Pork Loin

Pork Loin

The pork loin is another popular meat cut from the pig. The International Meat Manual defines it as the boneless portion of the pig carcass that remains after the shoulder, leg, belly, fat back and tenderloin have been removed. “The boneless loin contains both the rib or blade portion and the sirloin portion of the carcass.”

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In the United States and the United Kingdom, the pork loin is cut into chops with the bone intact or as steaks without the bone, as cited in Wikipedia. It is then grilled, baked, fried, or cured as back bacon (also known as Canadian bacon).

As recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) fresh pork safe cooking chart, the loin roast (bone-in or boneless) should be roasted in an uncovered shallow pan at 350°F. The usual weight ranges from 2 to 5 pounds, with 20-30 minutes per pound as recommended cooking time. Since it’s a lean meat, don’t overcook it so it doesn’t dry up.

As is standard for cooking fresh pork, the USDA prescribes cooking pork loin at an internal temperature of 145°F with a rest time of three minutes. The rest time indicates “the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source.”

Pork loin can be cooked in many ways. It’s usually made into a pork loin roast, with some sort of gravy siding (applesauce comes to mind), glazed with a honey mustard sauce, or herb-crusted.

The pork loin roast cut (which has some amount of fat in it) may also be made into a stuffed pork loin, wherein a stuffing mixture is cooked first. It’s usually bread cubes, egg, butter and chicken stock mixed with the main flavoring agent like, say, chopped apples or spinach. Once cooked and cooled, the stuffing is spread on the surface area of the pork loin. It’s then rolled like a jelly roll cake to secure the stuffing in and then tied with a butcher’s twine. When it’s cooked, it’s beautifully sliced into medallions, revealing the stuffing in the center which forms a colorful whirl.

An interesting dish is the pork loin with baked bananas. The meat is roasted in a pan with onions, water, herbs and seasonings then garnished with baked bananas on the side. No matter how it’s cooked, it’s sure to be a hit on the dinner table since most everyone loves a perfectly made pork dish.

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