How To Cook A Pork Loin Roast
Thinking about pork roast always takes me back to my childhood, when my mother would often serve us a pork roast on Sunday nights. As I grew into adulthood, I’d remember those meals fondly, but the thought of trying to figure out how to perfectly roast pork seemed too challenging.
Finally, I decided to do a little bit of research, and what I found surprised me. After checking many pork recipes I realized, that despite seeming like it might be complicated, cooking a pork loin roast is actually quite simple and straightforward. You don’t need a bunch of strange ingredients or to spend endless time in the kitchen following a laundry list of steps.
There are a number of tips and tricks that will help you make the absolute best pork roast possible, but the basics of the recipe are easy. You’ll need to prepare a simple spice rub to treat the meat with, and after that the oven does all the hard work for you.
The finished pork roast will be succulent and flavorful, an ideal centerpiece for a meal with family or guests. The total cook time is a bit over two hours, so no excuses!
What You’ll Need For This Pork Loin Roast Recipe
To cook the perfect pork roast, you’ll need two things: The meat itself, and the spices and seasonings that make up the spice rub you’ll treat the meat with before cooking. While it’s not super complicated, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing each of those two.
The Pork Loin Roast
First of all, you’ll need the pork roast, the star of the show. Pork tenderloin is a cut taken from the tissue along the top section of the pig’s rib cage. You can get pork loin in a variety of forms, like pork chops or steaks, but in this case you’re going to want a pork roast. A roast is sometimes called a joint instead.
A pork loin roast can be purchased either bone in, meaning it still has the loin ribs attached to the meat, or boneless pork loin, which is what you’re going to want here. A pork loin roast should be around two and a half to three pounds in weight, and should have a good-sized layer of fat covering one side of the meat.
Pro Tip on Preparing Your Pork
You might be inclined to cut off that layer of fat, thinking it will make the meat unappetizing. This would be a big mistake, though. That layer of fat is one of the major keys to ending up with a juicy and flavorful pork loin roast.
You’re going to be cooking the roast for a long time, and that layer of fat is slowly going to cook down, transferring all its flavor into the meat. By the time the roast is done, the fat will be gone, and the roast will be infused with tastiness.
When picking out a pork loin roast, try to select the one with a thick layer of fat. The thicker the better! In fact, some people will talk with their butcher and request a pork loin roast with an extra thick layer of fat.
The Spice Rub
The foundation of the flavor of the pork loin roast is going to come from the meat itself, but to get the perfect pork roast you’re going to want to accentuate that flavor with a nice spiced rub. To start out, I’m going to provide you with a rub that’s always worked for me.
- 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Rosemary or fresh rosemary
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Sage
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Oregano
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Thyme
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
The olive oil – use extra light rather than extra virgin – and the salt and pepper as musts. As for the other spices, it’s up to you as to whether you want to add all of them or go with ones you particularly enjoy. If you’re a big fan of rosemary, then go with rosemary only. Or if you can’t stand oregano, leave that out.
If you’re going to remove one or more spices from the mix, add more of the other ones to keep the volume about the same. It should be in the ballpark of two teaspoons to one tablespoon. If you want even more variety and ideas, check out another awesome dry rub recipe, Texas style!
This rub is outstanding, and is a great starting point. Once you’ve got some experience under your belt, feel free to experiment a little more with some other ingredients. One of the great things about cooking a pork loin roast is that the flavor of the meat is so good that you can do a lot of things to complement it.
The Step by Step Boneless Pork Loin Roast Recipe
Once you’ve got all your ingredients ready, it’s time to cook the meat. As I mentioned earlier, the process of cooking the roast pork loin is easy and painless. So here's the easy recipe:
Set Up the Oven
Before you begin to prepare the meat, get your oven ready to go. Make sure that the oven rack is in the center slot of your oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
To start out the recipe, you’re going to want to cook the pork loin with high heat to get a nice browning effect on the outside, before lowering the heat to finish the meat.
Get the Pork Loin Roast Ready for the Rub
As mentioned earlier, do NOT cut off the layer of fat on one side of the roast. That fat is going to keep the pork loin moist and flavorful. When the time comes to put the roast into the pan, you’re always going to want to place the fat side up. This is so when the meat cooks, the fat melts off and drips down into the roast, infusing it with flavor.
For now, get out a cutting board and place the meat on it, and then prepare your rub.
Mix up the Spice Rub
Take your ingredients that you’ve chosen to use for the rub, as well as a small bowl. First, add the olive oil, and then add each of the other ingredients. With a spoon or other utensil, stir up the mix to get everything blended roughly evenly.
