The loin of a pig is one of the most versatile cuts of pork—and it is also one of the most expensive. As with other animals, the muscles in the loin area do very little work, so the meat tends to be lean, and it also has a more subtle flavor than meat from the shoulders or the legs.
A loin roast is one of the most popular roasting cuts and although the meat is fairly lean, it has a good outer layer of fat and skin, which keeps the meat moist and makes fantastic crisp cracklings. Conventional roasting at a higher temperature is ideal for pork loin, although it can also be cooked more gently, if required. A boneless loin roast is also easy to carve.–Johnnie Mountain
LC Tie ‘Em Up! Tie ‘Em Down! Note
This old-fashioned pork roast is just like what your grandma would put on the table for Sunday night supper. Though it’s simple enough to memorize and easy as can be, it calls for a couple relative rarities in these contemporary times. For one, it demands a boneless pork loin roast that has a fatty layer (that’s where the flavor comes from) that lies beneath the actual pig skin. You may have to go to a few butcher counters before you’ll find a boneless pork loin roast with skin. Persist. And if you just can’t procure one with skin, go ahead and buy one with the thickest layer of fat that you can find. The other thing this recipe does that’s sorta unusual is it calls for the raw blob of boneless pork loin to be “tied with string.” No more instruction than that. Back in the day when boneless pork roast was common, this sorta “tied with string” thing went without saying. Something has to hold the flap of boneless meat together. Folding the meat into a cylinder and tying and knotting it at intervals with kitchen string worked then just as it works today. Make certain the fatty portion is in a single layer on top, because the heat of the oven will cause it to melt and drip down, imbuing the pork with flavor unlike you’ve had before and also ensuring that it stays moist and make-you-go-weak-in-the-knees tender. The tying isn’t complicated. Just, you know, tie ‘em up! Tie ‘em down! (Oh, wait, that movie title is actually Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down. Eh. Same thing, really. Both the roast and the movie rely on rope of some sort, although this recipe is a heck of a lot less controversial than the Pedro Almodóvar script.)
Special Equipment: Kitchen string
Pork Loin Roast Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 1 H, 35 M
- Serves 4
- One 2-pound boneless pork loin roast, with skin, tied with string (see LC Note above)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Freshly ground black pepper and coarse kosher or sea salt
- 1. Preheat the oven to 475°F (246°C) and line a roasting pan with foil.
- 2. Dry the pork skin thoroughly by patting it with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, score the skin by making deep, long, parallel cuts into the fat (but not through to the underlying meat) 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart. Rub the skin with the oil and then sprinkle with pepper and a generous amount coarse salt.
- 3. Place the pork on a rack over the roasting pan and roast for 25 minutes. (The initial high temperature helps to promote crisp cracklings.) Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (176°C) and cook the pork 45 minutes longer, turning the pan around halfway through. The meat should be slightly pink in the middle, although the juices flowing from the pork should not be bloody. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read 145°F (63°C). You might need to adjust the cooking times at the 350°F (176°C) stage, depending on the weight of the pork roast. Allow 22 minutes per pound for medium. If you like your pork more well-done, cook 27 minutes per pound.
- 4. Transfer the pork to a warm serving plate and leave to rest in a warm, draft-free place 10 to 20 minutes before carving. Don’t cover the roast, because any steam coming from the resting pork can soften the cracklings. Alternatively, to make the cracklings extra crisp, remove the cracklings and place them in the oven, which you’ve cranked up to 425°F (218°C), or give the cracklings a quick blast under a hot broiler. If you remove the cracklings, cover the meat with foil.
- 5. To carve the pork, remove the cracklings, if you haven’t already done so, and cut the crisp pork skin into strips. [Editor’s Note: Instead of serving the cracklings to guests, you may want to snitch a few nibbles of cracklings and stash the rest somewhere no one else will think to look, and go back later.] Carve the pork roast across the grain into thin (or thick) slices, arrange them on a platter, and off you go.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Sep 23, 2013
Easy, simple, delicious. The only fault I can find with this recipe is the relative unavailability of a classic pork roast with the skin. Most butchers today don’t have any of the fat or skin left on the pork they bring into their shops. I was unable to find a roast as described in the recipe even after checking with 4 different butchers. One butcher and I finally arrived at a workable compromise—he took some skin from a leg he had and tied it around a lovely rib end pork loin roast. This was the perfect solution. I then followed the recipe as written, using salt and pepper as the only seasoning. The end results were well worth the effort and a simple, shining example of everything a pork roast should be. The initial high temperature for 45 minutes does make for a very crisp crackling on top. I had to roast it for 90 minutes at the lower temperature (2 hours total) as the roast was closer to 5 pounds, and after being in the oven for 45 minutes it was still much too rare in the middle. After it had finished roasting, I removed the cracking and put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp the other side while the roast rested. If you can get a butcher to cooperate, this roast makes for a perfect weekend meal with simple sides so the pork takes center stage.
Sep 23, 2013
My new favorite recipe for pork loin roast. Though I couldn’t get a roast with the skin still attached, I was able to buy a nice one with lots of fat on the outside. I scored that, like the skin was supposed to be done, and roasted it according to the recipe. Roasting time to reach 140° F (60°C), the internal temperature I’m looking for with pork loin, was 40 minutes at 350° F (177°C) after the initial high-temperature roasting phase. Resting time was 20 minutes. The outcome was fantastic: a nicely browned, crisp exterior that’s super juicy inside. Definitely a keeper.
Sep 23, 2013
This roasting method produced a silken and moist end result. I roasted a 4-pound boneless pork loin. My roast was sans the skin, due to availability. However, the results were excellent. The high heat in the beginning creates a caramelized crust and the drop in temperature leaves the center moist in the end. I prefer to pull a pork roast from the oven at about 137°F (58°C) and let the temperature rise to 145°F (63°F) during the rest. Twenty minutes per pound is a good time estimation for planning’s sake. The thin slices of meat fell like velvet on the cutting board. Adding a few crushed garlic cloves scattered around the roasting pan would add a wonderful fragrance and flavor.
Sep 23, 2013
Roasting at a high temperature for a shortened period of time locks in the flavorful juices in the pork, lending itself to a moist, tender piece of meat that you could cut with a fork.
Sep 23, 2013
This recipe was amazing! I highly recommend it. The roasting temperatures—from a start of 475°F (246°C) and then the reduced level of 350°F (176°C)—worked perfectly. I made sure my roast had a nice layer of fat. Searing the pork roast at the high oven temperature crisped the fat and added a delicious flavor. I chose to cook the roast for only 22 minutes per pound at the lower temperature and the roast was moist and delicious. I followed the ingredient list precisely and was amazed that such simple ingredients could produce such scrumptious results. I also used the drippings to make a small amount of drizzling sauce and I think that was the clincher for this delightful entree.
Sep 23, 2013
Finding a pork loin with skin was very difficult. No one seemed to have it. After determining on the phone that one particular butcher shop had a skin-on pork loin, I made the trip across town. I spoke to the same young man that I had on the phone, who seemed to remember me. But I got home and discovered that I had a pork loin with a lovely fat cap…but no skin. (I’m barely 5 feet tall and can’t see over any counter anywhere.) After spending $27 for pork loin, I’m writing an evaluation anyway. Following the timing given in the recipe, my pork hit 170°F (77°C). The fat crisped nicely and it all tasted great. I made a quick gravy from the drippings, some Wondra, and some white wine, and it was nice with the pork loin. This was very tender and tasty pork.
Pork Loin Roast Recipe © 2012 Johnnie Mountain. Photo © 2012 Yuki Sugiura. All rights reserved.