Pork loin is the meat cut from the upper center area of the pig. The cut is made on both sides of the backbone, running from the shoulder to the leg. It is the leanest and most tender part of the pig.
Buying Pork Loin
Pork loin is commercially available in retail cuts. The different cuts are pork roasts, pork chops, rib roast, rib chops, country–style ribs, back ribs, pork rack, pork tenderloin, and pork steak.
Fresh pork meat has an even pink color. There should be a combination of white fat and pink meat called marbling. There should also be a thin layer of fat around the edge of the meat. The flesh should be firm to the touch. It should also have a sweet smell.
The recommended pork loin cut is a roast from the rib end of the pig. It is usually more marbled than other cuts, with a rich and juicy flavor.
How To Cook
Pork can be cooked like any other low fat meat – over a short period of time with high temperatures, or over longer times with lower temperatures. You can also cook pork by moist heat methods such as simmering, braising, poaching, and crock pot cooking.
Roasts, tenderloin, and pork chops should be cooked at an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The length of cooking time depends on how thick the cut of pork is. The super-tender pork tenderloin, when thinly sliced, will cook in seconds when you stir-fry it. Thinly cut pork chops, battered and sautéed, will be done in 5-7 minutes. Thick pork chops which may be up to 1-1/2″ thick, may take 8-9 minutes to cook in the crock pot.
Roasting pork loin may take hours. What you need to avoid is overcooking your pork loin. Overcooking dries out lean pork. However, make sure that your pork is cooked enough so that you will not get trichinosis (a disease that can be gotten from eating undercooked pork).