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maggiethecat

Pork Loin (Boneless) Epiphany

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Since pork became The Other White Meat, a supermarket boneless loin has become a tragic waste. It's tough, tasteless and stringy no matter the number of cunning slits stuffed with rosemary and garlic. My fallback was the Danish thing: run the sharpening steel through the gloomy unmarbled center, stuff with dried and fresh fruit, braise in wine and cream. Delicious, great sauce, but still, well, stringy. A turkey breast seemed more useful.

I have passionate childhood memories of roast pork, boneless or otherwise, capped with a crispy layer of cracking, juicy and tender. And well done! The current restaurant thing about serving pink pork makes me gag. Sorry, I don't like rare pork and pink pork juice. Plus: it's tough and nasty. Good Lord. I'd pretty well given up on pork, except for schnitzel or carbonnades.

Enter The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. (Thats a mouthful.) "A meat book with a conscience" and just damn brilliant. Buy this book.

He has a method for roasting lean cuts so they're edible, and in fact , fab. If you can roast a beef bottom round, for example, the leanest and dreariest cut of the cow, you know you're on to something. And his method maintains the weight of the cut: if you plop three pounds of meat in the roasting pan, you'll pull out three pounds. The juices won't boil and vanish.

Back to our boneless pork loin. Serious Other White Meat. We rubbed it with kosher salt, rosemary and summer savory. Blasted it at 500 for twenty minutes, then, per Hugh, turned in down to 225. We pulled it at 165, and let it settle. No brining.

It's the pork roast you remember if you were born, say, earlier than 1980. It made my day, month and year. No fat, no collagen, like a pork shoulder, -- all a reliable personal indicator for sumptuous pork.

Ascolta: This was a lean pork loin. With zero effort, it was as good as a Sunday Roast pork gets. (And tomorrow, the unbearable lightness of cold roast pork sandwiches for lunch. mayo, s&p, cornichon.)

Hugh da Man.

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What great news ! I remember that pork, too.....falling off the bone and juicy! Flavorful! Outside crispy, inside like buttah............

Really, Maggie? You are not teasing?

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What great news ! I remember that pork, too.....falling off the bone and juicy! Flavorful! Outside crispy, inside like buttah............

Really, Maggie? You are not teasing?

Hand on my heart. I would never, never tease about something this important.

But it does take awhile. Our 3 1/2 pound roast lounged in the oven for almost four hours, maybe five.

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(And tomorrow, the unbearable lightness of cold roast pork sandwiches for lunch. mayo, s&p, cornichon.)

Begging pardon, but at this time of year, the sandwich really ought to include a ripe, from the garden, sliced tomato.

So, back to the task at hand. I have a few of these boneless loin chops on the freezer. No matter what I've done, short of pureeing them, can save them. What would Sir Hugh say to do with them?

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From Hugh's MEAT book, try his pork "Squidlets":

(to paraphrase)

Slice the chops at an angle into small escalopes then slice long frills into each piece to create a squid tentacle effect. Marinate in garlic and olive oil for a few minutes before dredging in seasoned corn flour and deep frying for a minute til crispy. Eat hot, Hugh recommends lemon/homemade mayo/tartare to accompany. I like these with hot sauce :biggrin:

The MEAT book is fantastic. I very rarely buy cookbooks, as i feel the majority just contain throw-away recipes that i could pick up on the internet anway. Most also provide no food for thought. The MEAT book is different as it's such an encyclopedic work written with Hugh's inimitable passion and affability.

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Ok, I'm convinced - I'm trying that one today!

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Back to our boneless pork loin. Serious Other White Meat. We rubbed it with kosher salt, rosemary and summer savory. Blasted it at 500 for twenty minutes, then, per Hugh, turned in down to 225. We pulled it at 165, and let it settle. No brining.

This sounds like a technique (for chicken) I think I recall from Cook's Illustrated a ways back. Have to look through some back issues, and can't wait to give it a try - wonder if it works for a bone-in loin as well?

I'm usually partial to brining the loin, but sometimes the pork ends up tasting a bit "hammy" from the brine, so another method to add to my bag of tricks will be great!

Thanks, Maggie :smile: !

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I have this in the oven now, and I have a question. Normally with a lean cut of pork I'd cook it only to 145. And with a fatty cut I'd take it all the way up to 190-195. So I'm wondering about the 165 - what's the deal with that?

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Thank goodness....thank you for passing this along. Unless I brine the hell out of it (or confit it), I wind up with something that is just this side of dental floss when sliced.

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So, uh, it didn't work for me. After 20 minutes at 500 and just about 1 1/2 hours at 225, my 2.89 lb pork loin was already at 180. And yes, it was dry, as pork loin usually is. The flavor was good, but it had to be doused liberally with gravy. I wonder what accounts for the difference.

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So, uh, it didn't work for me.  After 20 minutes at 500 and just about 1 1/2 hours at 225, my 2.89 lb pork loin was already at 180.  And yes, it was dry, as pork loin usually is.  The flavor was good, but it had to be doused liberally with gravy.  I wonder what accounts for the difference.

My guess would be that the length of time that you should blast it at 500 would be highly dependent on the initial weight of the meat - the smaller the roast the shorter should be that interval. I am basing this on my method of cooking beef rib roasts where I blast at 500 F and then turn the oven off for 2 hours.

