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 one of best pork roasts we’ve ever had.
This boneless pork loin roast is easy and old-fashioned and just like what your grandma would put on the table for Sunday supper. No marinade. No fuss. Just shove it in the oven for its long, slow cooking time while you tend to something else. Then accept accolades on just how incredibly juicy and go-wobbly-in-the-knees flavorful it is.–Renee Schettler
Pork Loin Roast FAQs
How do I keep 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. 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.
How do I tie a pork loin roast?
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 help ensure that the pork cooks evenly.
I don’t often see pork with a fat cap. What can I do?
Oftentimes you can purchase pork fat (not salt pork!) or pork belly at your local butcher. Simply drape a 1/2-inch-thick piece over the pork loin before tying the roast. Or you can do what our tester Helen Doberstein did: Ask the butcher to wrap the pork in skin taken from another piece of pork, In her case, it was from a pork leg. Last, if all else fails, thick-cut bacon will work, too.
Pork Loin Roast
- Kitchen string
- One (2-pound) boneless pork loin roast*, with a generously thick layer of fat and, if possible, with the skin still attached and definitely with a thick layer of fat on the top side tied with string*
- 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Coarse sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 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.
☞TESTER TIP: A basic guide when cooking a pork roast is to allow 22 minutes per pound for medium done. If you like your pork more well-done, cook it for 27 minutes per pound.
- 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!
☞TESTER TIP: If you're the sort who prefers extra-crisp cracklings, while the pork roast is cooling, remove the entire portion of skin from the pork loin, cover the pork loin with foil, and place the skin on the baking sheet or the roasting pan and either crank the oven to 425°F (220°C) and give the cracklings a quick blast under your broiler while the pork rests.
- 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.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
My new favorite recipe for pork loin roast. Although 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 the 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.] And 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 four 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. Alas, 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. And 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. And 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 also made a quick gravy from the drippings, some Wondra, and some white wine, and it was nice with the pork loin.
Originally published September 23, 2013