Pork doesn’t always get the credit it deserves because if it is well done, it can be tough and dry. Quite frankly, many meats other than pork, when cooked to well done, are just the same. When working with different meats and cuts of meat, it is important to figure out what cooking temperature and time are best for the each style of cooking.
Pork loin should not be mistaken for pork tenderloin. Pork loin is essentially the backside of the pig. It is fattier than the tenderloin, which is a muscle found at the back end of the loin. The fat that surrounds the loin provides great flavour and juicy texture. This is why a pork loin rack works perfectly roasted in the oven slowly.
When working with roasts, whether it is beef, whole chicken, etc. there are certain kitchen tools that can prove helpful when preparing the meat.
- carving knife (sharpened prior to use). This is different than a chef’s knife. It has a skinnier and longer blade, allowing for better control when cutting different parts of the meat.
- butcher’s twine
- meat thermometer
Growing up, we would roast meat, cut it, then place it back in the oven to keep warm until it was ready to serve. What does that lead to? Dry meat. One of the things I have learned over the years is to understand how long different cuts of meat will need to cook and time it for when it is to be served. Most cuts of meat are juiciest when plated after it has rested.
General rule of thumb when roasting pork loin, about 25 minutes per pound at 350 degrees.
Understand that meat should rest once it has been pulled from the oven. The rest period is when all the juices amplify within the meat. Depending on the size of your roast and the temperature you have used to cook the meat, the period of time meat must rest will vary. If you roasted your meat at a higher temperature (i.e. 400 degrees) it will take longer for the meat to cool down so it requires more time to rest. A slow roast won’t take as long.
Use a thermometer for accurate readiness. There are tricks to press the meat, see if it bounces back, etc. However, I find the best way to ensure you get it right, is to use a thermometer. The important thing to understand is you must puncture the roast in the thickest area and avoid the bone. The meat around the middle will cook faster and you to need to ensure the whole roast is cooked. Generally, you are aiming your pork roast to achieve a temperature of 145 degrees after it has rested, this gives it a slight pink colour and lots of juice. You can take it out of the oven at 135-140 degrees, and let it rest for 15-20 minutes and it will get to the required temperature for consumption.
Pork Loin Roast
- 2-3 lb. pork loin -French cut (3 bone roast)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- coarse salt
- white wine (2 cups)
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 large carrot
- 1/2 white onion
Step 1-4 can be done the night before or the morning of.
- Using a carving knife, cut along the bones 2 inches deep.
- Add salt, crushed rosemary, thyme, pepper and 3 cloves of garlic.
- Use butcher’s twine, tie the roast tightly together to ensure it does not open up while roasting.
- Generously salt and add herbs around the loin, refrigerate until about an hour prior to cooking.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- On the stove, add a tablespoon of olive oil into a dutch oven on medium high heat. Sear the pork a few minutes on each side to get a nice brown layer.
- While the roast is searing on it’s last side, add the onions, celery and carrots around the pork loin, let it sautee for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the white wine and combine with the vegetables.
- Cover with lid, and let it roast for about 50 minutes, before checking the temperature.
- At the 50 minute mark, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the roast, you’re looking for 135-140. If it hasn’t reached the right temperature, place it back into the oven.
- Once it has reached the accurate internal temperature, take the roast out of the dutch oven, place it on a dish or butcher’s block and tent lightly with a piece of aluminum foil for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.