Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 8, 2014 09:43 AM

Trouble shoot my pork loin

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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.

    1. 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

        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

          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

            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

              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

                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. 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

              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

                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

                  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

                  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. 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

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

                  2. 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.