By Our Chef, Phillip Schaaf
Like many chefs, butchers, and home chefs, I love working with pork. Every single part of the pig is usable and delicious. Some are cuts trickier to work with than others, and the pork loin falls somewhere right in the middle, as far as cooking difficulty is concerned. One of the best things about this small roast is that takes to a variety of flavors and preparations, and—once you know they trick to nailing the cooking technique—it will be an easy go-to dinner.
Lean in close—I’m about to reveal the secret behind the perfect pork loin roast. Really, it’s not that big of a secret. As is the case with any meat cooking—temperature is key. Because the loin is a lean cut, it can dry out if it goes even a few degrees beyond the target temperature. I rely heavily on carryover cooking—removing the meat from heat and allowing it to continue to slowly cook—to ensure that my pork roast will be succulent when it’s served. By pulling to loin out of the oven when it is still a couple of degrees under the target temp, you prevent it from drying out and overcooking while it rests.
I usually cook a loin roast until the internal temperature, taken from the center of the loin, reads 135 degrees. I then pull it from the oven and tent the roast with foil—which creates a mini oven—with the roast as the heat source. This will bring the internal temperature to 140 to 145, which is ideal for pork.
In the recipe below, I walk you through making a maple dijon glaze—which provides a sweet and savory balance for the roast and pairs well with a variety of different sides. The glaze will need to be applied halfway through cooking and should be basted on throughout. Roasted root vegetables always pair well with a beautiful pork roast.
What You'll Need
2 to 3 lb pork loin roast
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
½ C real maple syrup
½ C cider or rice vinegar
¼ C dijon or creole mustard
A good pan with a roasting rack, or a couple of ribs of celery to elevate the roast and allow the heat to circulate around the whole cut of meat.
Preheat the oven to 450.
Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. If using a brine or pre seasoning, it is best to do this a day ahead. The pork loin roast needs to be brined for about 4 hours. If just preseasoning, you can apply the salt and pepper the night before.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and maple syrup.
Roast the loin at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then drop the heat of the oven to 350.
Remove from the ove and apply the maple, mustard and vinegar mixture and cook for about 15 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer reads 135 degrees internally.
Remove from oven and tent with foil, allowing the meat to rest for about 25 minutes. Slice, serve and enjoy with great company.