If you´ve decided to make one of your favorite pork loin recipes for dinner tonight, you are going to want to make sure you find the perfect piece. Read on to help you select the optimal piece of pork loin available.
1- Choose fresh pork loin if possible. Fresh meat is always better than frozen, and then you don´t have to worry about defrosting it. If you have to buy a frozen one, be sure to check the ingredients. Often time, frozen ones have salt and other additives added.
2- Look for a pork loin that is not full of fat. Fat on the outside is fine, because you can easily trim it. However, if it looks like there is fat throughout, look for another piece. Pork loin is lean, and it is better to find it without fat.
3- A boneless pork loin is easier to cook, and most pork loin recipes call for boneless pork loin. You can buy one with bone in, and use it in recipes that call for boneless, but I don´t recommend it. If you do cook one with the bone, you may want to keep the bone and use it for a pork loin soup the following day.
4- You will need about 300 g per person eating, and remember it is always better to have too much than too little. Leftovers are always a pleasure, and sliced left-over pork loin makes for great sandwiches!
5- Make sure to select a cut that does not look dried out on the edges. If possible, it should be meat that was prepared that very day.
Follow these five steps, and all you´ll have to do then is pick the one you think looks the best. Other things such as organic/non-organic, local, etc. are all up to you. Generally, local is better, but not in all cases. Select the one you think is best, and if you like it, you know you can continue to buy that brand! There are tons of amazing pork loin recipes, so you´ll have plenty of opportunities to try different pieces of pork loin.
Pork Loin or Pork Tenderloin
I am a huge fan of cooking both, and they both have their benefits. Here is a quick break-down to help you choose between the two. First of all, you probably want to know the difference. The pork tenderloin is a long, narrow muscle that is part of the loin. It is very tender, flavorful, and has hardly any fat. Usually there is a very thin layer on one side, almost like a skin, that can be remove either before or after cooking.
So which should you choose?
- if you want pork chops, you’ll definitely want to choose pork loin. Tenderloin is usually no larger than a 2-inch diameter. They make for great mini medallions, but if you are looking for some nice pork steaks, the tenderloin is not a great option.
- if you are making a nice, big stew, again, you’ll want to go with the pork loin. Mostly because if its size, and also because you can get in bone-in, which is nice for stews. The loin cooks well in a stew, the tenderloin not so much, because it is small and will overcook and dry out quickly.
- from a strictly health perspective, the tenderloin is a better choice. It has slightly less fat in it.
- from a taste perspective, if you are eating both roasted or on the BBQ, the tenderloin and the loin are about equal, but the tenderloin is slightly juicier.
- from a cost perspective, they are pretty even, though the tenderloin is usually slightly more expensive.
- for a quick meal, either could be a good option, but a whole tenderloin will cook much quicker than a pork loin, unless the pork loin is cut into chops.
- both go great with dozen of different flavors, and most recipes, at least in terms of flavors, can be used for either tenderloin or pork loin.