The Best Way to Cook a Boneless Pork Loin

by Natalie Smith

    Boneless pork loin is a tender and versatile cut of pork if it is cooked correctly. Your family may enjoy pork loin that is grilled or roasted in the oven. To get the most tender and juicy results, however, slow-cook a pork loin. Slow-cooking can be an ideal method for the busy mom, too -- place the ingredients in the slow-cooker in the morning, turn it on and come home to a hot meal at dinnertime. Pork loin is a lean cut of meat that will overcook quickly unless you cook it slowly and at a low temperature.

    You may be surprised to learn that there is more than one cut of boneless pork loin to choose from. The usual option that you will find in your supermarket is the center-cut pork loin, but this cut dries out quickly no matter how you cook it. Choose a blade-end pork loin roast or a boneless sirloin roast instead, because these have more flavor and remain juicy.

    Slow-cooking the roast will compensate for the lack of moisture in even a center-cut loin, as long as you do not overcook it. Place the pork loin in the slow cooker, and pour enough vegetable stock, chicken stock or white wine over the pork to cover the bottom of the slow-cooker by 2 to 3 inches. Rub the pork with seasonings, such as garlic, sage, orange zest or a salad dressing mix. Cook the pork loin on low for 1 1/2 hours per pound of meat. A pork loin is completely cooked when it registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

    Serve pork loin with sides you would typically pair with pork chops. Applesauce, potatoes, rice or sauteed vegetables complement the mild flavor of pork. The pan drippings make a rich gravy, which can help make the pork even more moist and flavorful. Save the leftover pork and gravy for sandwiches, either traditional or open-faced and smothered with the gravy.

    For a pork loin that is even more tender and juicy, brine it -- soaking it in a salty liquid solution, such as broth and salt -- for four hours or overnight before you cook it. To make your meal healthier, skip the gravy and choose side dishes that do not contain added sugar, butter or cream. Unsweetened applesauce is one option that kids will enjoy. Roasted or sauteed vegetables are another nutritious option.

    About the Author

    Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

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