your various preparations sound delicious. :) you mention cooking your pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 135° F, then allowing the meat to rest until it reaches an internal temperature of 145° F -- a good tip. but what oven temperature do you use? thank you!

        2. I never buy pork chops at $2.99 a pound any more. I catch a boneless pork loin on sale and slice my own. You can get about 28 3/4 inch chops out of a 7.5 - 8 pound loin. I have gotten loins on sale for as little as $1 per pound. Usually more like $1.49 per pound. They are always coming on sale for $1.99 a pound. Even at that, it is at least $1 per pound savings. I freeze mine 2 and 4 at a time in foodsaver bags.

          1. I made a delicious pork loin for my birthday and it was easy.

            4 lb pork loin roast
            Rub:
            1/4 cup chopped rosemary (I used lots more cause I like it)
            3 tablespoons sage
            3 tsp fennel seed
            1 tablespoon salt
            2 tsp black pepper
            Pan Sauce
            3 tbsp olive oil
            15 garlic cloves, thnkly sliced
            ½ cup white wine
            1 cups chicken stock
            salt/pepper

            combine rub and coat meat, chop garlic
            Preheat oven to 450. Brush meat with 1/2 the oil and put remaining oil with garlic on bottom to provide a bed for the roast, fat side up.
            Roast for 15 minutes, lower to 300 and roast for 2 hours longer or until center reads 145-150. Cover with foil.
            Pan Sauce: pour off fat and add wine to the roasting pan and bring to boil over high heat. Add stock and reduce by half.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mickeygee

              Just to clarify -- you roast the meat directly in the pan, not on a rack? And you don't add any thickener (flour) for the sauce?

              1. re: CindyJ

                Yup. I normally would, but the recipe I was following just said to place on the garlic, so I made a little bed of garlic and settled it on that. And no flour in the sauce, so it was on the think side (less of a gravy, more of a brothy sauce), but just enough to keep the meat moist.

            2. Make up a stuffing - fruits can work well (such as peaches, and apricots), then roll it and roast it. You should get loads of great cracking as well from a loin. But as everyone else has said, you can afford to cut it up into smaller bits.

              1. Hey Cindy,
                That will be fun to cook! Some of it could be dry but not necessarily. I made a loin last week with a very good pork loin from my farmer's market and it was not dry at all. Some supermarket pork can be too lean for me but you never know.

                I would brine it in a simple salt and sugar brine for a few hours. Then dry it off, and season. Maybe a little maple on the outside would be good? I love roasting pork loin over fruit. You could core some apples and cut them in half. The loin should take a while to roast and even big pieces of apple will cook through. You could even baste with some cider if you have it around. Good advice below too about not over cooking. I also take mine out at about 135 or 140. Much more tender that way.

                Enjoy and please report back!
                JeremyEG
                homecooklocavore.com

                1. I've never tried it but I guess you could try Molly Stevens recipe for pork loin braised in milk.

                  This recipe is from the book "All about Braising" by Molly Stevens.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                    I've got the book, but there's something about pork and milk... OY!

                  2. So here's what I ended up doing. I made a roast of the middle third of the loin, as shown in one of the video links posted above, and I made a delicious balsamic-cranberry sauce to go with it (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...). I froze one third for another roast, and cut the remaining third into chops, which I also froze. All-in-all, this turned out to be a very economical and delicious purchase. Thanks for all of your wonderful suggestions.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CindyJ

                      Teach me to look upthread!! Sounds like what you did with it was just right.

                    2. I'd cut in half and butterfly it, first off. Then, depending on what flavor combinations you care for (or don't), my standby is to stuff with buttered breadcrumbs, garlic, crushed fennel, parsley, pepper and kosher salt; tie, roll and braise in a bit of white wine or even milk. You can also do a variation of Sebastopol chicken by stuffing with apples, walnuts, bacon, onion and some sage; braise that one in hard cider. If you'd like more detail re: proportions happy to provide; just ask.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mamachef

                        I love the idea of braising in hard cider, and I'd really appreciate more detailed instructions.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          Not a problem at all. Make a basic bread stuffing with chicken stock; add sauteed (but done) crumbled bacon (maybe 4 strips or so), a diced onion, 2 tart peeled diced apples, and about 1/3 c. toasted walnuts. Season with salt, sage and pepper. Now, roll and tie your roast and preheat oven to 350. In large saute pan, brown roast well all over; transfer to roaster. Add two cups boiling hard cider, cover tightly, and braise, turning every 45 minutes or so, for about 3 hours. Uncover during last hour; check cider level. When you remove the roast, add white wine and a squeeze of lemon to the pan juices and thicken if desired. We love this with rice pilaf or buttered noodles, and a sharp green vegie or salad of any kind.

                      2. I would cut it in half, too. Last night I roasted a 2 lb pork loin -- browned it on all sides first, then took the meat out and added onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, ginger, salt, and pepper. After they softened a bit, I added two apples (peeled and sliced into 8-10 pieces each) and a couple Tbs of apple cider vinegar. I turned all of this into a baking dish, added the pork on top, and baked it at 400 degrees for 45 min. or so.

                        I also roasted carrots, butternut squash, a sliced shallot and garlic, with more rosemary/ginger/salt/pepper and finishing with a little maple syrup, on a foil-lined cookie sheet on the lower rack of the oven. (This could all go in with the pork and apples if you want, but we have vegetarians at the table.) To round this all out, we had fresh cornbread, too. :)

                        1. Every so often I'll buy one from Costco and depending on it's size I'll portion it up and use the center for roasting. A few of my favorite preparation for the ends is cutlets butterflied then pounded for tonkatsu, schnitzel, satay, kebabs, or thit kho to which are some of my favorites.