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Trouble shoot my pork loin

c
chinaplate Jan 8, 2014 09:43 AM

http://www.dinneralovestory.com/marce...

Here is the recipe. I made this once almost exactly as directed and it was good but a bit dry. For a holiday meal I doubled the amounts but tried a different approach. Specifically, I've recently learned that the key to great pork chops is removing them from the pan soon as my thermapen reads 135 degrees. So I browned the roast and after 45 minutes of cooking checked the temp. They were getting towards done. But I kept going a good bit longer since the recipe is for a long slow cooking. At 1hr 15min the temp was 165 and I just pulled them. The pork was embarrassingly dry. Luckily the sauce was good and the side even better.

So here are my questions ... would cooking it longer have helped? I.e., some infusion of fluids back into the meat? Did I maybe brown too aggressively? Should the simmer have been much much lower so that the meat would just be 135 after two hours?

I love the milk curd flavor but am not eager to ruin another pork loin!

  1. ennuisans Jan 8, 2014 06:41 PM

    For comparison, here's Laura Calder's milk pork cooked in the oven rather than stovetop. I've cooked it before and liked the result:

    http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

    But it may be that our tastes are different. Our family tends to overcook pork. A couple of nights ago I browned and then dry roasted a ~2 lb loin at 350 for an hour and it was about 160 when I took it out. It was fine for us, about pork chop consistency, but that might be overcooked for others.

    1. a
      amishangst Jan 8, 2014 04:49 PM

      I've made this three times and have never had an issue. I did it based on time, not temperature (lost my thermometer in my latest move). The first two times I followed the recipe in the link you provided with a loin, the third time I followed the recipe directly from Marcella's book (which turns out to be slightly different in terms of the instructions for adding the milk) and used a Boston Butt the third time (as recommended in her cookbook). All three roasts were boneless, bought from my neighborhood butcher, and roasts 1 and 3 were 3#, the second one was a little closer to 2#.

      The third time was the juiciest, but it's not fair to compare since I used a different cut. However, I did not find the loins to be dry at all.

      I will say that I barely browned the meat. I did it, but by no means was there any sort of "char" or crust on it. And I had a very low simmer. My stove is also the original electric one my unit was built with back in 1986 and it runs hotter than any stove I've ever used before so I had it on warm, rather than low.

      1. i_am_Lois Jan 8, 2014 01:48 PM

        I'm in my 60's. When I was a child my mother made the most delicious, moist, pork loin roasts. I would watch her. I recall the roasts she used always had a heavy white cap of fat covering it. Now days you just can't find pork loin roasts for sale where they've left that fat on. It is trimmed of all fat right down to the meat. I have Mom's recipe, but the pork I prepare is always overly dry and lacking flavor. I think it's because the meat can no longer be continually basted with the melting juices and fat that the butchers now days find necessary to remove.

        2 Replies
        1. re: i_am_Lois
          Will Owen Jan 8, 2014 05:33 PM

          Actually, it's not that the butchers are trimming it a lot, it's that there isn't much to trim! Mass-market pigs are being raised and sold tragically lean. I got myself a larding needle just for those cryovac-packed boneless whole loins I used to buy a lot of, and pushing strips of bacon fat through a roast of that plus brining helped a bit. Best way was to butterfly it to about 3/4" thick and then jelly-roll it with a very buttery mushroom stuffing.

          1. re: i_am_Lois
            MamasCooking Jan 8, 2014 06:24 PM

            My late mom's pork roasts were like that too. Succulent.

          2. porker Jan 8, 2014 11:24 AM

            I agree with most posters and will add to biond and wanker: pork @ 165F (especially the lion) will be dried out.
            To be moist, it should be on the table at 135+ish, but you still gotta account for residual cooking.
            I usually cook large 10lb+ roasts and usually pull out of the oven (or Q) 10F lower than needed (eg, if I want a 130F rare roast beef, I'll pull it out at 120F).
            The pork loin is small, so there won't be as much residual cooking - maybe 4F-5F.
            So, do'n't worry too much about the time cooked, maybe pull it out @ 132F, let it rest tented with foil for 10 minutes or so and you should be at 135ish medium cooked (hopefully moist).

            But as everyone says, being lean generally means being dryer...

            1. w
              wanker Jan 8, 2014 10:56 AM

              Either use enhanced pork loin or if you're using natural pork then you'll want to brine it.

              Also pork loin is finicky even in a braise, so it sounds like you should have pulled it from the oven around 55 minutes given that the residual heat will continue cooking the pork for a while.

