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What is your method to tenderize pork loin?

So far, I've found salt water/brine has worked the best for me, but it does require a few hours. Do you have any other methods, apart from pounding it?

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  1. Do not overcook. Pull at 145 then tent loosely to rest.

    1. Jaccard is an option, but brining and not overcooking will probably be the better alternative.

      1. What have your pigs been doing? Mowing the lawn?

        I've never known a piece of pork loin that needed tenderizing. Even overcooked.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I usually marinate overnight, but for flavor, not extra tenderness. Stubbs pork marinade. The only pork loin I had that was not tender held the pole vaulting record in Kansas.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            ipse, I think perhaps you're confusing pork loin with pork TENDERloin. HUGE difference

            1. re: c oliver

              I don't think he is, c. oliver. Pork loin is a very tender cut of meat. Usually.

              1. re: c oliver

                I am not confused. Not about this anyway.

                In fact, I have never had so much clarity. Today, that is.

            2. That depends on how you are cooking it and what your personal preference is to taste and texture... I often read others like to braise in milk and have it shredded...something I would never consider. I also do not like to brine, as it gives me the taste and texture of deli ham.

              I like to keep the meat moist. As a roast, low and slow cooking @ 225* to 145 or under. As a chop, pounded and a finished target temp of 140-145, but using reverse sear, i would pull at 115. sear and rest for 10 minutes. As a cutlet, pounded, browned and finished in the oven.

              5 Replies
              1. re: fourunder

                four, I think you're one here who has made the distinction between loin and tenderloin. IMneverHO, they bear little resemblance to each in cooking technique.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Sez you.....but for the record, I like loin roasted low and slow....tenderloin, high heat or grilled, unless pounded thin for a cutlet or Paillard Style

                  1. re: fourunder

                    I agree. Otherwise, IME, the loin is not tender.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      especially where you currently are staying...

                      1. re: fourunder

                        :) Oh, yeah, pork isn't real big in Israel!!!

              2. I've never considered that pork loin needed to be tenderised. It's just about the tenderest cut on the beast.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  I was going to answer with something like this and then I thought about pork loin vs. tenderloin. The loin can get tough with overcooking. Maybe this is what the OP is trying to get at.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    I think we have to be careful here.

                    There's tough and then there's dry.

                    The former, like shank or shoulder portions, can be tough but become tender when (over)cooked.

                    The latter, like loin or even tenderloin, are not tough, but become dry when overcooked.

                    Maybe it's just semantics, but overcooked loin (or tenderloin) is dry, not tough. Even loin pounded out with a Jaccard or other tenderizing tool, or brined to death in whatever witch's brew that's out there, is still going to be dry when overcooked, but not tough in the same vein as udercooked pork shank (for example).

                2. Pork loin is a very tender cut of meat. It doesn't require tenderizing. If you want to add flavor (I usually don't - I love the pork flavor of organic, free-range raised pork), then brine.

                  1. Occasionally you will get a pork loin that proves not to be tender. Cook it to 145-F and it's still chewy and somewhat tough. At that point I throw it in the crock pot, cover it in liquid and cook the heck out of it for 4 or 6 hours. It then falls apart and at least can be used similar to pulled pork. It's not the best, but it's not a total loss.

                    1. Buttermilk bath. Adds a wonderful flavor as well.

                      1. I don't like pounding. I think that just give it a "hamburger" feel. Yes, it is softer, but also mushier -- not what I consider to be tender.

                        I agree with letsindulage. Try to not overcook it. Brining definitely work. Some people use acids (like vinegar or buttermilk) and some people use bases (like baking soda). If brining is working for you, then it is great.

                        1. Unfortunately, these lean pork loins they sell these days aren't worth it. I use pork shoulder instead.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: jmckee

                            Pork shoulder is my fave for low and slow.

                              1. re: fourunder

                                I just can't bring myself to pay those prices. I'm sure they're wonderful however.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  The pork loins are 2.99...the chops the same or sometimes 3.99/lb. When on sale, a buck cheaper.....

                                  The meats are only a buck more than Smithfield. Encel, Swift's Premium and etc.


                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    You're right! Of course :) Must have had too much Israeli wine last night :)

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    I have not tried the Sterling Silver Pork Oliver but their certified beef program is outstanding. Fourunder knows meat. Give it a try, if its anything like Leidy's, which I think it is, its night & day different from the "other white meat" lean pork.

                                    I ran out of Leidy's one time and my wife bought the run of the mill double thick chops at ShopRite. Grilled them nice and pink, let them rest, cut into one and the plate filled up with water. Moist yes, but not tender and no flavor.

                                  3. re: fourunder

                                    I do really see a difference between Sterling Silver and store brand pork. I was wondering if it was my imagination.

                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                      I always get two or three when they go on sale between $2.49-2.99. and look for ones in the 6 pound range.

                                      ShopRite will often have pork loins on sale and they are always a buck more a pound....when they have their .99 cent sale and the SS are $1.99...I purchase as many as the freezer can hold....and I cut the whole loins into double cut chops or thirds for future roasts.

                                    2. re: fourunder

                                      Our local Sam's Club carried Sterling Silver products several yrs back & their whole boneless cryovaced beef strip loins & ribs were outstanding. Our local ShopRite carries the Sterling Silver pork but I have not tried it.

