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 mild olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper and coarse kosher or sea salt
- 1. Preheat the oven to 475°F (246°C) and line a rimmed baking sheet or shallow 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 on the baking sheet or in 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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Pork Loin Roast Recipe © 2012 Johnnie Mountain. Photo © 2012 Yuki Sugiura. All rights reserved.