Friday, September 19, 2008

Pork Loin Conundrum

So I’ve tried my hand at roasting a simple pork loin a number of times. The result: a dry, tasteless slab of pork that no amount of sauce or gravy could save. I’ve rubbed, I’ve stuffed, I’ve plain old seared then thrown into the oven, but no matter what my approach, what I’ve gotten in the end is an awkward look my from husband as he sinks his teeth into what’s really shoe leather disguised as pork.
Yes, my futile attempts at perfectly roasting or baking—whatever you’d like to call it—a nicely cut piece of pork have been discouraging. But I won’t give up. I will fight this battle until I’ve won—I wasn’t born a Taurus for nothing. And I think I’ve finally figured out a way to do so.
My husband and I were able to renovate the outdated kitchen in our new home this past spring and as such I’m lucky enough to have some new appliances to help with my cooking adventures. Nothing high-end or super spectacular, I’ll admit, but new nonetheless. Anyhow, our pretty standard oven apparently came with this contraption that appeared to be a thermometer of sorts, but which I tossed into a drawer during the clean-up process following the renovations and our move into the new house. Now, I’ve had a manual instant read thermometer sitting in its package in the back of a kitchen drawer for at least two years now. Why haven’t I used it you ask? I don’t know … I’ve always kind of played it by ear when roasting, baking, grilling my meats and things have turned out just fine (except for the whole pork thing). But when I found a juicy piece of pork loin calling out to me in our local meat market the other day, I resolved to buy the darn thing and let my virgin meat thermometer work some magic.
After prepping the pork (I simply rubbed some garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and olive oil into the meat), I came across the wire/probe thingamajig that came with the new oven while searching for the meat thermometer. I decided it was time to figure out what this thing was, so I rifled through the appliance manuals I’ve left in one of the kitchen drawers and got to reading. Wouldn’t you know it? The contraption is actually a meat thermometer, one end of which is placed into the meat and the other into an outlet within the oven. Press a few buttons on the digital keypad and … voila! The oven, as I fervently write this post, is roasting the pork until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, is it just me or is that pretty cool?

It’s an hour or so later and the oven’s declared the meat has reached 155 degrees, I’ve let the pork sit for 10 to 15 minutes tented with aluminum foil and with fork and knife in hand I am now ready to carve, and … drum roll please … I won the battle! The pork is tender and juicy and my overly enthused husband is ecstatic he’ll finally get to taste what a truly well cooked piece of pork loin should taste like.

P.S. I served the pork loin with some beets over caramelized onions topped with crumbled feta and a cider vinegar dressing.

1 comment:

Peter G said...

Well done Maria! I pretty much have the same issues when it comes to roasting pork. Maybe I need to invest in one of those thermometers...the pork def looks succulent.