                                      One of my favorites is leidy's. Their hogs are Pennsylvania raised, nicely marbled, little darker, no water added and actually taste like pork. A friend cherry picks me a whole bone in (rib end to loin end) and band saws them double thick, bone wrap & vacuum seal. My favorite is the rib end chop. Lots of fat and flavor.

                                      ***As you say, DON'T over cook*** Nice and pink and a little red against the bone. As good as steak & 1/2 the price.

                                  4. I posted this recipe to a similar thread a few days ago. I used a boneless pork loin RIB HALF instead of the usual center cut portion and I took it out at an internal temp of just over 140. It may have been the recipe, it may have been the cut, or a combination of both, but it was the best piece of pork our family has eaten since I brought home a Berkshire rib roast a few years ago. Try it.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: grampart

                                      I would agree the Rib portion is far tastier than the Center portion.....I like to use the Rib Roast with Bones for Sunday Gravy....or as a low and slow roast for the bones to gnaw....kind of like have a tease of Baby Back Ribs.

                                      If not mistake, the next cut from the Rib section is the Sirloin roast....also very good.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        I made a pork loin rib end portion for dinner tonite. Rubbed it with olive oil, s & p, minced garlic and chopped fresh rosemary. Pulled at 140. Let rest, so juicy. Made a pan sauce with dijon and white wine. Served with greens and cornbread, (baked in the oven alongside the pork) and honey butter.

                                        Method to tenderize pork loin? None, it was fine as is.

                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                          My last meal would be pork.....Roast Suckling Pig.

                                          1. re: fourunder


                                            I am obsessed with rib chops, especially when they leave the extra bacony looking part on.

                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                  That's my hand!!!!! And I have pretty long hands :)

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Holy cow, did you pound that flat? And what is that delicious looking clam dish?

                                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                      Linguini with White Clam Sauce.....four different kinds of clams from my buddy's place.....Patsy's in Fairview. CO's review....and the rest of the meal with pictures.


                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                        Oops, sorry I missed your post. I was in serious jet lag then :) Thanks, f, for picking up on this.

                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                              The bones are a pain to work around but the rib end is where the fat and flavor are. I remember getting them for .99 cents a lb.....butchers knew......if they will run one across the band saw into double thick chops for you, the fat really gets the flames going & makes outstanding double thick grilled chops.

                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                You're killing me. Bought some chops yesterday!

                                        2. It depends for me. A jaccard 3 tine quick once over and then into a device everyone should have, a vacuum tumbler with a marinade ($50 if you find a deal for the tumbler, I bought mine for that and later saw the 15 lb turkey barrel for $25) if I am worried about it. 45 minutes, but have done as little as 20.

                                          If it is for pulled pork, an expensive device (an emson pressure smoker) sometimes can be found new for $100.
                                          Filled up and 90 minutes later you have enough pulled pork for 20 sandwiches once you break the meat apart.

                                          Not applicable, but when informed as you head out for work that your kid promised food for the tennis team that night and forgot to tell you, the $6(+/-) (gag) pre-marinated Smithfield pork roasts fit two per emson, take 75 minutes and are a source of hilarity at work when they see a pressure cooker on your desk. The teenagers love it. $24 plus buns feeds 40 teenagers. My co-workers required I did the same for them the next day. $12 for the same amount.

                                          1. Pork today is not like pork in the 60's and early 70's when cooked you could cut it with a fork and it had flavor, it's much more lean now, used to be much more marbeling and flavor. I cant speak for a loin roast but boneless pork chops I run them through my hand crank tenerizer about 8 times and they come out tender.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: malibumike

                                              How are you cooking these pork chops...baked, braised, pan-fried or grilled?

                                              1. re: malibumike

                                                I absolutely agree. Beef too. I often wondered if my father knew some secret to cooking a steak I couldn't figure out, but I've come to the realization that beef was different when I was younger. Fattier. Same thing with pork. I was afraid I was looking back with rose colored glasses.

                                                I haven't ever had to tenderize pork, as I really don't purchase cuts that are too lean. There is absolutely no appeal to me of fatless pork. I'd rather eat a chicken breast.

                                              2. As another poster noted, you could try cooking it in a pressure cooker. Normally I cook it to the point where it shreds and falls apart, but you could also play with the times to keep a little firmness to it so it can be cut into slices.

                                                1. Pork Tenderloin needs no tenderizing.

                                                  Pork Loin can be steamed, or if tough and fiberous ( rarely found over here), manually tenderized using the tool below. I usually do this with pork shoulder or other cuts.

                                                  Like most I place it in the middle of two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it in the middle until it is at the thickness I want it to be.

                                                  1. Has anyone tried cooking their over dry pork roast in salsa. It seems to be breaking it down and making it tender but is turning out a little more spicy than I am used to.. Not sure where to go with it now... over rice maybe? Any suggestions?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bentonj

                                                      Add more tomatoes....perhaps crushed or diced depending on your preference for texture or consistency.

                                                      Or....Turn it into Chili

                                                      Last, add your favorite stock or cream to make a soup....add or top with tortilla chips.