How to Roast Pork Loin with a Crisp Crust and Pink Center

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Roast pork loin is a simple but impressive meat entree. And cooking it at home doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, it’s easier than you might think to make perfectly tender pork loin that’s just pink on the inside with a golden crust on the outside.

To roast pork loin, start by rubbing a simple meat rub into the meat and letting it sit for one hour. Then sear the meat in a hot skillet with olive oil until bornwed on all sides. Next, make a simple garlic and butter sauce and pour it over the meat in a roasting pan. Roast the pork loin for 50 to 60 minutes, until the interior registers 145°F on an instant-read thermometer. Then let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. 

Are you looking for a way to cook a tender and moist pork loin? It’s not that hard if you are prepared to do it! How do you cook pork loin? First, you prepare the meat rub and season the pork; then, you sear it for a couple of minutes on a saucepan and prepare the sauce on that same pan; later, you put the pork in the oven and baste it with the sauce for an hour at 375F; finally, let it rest for 10 minutes and enjoy the best pork loin you ever had!

Pork loin vs. pork tenderloin

While the names are confusingly similar, pork loin and pork tenderloin are two distinct cuts of meat. The tenderloin is a longer, thinner cut that’s always boneless. The loin is a thicker and flatter piece that sometimes contains bones. Both come from the back of the animal. The loin also has more fat than a tenderloin, which is a very lean cut of meat.

In terms of cooking, the pork loin makes a richer meal and a more dramatic presentation. But pork tenderloin can be a great weeknight go-to, as it’s fast-cooking, flavorful, and highly versatile to pair with different side dishes and flavorings.

By all means, you should try both and see which one you like best! Today,  however, we’re covering everything you need to know to cook the perfect pork loin at home.

How to Roast Pork Loin

Roasting pork loin requires very few ingredients or equipment. As long as you have a working oven and a roasting dish, you’re well on your way to producing a stunning roast pork loin to feed a crowd.

Ingredients

This recipe includes a rub to infuse the meat with flavor before roasting. It also includes a simple garlic-butter sauce to drizzle over your juicy slices of pork at the table. Here’s the short and sweet list of ingredients you need to make flavor-packed roast pork loin for dinner tonight:

Meat rub:

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cracked  black pepper

Roast Pork Loin:

  • 1 3- to 4-pound pork loin, trimmed
  • Olive oil

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Prepping the pork loin

Before you get the oven going, start by rubbing the meat with a homemade seasoning for maximum flavor and to tenderize the meat.

Step 1: Prepare the rub

In a medium bowl, combine the paprika, salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, and black pepper for the meat rub.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir to make a paste.

Step 2: Season the pork loin

Place the pork on a roasting pan and cover it in your meat rub. Use your hands to gently massage the rub into the meat on all sides. Let the meat sit at room temperature for an hour or so, until the meat reaches room temperature and the rub has had time to permeate the roast. The salt in the rub also helps tenderize the muscles for a more delicate texture.

Cooking the pork loin

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Step 2: Heat a pan for searing

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add a thin layer of olive oil and warm it for several seconds.

Step 3: Cook the pork loin

Once the oil is hot, carefully place the entire cut of meat into the pan. Use long tongs to sear the meat until it’s brown on all sides. Rotate it around as you cook. When the meat is well seared, place it on the roasting pan, fat side up.

Step 4: Prepare the sauce

Melt the butter in the now-empty skillet and add the minced garlic. Sauté for a minute, until the garlic crisps slightly. Then add the soy sauce, cider vinegar, black pepper, honey, and a pinch of salt and stir to dissolve the honey. Bring the sauce to a bare simmer, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5: Bring everything together on a roasting pan

Pour the sauce over the meat in the roasting pan, reserving half of the sauce for later. Pour a cup of water around the pork (you can also use beef, chicken, or vegetable broth here for even more flavor). Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes.

Step 6: Baste the pork

After 20 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the oven, uncover it, and pour another ¼ cup of sauce over the meat. If you have a baster, you can also use this to base the meat with some of the juices in the bottom of the roasting pan. Return the roasting pan to the oven for 15 more minutes, this time without a cover. After 15 minutes, pour the remaining sauce over the meat and cook for another 15 minutes. If at any point during cooking the meat looks dry, add another cup of water or broth to the pan.

Step 7: Let it rest

When your roast pork loin is fully cooked, remove the pan from the oven. Place the roast on a cutting board, cover it with the aluminum foil and rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Then slice the roast into thin slices and serve with more of the pan sauce spooned over each slice.

pork loin dinner

How can you tell if pork loin is done?

If you want to be 100% sure your pork loin is cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roast. According to FoodSaftey.gov, pork is considered fully cooked when the meat registers 145°F (63°C). If you don’t have a thermometer, another way to test the meat is by gently pierce the meat with a sharp knife. If the juices that come out are running clear, the meat is done. Otherwise, it needs a few more minutes in the oven. If you find resistance when you pierce the meat, it needs more cooking time.

You can also slice a piece of pork and see whether the inner side is opaque (done) or not (needs more cooking time).

How do I make pork loin more tender?

There are three things you can do to tenderize a pork loin: using a meat mallet, marinating, and brining the meat.

  1. The first is simple enough: use a meat mallet to firmly, but gently, pound the roast on a cutting board before you rub it.
  2. Marinating pork makes it both more tender and flavorful. A marinade can be as simple as lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Or add any of your favorite herbs, citrus, vinegar, oils, seasonings or sauces.
  3. Brining the meat can also help increase its tender texture. If you haven’t brined any meat before, it’s a simple process of mixing up a large container of saltwater and soaking your meat for several hours. You can do this the night before you plan to cook your roast. Be sure to rinse the brine off well to avoid overly salty meat.

Storage

Serve leftover roast pork loin as a sandwich the next day. Or dice it up for a meaty addition to salads. You can keep leftover roast pork loin in the fridge for up to four days. You can also freeze individual slices for up to two months. Let the meat defrost in the fridge overnight before warming gently and serving.

roasted pork loin

Roast Pork Loin

Roast pork loin with garlic butter sauce and a savory meat rub makes a decadent but easy celebratory meal.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Large skillet
  • Roasting pan
  • Cutting board

Ingredients
  

Meat rub:

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Roast Pork Loin:

  • 1 3- to 4- pound pork loin trimmed
  • Olive oil

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey to taste
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place the meat on a roasting pan and massage the rub into the meat on all sides. Let it sit for 1 hour at room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil until very hot. Add the pork and use tongs to sear on all sides. Place the seared meat back in the roasting pan.
  • Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the honey. Turn off the heat.
  • Pour half o the sauce over the meat in the roasting pan, cover with alumimum foil and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Pour half of the remaining sauce over the pork in the pan and roast for another 15 minutes.
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the prok and roast, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 145°F
Keyword Roast pork loin

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