Pork loin roasts can be so tender and delicious, and the small ones are perfect for just two, with only enough left over for sliced pork sandwiches the next day. The loin roast has so little fat, and almost no marbling, very lean. It is also very easy to overcook. There are two secrets to getting wonderful, succulent pork for dinner. First, you really have to have an instant read digital thermometer. Cooking to precise temperature avoids overcooking and turning a lovely piece of meat into shoe leather. Second, you have to plan time to let the roast rest after cooking. How many of you have popped a pork loin in the oven, set the timer for one hour without looking at how much it weighed, and got a dry, tough roast out? One thing to know is that pork loin is 75% water, and it is easy to overcook and dry out when roasting.
These can be so tender and juicy, with just a little care. I don’t want to have huge amounts of leftovers, so I chose a small 2-pound lean, boneless, pork loin roast, on sale of course. You can put anything on it as far as spices and seasonings you like. This time I ‘frosted’ the roast with dijon mustard, then sprinkled on garlic salt and lemon pepper.
I topped it off with a layer of Panko bread crumbs for crunch, and lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. No, it won’t be done yet, but you need to check the temperature now.
Using one of these digital thermometers, check its temperature in the center of the thickest part of the roast.
You will get somewhere around 115 to 125 degrees, depending on how hot your oven is. Calculate about 10 degrees per 5 minutes if your reading is around 115, and 7 minutes per 10 degrees if you are nearer the top number. You are shooting for 150-152 degrees. Place the roast back in the oven for 10-15 minutes and check temperature again. If you still aren’t at 150 degrees, put it back in the oven, 5 minutes at a time, checking the temperature every time you remove it from the oven, until the temperature 150-152 degrees is reached.
Leaving it in the baking dish, tent with foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the meat to relax and reabsorb the juices so they aren’t lost when you slice it. The temperature will continue to rise to the final serving temperature of 160 degrees.
Moist and tender, you can cut this with a fork! It is OK to have a slight blush to the meat, it doesn’t have to be pure white. The temperature is more important in determining if it is done and not overdone.
I like serving it with my Garlic Zucchini. Yes, we can eat this entire pan in one meal.
DH likes some noodles too.
The next night, we had all the leftover roast for dinner. Heat in foil in the oven for about 30 minutes, or microwave on medium low for about 2 minutes. Don’t overcook while reheating.
I made a double batch of my Parmesan Spinach dish, as I love leftovers of this one. This time I didn’t use the roasted garlic, just added a bit of garlic powder.
Yum, dinner for two nights and some of my favorite veggie dishes too.
Dijon Pork Loin Roast
1 pork loin boneless roast about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons (approx) dijon mustard, more or less to taste
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
No-stick cooking spray.
Spray an 8×8 baking dish with no stick, add the roast. Frost roast with dijon mustard, and sprinkle with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. You will get somewhere around 115 to 125 degrees, depending on how hot your oven is. Calculate about 10 degrees per 5 minutes if your reading is around 115, and 7 minutes per 10 degrees if you are nearer the top number. You are shooting for 150 degrees. Place the roast back in the oven for 10-15 minutes and check temperature again. If you still aren’t at 150 degrees, put it back in 5 minute times until that temperature is reached. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise to the final serving temperature of 160 degrees.
Just one more note about cooking pork. Pork that is fatty or has a lot of connective tissue like a Boston Butt does well in a slow cooker, but please don’t put a lean loin like this, or a tenderloin in there. The slow cooker will raise the temperature of the roast over 200 degrees, which will toughen very lean pork. It would be like putting a sirloin steak in one, which would overcook that as well. Very tender cuts don’t need long cooking. Reserve that for the less expensive cuts that need a long slow cooking to make them tender.
Do you enjoy a pork dinner?