The spice rub will have a thick but wet consistency to it. You’re now ready to apply the rub to the meat.
Apply the Spice Rub to the Pork Roast
On the cutting board, pour the spice rub onto the meat and work it evenly over the surface of the pork loin. You’re going to want to make sure you cover all surfaces of the meat, including the fatty layer that will go on top of the roast when it’s being baked.
Place the Roast in a Pan and Put it in the Oven
By now, your oven should have preheated to 450 degrees, and you’re ready to go. Take a baking pan, and set up a rack in the pan. If you don’t have a rack, and alternate method is to coil up tinfoil to form a sort of makeshift rack.
Fat side up, set the pork loin onto the rack, and place the pork loin into the oven to cook.
Cook the Roast for 10 minutes on 450 Degrees
You’re not going to want to cook the pork loin for long at 450 degrees, as the high temperature would quickly dry out and overcook the meat. Cooking it at high heat to start is essential to get a nice golden color and a tasty exterior, before cooking the meat at a lower temperature.
Set the timer for 10 minutes and cook the roast at 450 degrees. When the timer expires, drop the temperature down to 250 degrees. You don’t have to take the roast out of the oven waiting for the oven to drop down to 250 degrees – just leave it in there, and start the new timer.
Cook the Roast for 50 to 80 minutes at 250 Degrees
Every roast has a different size and thickness, so it’s impossible to say exactly how long you’re going to need to cook the roast to perfect done-ness. The standard you’re going for is an internal temperature of 145 degrees. This is the temperature at which pork is ideally cooked and safe to eat.
Measure the internal temperature of the roast with a meat thermometer, and start checking at around the 50 minute mark. We have a simple tutorial on How To Use An Instat-Read Thermometer if you need any help with that. As you gain experience cooking pork roasts, you’ll probably be able to start judging based on the size and thickness of your roast whether it’s going to be closer to the 50 minute or 80 minute mark. But to start out, check at 50 minutes and go from there.
Remove Roast, Let Settle, and Serve The Pork Loin
Once your meat thermometer measures the acceptable temperature, take the roast out of the oven and give it some time to settle. You’ll want to leave it alone, covered in foil for about 15 minutes, while the meat finishes cooking internally and the juices settle. This might make the total cooking time a bit longer, but it's definitely worth it.
Once you’ve allowed the meat to sit for 15 minutes, slice it width-wise into slices of anywhere from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch, depending on your tastes. Serve to your family or guests. A three pound roast should produce around six servings of delicious and tender pork.
To complement this recipe, I have another video for all you pork lovers! The Most Tender Pork Loin Recipe Ever, check it out here:
I truly hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that it gives you a simple and effective playbook to making a perfect pork loin roast for a holiday dinner party. For me, a roasted pork loin is a delicious meal with nostalgia value that’s also an impressive meat to serve to company. And the great thing about it is that you don’t have to spend an hour plus in the kitchen chopping and measuring.
I hope you’ll chime in below in the comments section, letting me know what you think of the recipe. And if you enjoyed the article and recipe, please share it with your friends and family. Thanks for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Cut the Fat Cap Off of a Pork Loin?
You shouldn’t remove the fat from the pork loin, especially when you are cooking it as a full roast. During the amount of time it takes the pork to cook, this fat will cook down and flavor the meat. This fat layer will also keep the pork moist as it cooks.
What Temperature Should You Cook Pork?
The FDA used to recommend for pork to be cooked to 165 degrees F. This is to prevent trichinosis, a parasite that can live in the raw pork meat. Recently, the FDA changed the recommendation to lower the temperature to 145 degrees F. If you are worried about the quality of the pork, you should cook it to the previously recommended temperature, also known as well done.
Why Do You Cook Pork Loin Roast At Two Different Temperatures?
The pork loin roast is first roasted at a high temperature, like 450 degrees F. This sears the outside of the pork, adding a layer of flavor. It is then cooked at a lower temperature, like 250 degrees F, to keep the pork nice and moist as it cooks.
How Do You Use a Meat Thermometer?
A meat thermometer should be inserted in the thickest part of your roast. The digital temperature gage stays outside the oven, connected to the thermometer by a cable. You can usually set an alarm that will go off once the meat inside the oven comes to the specified temperature.
How Do You Eat a Pork Roast?
A pork loin roast can be sliced and served with mashed potatoes, rice, or polenta. It can also be used to make sandwiches, thinly slicing the meat to pile it high on your choice of bun or roll. Chopped or diced pork roast is also tasty in a breakfast hash or on tacos.