              1. h
                Harts52 Jan 8, 2014 10:48 AM

                I'm following these comments with interest. I don't cook pork often but when I do, it's usually something far-from-gourmet in a crock pot with bacon, onion, sauerkraut and whatever cut of pork I happened to pick up. This used to be a recipe that was a simple but nice winter comfort food served with mashed potatoes but, as years passed, the result has often been an almost sawdust texture to the pork. I'd love to be able to make this again with an *edible* (read: not sawdusty) result.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Harts52
                  chowser Jan 8, 2014 06:40 PM

                  Try using pork shoulder/boston butt. You need fattier cuts of meat w/ crockpots.

                2. biondanonima Jan 8, 2014 10:46 AM

                  Loin is actually just not a great cut for braising, especially given how lean supermarket pork has become. Longer cooking would NOT have helped - once pork loin is cooked beyond 135-140, it's done for.

                  I would use shoulder for this recipe or any other like it, where you're using a low-and-slow technique to produce well-done meat. You can roast loin low-and-slow, but you still have to pull it at 135-140.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: biondanonima
                    c
                    chinaplate Jan 8, 2014 12:45 PM

                    Okay, with shoulder would you go beyond medium rare temperature? Is the idea that there would be enough fat to keep the meat moist and tender?

                    1. re: chinaplate
                      biondanonima Jan 8, 2014 12:52 PM

                      Yes, with shoulder you WANT to go beyond medium rare, because there is a lot of fat and collagen in shoulder that melts and becomes tender and delicious at higher temps.

                      If you want to make a braised recipe with loin, I would suggest a very low temperature (oven at 225, maybe) and the use of a probe thermometer so that you can pull the loin when it reaches 130-135.

                      1. re: chinaplate
                        C. Hamster Jan 8, 2014 04:15 PM

                        I'd say you HAVE to go past medium rare with a shoulder.

                        It's what you use for pulled pork. Gets cooked to 180-200

                      2. re: biondanonima
                        f
                        foreverhungry Jan 8, 2014 08:52 PM

                        Agree and disagree.

                        Pork loin is a tricky cut to cook well. It can be braised easily, even today's lean pork. Sear for flavor, then braise in oven at low temperature (225-300; milk braise is great), and pull at 130-135 internal temp and rest for 15-20 minutes. I've always had good luck with that general guide.

                      3. s
                        sandylc Jan 8, 2014 09:56 AM

                        I'm confused - did you make chops or a roast? These would be cooked differently from one another.

                        Also, pork these days is DRY. A loin roast is especially difficult to cook with moist results.

                        The rules of Low and Slow OR Fast and Hot really do apply to today's lean pork. It should either be slightly pink inside when done or else slowly braised...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: sandylc
                          b
                          Bkeats Jan 8, 2014 10:41 AM

                          I think sandylc has hit the point. Most pork is incredibly lean, especially the loin. Cook it for as long as called for in the recipe and it will be dried out. If you want to cook that long, find some of the older breed fattier pork cuts or use less time.

                          1. re: sandylc
                            c
                            chinaplate Jan 8, 2014 12:43 PM

                            Sorry -- I cooked two pork loins following the recipe (just doubled). I was only saying that the first time I made the recipe I went by time and the second time (thanks to what I'd learned with pork chops) I watched the temperature.

                            So, if I slowly braised the meat would it have become more tender, even if it passed ideal pink range? (My mom said just what you did about it being impossible to keep the pork we get these days from becoming dry.)

                            1. re: chinaplate
                              biondanonima Jan 8, 2014 12:52 PM

                              Not really. Cooking pork loin past the pink is pretty much always going to render it dry, no matter how slowly you cook it.

                              1. re: chinaplate
                                grampart Jan 8, 2014 01:13 PM

                                The recipe I posted above did NOT result in dry meat. As I mentioned, it could have been the fact that I did NOT use the typical center cut roast. I DID pull it at an internal temp of just over 140. I agree with your mom to some degree about the "other white meat" crap that bears no resemblance to the wonderful red pork of 30+ years ago. If you can find a source and don't mind spending around $15 per pound, treat yourself to a Berkshire (or some other heritage breed) pork roast. It's goodness may bring tears to your eyes.

                                1. re: grampart
                                  grampart Jan 8, 2014 02:30 PM

                                  This is a photo of a rack of Berkshire pork I purchased in Decatur GA a couple of years ago. This is what pork used to look like.

                                   
                            2. grampart Jan 8, 2014 09:53 AM

                              I cooked a boneless pork loin rib half this past weekend and the whole family said it was the best ever. I usually buy a center cut pork loin and this was the first time using this recipe so I'm not sure which made the biggest difference.

                              http://americanfood.about.com/od/pork...

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