This pork loin roast calls for boneless pork loin, olive oil, salt, and pepper to be slow roasted. Four ingredients. Incredibly easy to make. No fuss. And it makes the best roast pork we’ve ever had.
How to keep the pork loin from drying out
The only trick to making roast pork loin–aside, that is, from being patient during its long, slow spell in the oven—is knowing how to keep the pork loin from drying out. The answer lies in the kind of pork loin that your grandma’s neighborhood butcher had readily available—meaning one with sufficient fat so the roast essentially bastes itself as the fat melts. It can be tricky to source this sorta thing nowadays, but we explain below the recipe how to go about finding it.
Pork Loin Roast
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 1 H, 35 M
- Serves 4
Special Equipment: Kitchen string
Preheat the oven to 475°F (250°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan with foil.
Pat the pork with paper towels until completely dry. If your pork loin has skin attached, using a sharp knife, score the skin by making deep, long, parallel cuts, 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart, in the fat, being careful not to cut through to the underlying pork.
Rub the pork all over with the oil and then sprinkle the top with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Place the pork on a wire rack, skin or fat side up, and place the whole shebang on the baking sheet or in the roasting pan. Roast for 25 minutes. (The initial high temperature promotes crisp crackling, which is the skin.)
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and roast until cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes longer, rotating the pan once halfway through to ensure even cooking. The meat should be slightly pink in the middle. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read 145°F (63°C). You may need to adjust the cooking time, depending on the weight of the pork roast. Rest assured, the pork will continue to cook slightly after it’s removed from the oven.
Place the pork roast on a warm platter and let it rest in a warm place for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. Don’t cover the roast as any steam coming from the resting pork will soften the skin, which will have crisped into “cracklings.” And you don’t want to lose that!
To carve the pork roast, remove the skin, if you haven’t already done so, and cut the crisp pork skin into strips. Carve the pork roast across the grain into slices, arrange them on a platter, and there you go. Originally published September 23, 2013.
*What Else You Need To Know About Making This Boneless Pork Loin Roast
- How To Ensure This Roast Pork Loin Is As Flavorful As Your Grandma’s
Boneless pork loin can be quite lean, but it can also end up being ridiculously lovely in taste and texture when its ample outer layer of fat is kept on during cooking. As the warmth of the oven melts the fat, it bathes the underlying meat with its unctuous awesomeness.
Therein lies the trick—finding a boneless pork loin roast with a sufficiently generous layer of fat. You may have to go to a few butcher counters before you find one that has a nice, thick section of white fat attached. Persist. It’s worth the time and effort.
And, if you can sweet talk your butcher into special ordering a boneless pork loin with the skin still attached, by all means, do it. The skin, which sits above the fat, transforms into crisp cracklings during roasting that are essentially roll-your-eyes-back-and-moan-good chicharrones.
If you can’t track one down with skin, no worries. Go ahead and buy one without skin, just don’t skimp on the fat and be sure the fatty side is up during roasting. If the pork loin seems loose or floppy at all, tie it with kitchen string (see below) every couple inches.
- How To Tie A Roast
This recipe calls for your blob of raw boneless pork loin to be “tied with string.” That’s it. No more instructions than that. This wasn’t an issue back in the day when boneless pork roast was common and this “tied with string” thing went without explanation.
If you didn’t grow up watching your grandma do this, it’s essentially just folding or rolling or tucking the various flappy parts of boneless pork loin into a cylinder that’s similarly sized throughout. Then you simply tie and knot it with kitchen string at intervals every few inches. The tying creates structure to help keep all those pesky flappy parts in place. The even size and shape, helps ensure that the pork cooks evenly.
Recipe Testers' Tips
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 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 after the initial high-temperature roasting phase. [Editor's Note: Some home cooks and chefs prefer to take pork out of the oven a little before it reaches 145°F (63°C) as the residual heat from the roast will cause the internal temperature to rise during resting.] The outcome was fantastic—a nicely browned, crisp exterior that was super juicy inside.
Definitely a keeper.
Easy, simple, delicious. The only fault I can find with this pork loin roast is the relative unavailability of a classic pork roast with 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. 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 side dishes so the pork takes center stage.
This roasting method produced a silken and moist result.
I roasted a 4-pound boneless pork loin. My roast was sans skin due to lack of availability. However, the roast was still excellent. The high heat at the beginning created a caramelized crust and the drop in temperature left the center moist. 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. And 20 minutes per pound was 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.
Roasting at a high temperature for a shortened period of time locks in the flavorful juices in the pork, creating a moist, tender piece of meat that you could cut with a fork.
This was very tender and tasty pork.
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.)
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.