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Best, moist, flavorful pork loin roast. How do I make it?

SoozyQ Apr 16, 2012 08:42 PM

I have a 3 1./2 lb pork roast and I want to make it moist and flavorful since they always have seemed to be dry in the past. I know some of you have some great recipes. Would you please
share? It's become a challenge for me to not have it turn out dry and tasteless. Please help.

  1. c
    chefathome Apr 23, 2012 06:34 PM

    Have you tried roasting it in milk? It becomes succulent and extremely tender with a great sauce besides.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chefathome
      The Professor Apr 25, 2012 09:26 AM

      That wouldn't really be roasting it though...more like braising, no?

      1. re: The Professor
        tonifi Apr 25, 2012 11:32 AM

        Absolutely, positively brine it. A brine can add flavor as well as moistness...lately with pork I've been using some modification of Alton Brown's pulled pork recipe that makes a brine that includes molasses, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and a bit of ketchup. The molasses adds a terrific flavor to the meat, and the bit of sugar it imparts helps the outside brown nicely. His recipe is quite salty, perhaps more salty than you want for a loin (when you 'pull' pork the inside & outside get all mixed together & the salty outside is distributed throughout), but I do recommend the molasses/cider vinegar/ketchup combo. Be sure to rinse your meat when it comes out of the brine and then let it air-dry for a bit so it isn't too wet going into the oven or you won't get a nice caramelized crust.

        1. re: tonifi
          1POINT21GW Apr 25, 2012 06:55 PM

          Brining does have its trade offs though. Namely making a pan sauce from drippings can yield a sauce that is often too salty.

          1. re: 1POINT21GW
            The Professor Apr 26, 2012 09:47 AM

            That is a VERY good point.
            You also wouldn't want to brined meat that is intended for pan- searing.

    2. MGZ Apr 18, 2012 04:00 AM

      As noted, the essential thing is not overcooking. Success is possible using different temperatures and consequently different times, but letting the flesh heat much past 140 will thwart even the most patient techniques.

      I can't say I'm a huge fan of prolonged brines as it has a noticeable effect on texture. It does make the meat more forgiving to cook.

      On the other hand, I am a massive fan of getting better meat from better pigs. It seems that uncured iberico pork is now available in the US. Purveyors are listed at the end of this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/din... I look forward to the splurge.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MGZ
        fourunder Apr 18, 2012 06:10 PM

        I look forward to the splurge....

        I with you on the premium pork from better pigs,. Iberico, Berkshire and Kurobuta are all fantastic.

        A good choice for us locally is the Sterling Silver Farms brand available at ShopRite. I always pick a whole loin up when it goes on sale for under three bucks. I's noticeably better than the regular offering with much better marbling.

        My suggestion for the best most flavorful pork loin roast......simple salt and pepper slow roasted. @ 225* for 2-2.5 hours.

      2. q
        Querencia Apr 17, 2012 03:11 PM

        Lately I have started cooking my pork roasts covered (I put them in a small covered roasting pan with nothing else but salt) and they come out very moist and tender. I thought I would have to uncover them at the end to get a browned surface but they get brown enough with the cover on.

        1. j
          jibberjabberwocky Apr 17, 2012 12:44 PM

          Not really a recipe, but whatever recipe we use, I always cover the loin in several pieces of bacon. It adds a tasty, crispy coating and helps prevents the loin from getting dry.

          1. The Professor Apr 17, 2012 12:25 AM

            I agree with the suggestions above. If you're stuck with the typically lousy, overly lean supermarket pork, just brine the hell out of it and don't overcook it (that's the mistake most people seem to make with pigmeat). The way the animals are raised these days, it seems that in in trying to make the meat so lean, the flavor and richness is being bred out.

            The ideal situation would be to try at some point to find some heirloom pork. It may not be something you'd have on a regular basis, but all I can say is that the first taste of a proper hunk of nicely marbled pork loin (one that is not trying to substitute for chicken breast) is really a revelation.

            1. Yank Apr 17, 2012 12:03 AM

              Brine it!

              Ideally 72 hours in the fridge or other cold place.

              This allows you to keep the cooked temperature down to about 135 which in turn helps with the moistness.

              I like to smother the top of my pork roasts with Dijon mustard & lots of rubbed sage leaves. Scrape these off while the pork rests, add some white wine to the roasting pan, reduce then add full cream. The resulting gravy is delicious & again adds moisture.

              1. 1POINT21GW Apr 16, 2012 10:31 PM

                The best thing you can do to ensure a moist roast is not overcook it. Pork only need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 137 degrees F.

                Brining helps, but a properly cooked (as in not overcooked) piece of meat need not be brined. However, brining certainly can help with moisture levels as well as contributing more flavor to the meat.

                A probe thermometer can guarantee a perfectly cooked roast every time. Set it for 135 degrees F and allow the carryover to take you well into the safe zone.

                1 Reply
                1. re: 1POINT21GW
                  scubadoo97 Apr 18, 2012 04:04 AM

                  Spot on about the internal temp being the critical issue

                2. Cheese Boy Apr 16, 2012 09:46 PM

                  High heat is a good approach ... 400 - 425 , just under an hour should be fine. The recipe I like best utilizes honey, orange juice, cracked black pepper, and herbes de Provence. I will search for it.

                  1. ipsedixit Apr 16, 2012 09:15 PM

                    Brine the roast.

                    Low and slow. Start at a preheated oven at 450 for 10 minutes, then finish off at 275 for another 50-75 minutes.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      todao Apr 16, 2012 09:21 PM

                      Fast and furious vs low and slow ;>) Can't find any argument with the low and slow idea. It'd probably work better.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        tcamp Apr 17, 2012 03:01 PM

                        I'd go with this approach. A couple of months back, I brought the same question here and then tried brining, low roasting for a much shorter time period than I'd previously used. I used a thermometer to cook to a bit shy of 140 degrees. Delicious end result.

                      2. todao Apr 16, 2012 09:09 PM

                        Prepare a blend of a of two tablespoons of olive oil, some coarsely chopped pecans, a cup of spinach, chopped red and green peppers (sautéed) a couple of cloves of chopped garlic (sautéed with the peppers and spinach) and lots of chopped olives (your choice on the olives but either green olives or Kalamata work best) and about 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs.
                        Butterfly your pork loin and spread the mixture over the meat. Roll it up tightly and secure with picks or skewers. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary and roast on a rack at 400 degrees for ten minutes, then finish at 375 degrees until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven, wrap with foil and allow to rest for ten minutes before serving.
                        Don't overcook it. That's what makes 'em dry.
                        I do it without measuring and make adjustments as needed, depending on the size of the pork loin, You may want to do that too.

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