What size roast did you use Maggie?

Edited to fix typos - not enough caffeine yet!


Edited by Anna N (log)

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If we all stop buying pork loin ...nah they dont care

I recently boin a pork Sirloin roast, much darker meat than the loin next to it. I cut it into 6 chops, shook them and cooked them 20 min at 450...Sirloin much better than Loin.

Tracey

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It was a biggish roast -- a little over three pounds.

There are some loose ends I should tie up. Hugh doesn't actually have a recipe for pork cooked this way. Read pages 206-11 for theory. Ours was a combo of the "Sizzle Method" and "The Heston Blumenthal Method" -- very hot for a short time and then very low and very slow. It took about five hours.

We pulled the roast after the Sizzle and let it sit on the top of the stove until the oven had reached 225. But I have to say that it took a very long time to reach 165 -- like five hours. Perhaps sticking a meat thermometer in the beastie to monitor the temp would be a good idea.

Kerry, funny that you should mention bottom round. Check Daily Gullet sometime this fall for the results of ongoing research. (I'm still not cooking, but I'm excellent at bossing -- er, delegating.)

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It was a biggish roast -- a little over three pounds.

There are some loose ends I should tie up. Hugh doesn't actually have a recipe for pork cooked this way.  Read pages 206-11 for theory. Ours was a combo of the "Sizzle Method" and "The Heston Blumenthal Method" -- very hot for a short time and then very low and very slow.  It took about five hours.

We pulled the roast after the Sizzle and let it sit on the top of the stove until the oven had reached 225. But I have to say that it took  a very long time to reach 165 -- like five hours. Perhaps sticking a meat thermometer in the beastie to monitor the temp would be a good idea.

Kerry, funny that you should mention bottom round. Check Daily Gullet sometime this fall for the results of ongoing research.  (I'm still not cooking, but I'm excellent at bossing  -- er, delegating.)

I'll be looking forward to the results of your research.

I envy you having someone to whom to delegate. If I didn't cook around here we'd all have to eat canned soup and bagels (all that hubby eats if I'm not around).

I was all set to try the technique on a small pork loin I had in the fridge, but when I unwrapped it I realized it was a bit past it's prime. I'll have to get a fresh one and give it a try.

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Damn, Maggie.

I thought you were cooking again. And I thought I was done buying cookbooks for a while.

Thanks (I think) for the update. My bookshelves will not thank you.

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I have to recommened the River Cottage Meat Book too.

Timing a roast has always been a bit of guesswork for me, I've never been totally confident about it; I followed H F-W's advice and it was fabulous.

His writing is so interesting, intelligent and full of respect for his animals and the meat they provide him with.

Also great photography and design.

I know this is a bit off topic, but it is one of a very few cookbooks I've been really excited about recently. :wub:

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(I'm still not cooking, but I'm excellent at bossing -- er, delegating.)

Maggie~

I am sure that I am not alone with holding my breath and not wanting to mention your cooking (in case you hadn't noticed.... :smile: ) I am just happy that you are thinking about it.

Be well. We are there for you.

Love (weird, huh?)

Kathy

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We did this again tonight, with the same gob-smacking awesome results -- crispy skin, tender meat, pure pork flavor. Three hours a pound, as well as I can figure.

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Here in Central Texas, we sere the pork loin over high heat in a saute pan and then smoke it at 225 F until meat is 160 F - been doing it that way for, ohhh, 100 years...

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Dan, you're right -- excellent point, and I'd snarf at least half of any roast you put out.

But I'm just talkin' about folks who don't live with that tradition, have a lowly oven and just want a Sunday best pork roast.

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A couple of years ago I put a loin in the Weber and let it get hotter than I intended. Caught it well into 45 minutes or so - at over 400 degrees if I remember correctly - and then cut the heat back. Total time was about 90 minutes. I thought it would be ruined, but it was one of the best I have ever smoked. The high heat apparently seald in the juices. So in the interests of pork loin science, I will try that in the oven and report back.

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A couple of years ago I put a loin in the Weber and let it get hotter than I intended. Caught it well into 45 minutes or so - at over 400 degrees if I remember correctly - and then cut the heat back. Total time was about 90 minutes. I thought it would be ruined, but it was one of the best I have ever smoked. The high heat apparently seald in the juices. So in the interests of pork loin science, I will try that in the oven and report back.

Richard, thanks for bringing this thread back up. I've got a 6.5 pound pork loin in the freezer and this technique sounds like just the ticket. I'm unemployed at the moment (actually for the last 7 months) and so I have the time to try this.

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Tonight I did one trimmed to about 2 1/2 pounds so that it would fit in a pre-heated 12 inch cast iron skillet. It had been marinating in OJ for about 3 hours. 20 minutes at 450 F, then left in the oven turned down to 225 F, last 20 minutes up to 350 F with veggies added. Then veggies finished after the loin was resting. Tender, tasty, not dry despite juggling the temp around to get it right. Finished temp was well above 160 F. Total time about 3 hours. I think that as long as you hit it with high heat at the beginning, it may be a fairly forgiving method. I'll do this again and keep more accurate time and temp notes.

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