We’ve all been there. Wandering back and forth in front of the meat case trying to decide what to cook for supper, eyeing the beautifully marbled beef, various marinades on the chicken, and no shortage of options in pork. It all just looks so good! But inevitably, and I’m sure you’ve done this too, we stick to our comfort zone and walk away with the chicken breasts.
Now I love chicken breast, but as we head into winter, I’m endeavoring to take advantage of the wide variety of cuts of meat available to us, and show you how to as well! Life is just too short to only cook within our comfort zones. Let’s add some variety!
This week, let’s start with pork loin.
For those of you with childhood memories of chewy hard pork chops, you should probably read what I wrote about why Chefs recommend cooking pork to a lower internal temperature than our parents did (trust me, it tastes better). Skip to the part below the recipe photos to read more on that!
I’ve already found and tested 3 different recipes you can use – one for each Butcher’s cut from this section of the pig.
Where is the pork loin from?: The pork loin is the section located between the shoulder and back legs of the pig which is the leanest, most tender part of the animal.
What do I need to know about cooking cuts from pork loin?: Public enemy number one of the pork loin is over-cooking, or using the wrong cooking method. The lean cuts from a pork loin are meant to be cooked to a still-pink centre.
You may remember eating chewy pork chops as a kid, mostly because the public was told to cook it to a well-done stage. However, through safer farming practices, the danger of contracting trichinosis from eating undercooked pork disappeared in the 1970’s and these days every professional chef will instruct you to cook pork loin to an internal temperature no higher than 150 degrees – most chefs even going as low as 140 degrees.
This is good news for weeknight dinners, as the short cook times help get dinner on the table faster! We will save the long braises and stews for the fattier pork shoulder.
What kinds of cuts come from the pork loin?:
- Pork Chops (bone in or bone-out, center cut or rib-end)
- Pork Tenderloin (this is the leanest, most tender cut of pork – don’t supplement it for anything labelled as simply “pork loin” if the recipe calls for a tenderloin)
- Pork Loin Roast (bone in or boneless)
- Pork back rib
While I’m at it, let me dispel another pork myth – added hormones in pork. ALL pork raised in Canada has been grown without the use of any additional hormones so wherever you shop, be sure to look for the BC Pork label, knowing it’s been raised to one of the healthiest standards in the world.
The pork you buy here at Lepp Farm Market is raised right behind the market on our own farm, the animals are fed an all vegetable diet and also not given any routinely administered antibiotics. Farmer Rob’s family has a long history as a BC Pork producer and we are proud to share the best of our Farm with you!