I posted this picture of a seasoned pork loin a few days ago. There seemed to be a good bit of interest in just how to make pork loin like this one, that is not dry and flat tasting. , I thought I would share with you how I season and marinate a pork loin to a full bodied flavor that is brimming in its own rich juices.
So here is how to turn that into this! Well, minus the shrimp, asparagus & taters. You know how to whip those out.
CHOOSE THE PROPER CUT. Make sure your loin still has plenty of fat on it. Some loins are very heavily trimmed. While it definitely looks prettier in the market, it will not look prettier once you pull it out of the oven if there was no fat left on the cut. So let those beautiful fit and trim cuts lay there, and choose the one with the fat still attached.
PLAN AHEAD. Do not plan a pork loin dinner at the last minute! The loin does not take a long time to cook. But to be most flavorful and juicy a loin will need to sit wrapped in it's blanket of marinade for several hours in the fridge. 2-4 hours will suffice, but if left longer, all the better. After marinating in the fridge knock the chill off of it by letting it rest at room temperature for about an hour.
VINEGAR! To tenderize the meat you need an acid. You can use anything acidic, really. Beer and wine also work well to tenderize, but in my opinion, why waste a good wine or beer on the marinade when you can drink it with your awesome pork dinner? So douse the bejeebers out of that loin with a *quality apple cider vinegar. 1/2 cup should do it for most loins. Braggs cider vinegar is my favorite.
BE GENEROUS WITH THE SEASONING! You will rarely find me recommending to salt the devil out of something. But in this case you do need a good bit of salt. Salt is a natural protein protector. It's tiny molecules will wrap themselves around your loin's proteins and keep them bubbling right there with the meat, making for a more rich and hearty juice. So, after dousing with the vinegar I generously coat top bottom and ends with sea salt. Regular table salt works too.
DO NOT RUB YOUR LOINS! Ha ha! Many people make the mistake of vigorously rubbing spices into meats. If you are a guilty loin or butt rubber, STOOOOOP! When spices, salts, or other herbs are pushed into the meat, it collapses the pores of the cut. During the baking process, you want the meat's pores to open up and soak in all that hard work you put into deciding what salts, herbs and spices you want to use. Combine the salts and spices together, then sprinkle, toss, or gently roll your loin in them. I also lace mine with fresh herbs during the spring and summer months. You can easily pick those up at the grocery if you do not grow them. But they are not mandatory for a juicy loin. Just adds flavor. They are peeping out from the bacon in the picture above.
BACON. Yes, wrap your pork loin in more pork. I may over kill my loin with bacon, but we really like that hickory smoked flavor, so I wrap the whole kit and ka-bootle! I mean, really, can you have too much bacon? HECK NAW!
COOK IT FAST! Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the loin on parchment paper in a shallow baking sheet. A shallow baking sheet allows the juices to run down but the sides are open enough for the bacon to crisp. Notice mine is on an old worn out pan. That is because I am a cookie snob and would never bake cookies or pastries on a black pan! Just saying, but it has no relevance here.
USE A *MEAT THERMOMETER. If you do not have a meat thermometer just skip this whole meal idea, or flip over to Amazon and get yourself one! I believe the thermometer is essential for baking meat to a safe temperature without overcooking and drying it out. Bake until the internal temperature at the thickest portion is about 140-145 degrees.
PRAY OVER IT. After removing from the oven let the loin sit for about 10 minutes before cutting it. This the time I am usually basting those awesome juices back over the top of the crispy bacon and thanking the good lord for family, sunshine, and pigs!
Enjoy that juicy dinner Y'all! -PJ
*A good quality APPLE CIDER VINEGAR has "the mother". You can get it here.
It will ship to your door and I will get a nickel.
*ALSO, if you need a meat thermometer,
I like this one. Easy to use, wash and read. Order this one and I will get another nickel.
"Live self sufficiently, love others purposefully, care deeply for Mother Earth and her creator." -pjo