The Pork Loin (served 7 plus lots of leftovers)
Pork loins were on sale this week. I do not know my meat cuts well at all so I really enjoy this book my sister gave me, The Complete Meat Cookbook. There are great explanations at the beginning of each chapter about the different cuts and how best to cook different ones. What I most appreciate is when a recipe lists a few different cuts that will all work well.
I bought a pork loin that weighed almost 8 pounds. I knew that was way too much for us but they were all about the same size. Since I just bought a Foodsaver, I cut the loin in half and froze half. The other half I decided to brine, as the book recommended. Not having two loins side by side to compare, I’m not sure how much the brining did. The herb rub I put on was pretty strong (and delicious!) and might have overshadowed any flavor from the brining, which was a vanilla infused brine.
I was also confused a bit by the fact that the directions in the brining section said to cut off all visible fat. The directions in the roasting section said to leave a thin layer of fat. I’d already cut it all off by the time I saw that. I would think that since you cook it fat side up, it would add some flavor to the meat as it drips down. The advantage of having cut it all off was that there wasn’t much fat in the bottom of the pan when I went to make the pan sauce.
The herb rub I modified a bit because I didn’t have any fennel seeds. I’m not a big fennel fan anyway and I have to say the pork was absolutely delicious the way I did it, so if you like fennel, go ahead and add some but it’s great without it.
Brined Pork Lion with Rosemary Rub
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 2 Tbs pepper
- 4 cups cold water
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbs dried sage or 2 Tbs fresh
- 1 Tbs kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 3-4 pound boneless pork loin
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- a bit of oil
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Mix everything but the cold water together until the solids dissolve. Stir in the cold water. Brine a pork loin overnight in the refrigerator. Smaller cuts need less time. Drain and pat dry before cooking.
Rub and Bake
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Mix the herbs together and rub them all over the pork.
- Oil the bottom of your roasting pan lightly and lay the garlic slices down, then put the pork loin on top, fat side up if you have some fat. Cook the pork for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300 and cook another 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how big your loin is. Use a thermometer and cook until the inside of the pork is about 145.
- Remove the roast and cover with foil while you make the sauce.
Make the Sauce
- If you have a lot of fat in the pan, pour it off. Heat the pan on your stove top and add the white wine. Bring to a boil and use a flat wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits. Add the chicken broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half.
- Strain the garlic pieces out of the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste but remember the pork is heavily spiced. Slice the meat into 1/4 slices and serve with the sauce.
This was truly awesome. The pork came out perfectly moist and good. Perhaps that’s to the credit of the brining. The herb rub was awesome. I’m sure part of it was because I have a wonderful rosemary plant and can just go cut fresh rosemary whenever I want. I love cooking with fresh herbs. My sage is still soggy and poor looking so I used dried.
Oh, the brine. If you want to brine, I found my crockpot made a great pot to hold the brine and meat. There’s no way I had a pot big enough to brine the whole loin at the same time so it’s good I only needed half.