One of the most overlooked meats available is Pork, and specifically the loin. I am sure you have seen the broken down version of the loin in the form of chops or cutlets, but maybe you have been put off by the size of the whole piece itself. Well, let’s show you what to do with that!
If you want the best value, buying the whole pork loin, not to be confused with the tenderloins, can provide great good at an affordable price. I can usually get the whole piece for around 20 bucks on sale.
Pork is a great meat for you. It is generally low in fat, and when not smoked like a ham, very low in sodium. It is very versatile, being able to be roasted, stuffed, grilled or even sliced thin and sauteed. One of the best things to do is to slice it nice and thin, treat it like veal. I make a pork picatta that you would swear is veal at times. It can be crusted and baked, it can be roasted and served whole. Combine two methods and do a slow roast on the grill with a great marinade and you are in for a treat!
Not only is pork affordable, by breaking down larger meats in general, you can freeze bits and then pull them out in portions you need, making cooking when you have an empty fridge pretty easy.
PICK YOUR PIECE
When you go to pick out the piece, make sure the package is intact. We don’t want leaks out sure, but air getting in is worse. I also make sure there is not too much liquid in the bag, I want it to be pretty tight to the meat. Visually check that the meat is firm as well as no separating.
As far as color, we want a nice bright pink, any greying is not a good sign. Lastly, how much fat you want should be considered after you have determined the freshness first. Pick one that has some coverage, but not thick, heavy knots of it. If you can’t find what you want, ASK! The butchers usually have much more in the back.
TRIMMING AND CUTTING
When it comes to trimming, remove any silver skin that does nothing for us. Trim away any large pieces of fat, but leave some for moisture and flavor. There will usually be thing ring of fat on the one side which is perfectly good for most uses.
Once you are done, I cut my steaks first from the middle, then cut my roasts from what’s left. For storage I wrap them twice in tight cellophane, then in foil, markin a date on the outside. They will keep in the freezer for up to 90 days easily. Just pull them out about 12 hours before you need than and pop them in the fridge.
One thing to be aware of is that the loin is generally not a fatty piece, which you now know means it could dry out pretty quickly. To safeguard against this, do not over cook your pork, especially when you are using a rapid method like saute. (we will go more into methods of cooking soon) Another way is to make sure we don’t salt the pork too much at the beginning of the cooking process.