Pork loin is cut from the top portion of the hog and is a lean, tender cut of meat. Pork loin roasts with the bone-in have a bit more flavor, but thin-cut pork loins can't be beat for ease and convenience. Stock up when they are on sale and freeze them for up to six months. Put them in the refrigerator in the morning and they'll be thawed in time for dinner.
Thin-cut pork loins are similar to boneless chicken breasts; they're versatile, mild in flavor and they cook quickly. They are an ideal choice for a quick weeknight meal for a busy family. Saute them in garlic, butter, mushrooms and a bit of white wine and serve with pasta, or make a simple sauce with red wine, chicken broth and dried cherries. Slice pork tenderloins for stir fries or butterfly and stuff them with savory fillings. Slow cook pork loins with a packet of seasoning mix, and shred the meat for pulled pork sandwiches or green chili.
Today's pork is much leaner than that of previous generations -- 30 percent or more, according to Stanley Lobel, co-author of "Lobel's Meat Bible." This characteristic makes it prone to dryness. Cook thin-cut pork loin using moist methods, such as braising or sautéing. Add chicken broth or apple juice to a slow cooker. Grill thin-cut pork loin quickly or brush it with a fruit glaze.
Selecting Thin-Cut Pork Loin
Thin-cut pork loins are common in grocery stores and are usually found next to the bone-in pork chops. Look for pork loin that is grayish pink with small streaks of firm, creamy white fat. Avoid thin-cut pork loins that are deep red or have yellowing or bright white fat. Also avoid those that are injected with flavorings and additives, which can cause a rubbery texture and unappealing flavor.
Pair thin-cut pork loins with traditional favorites like sauteed apples, baked potatoes and salad with creamy dressing, or spice things up with ethnic flavors. Pork pairs well with Asian flavors, such as soy, ginger, lime and cilantro, or Mexican chiles and spices. Try spicy Korean-style pork with Asian slaw or pork tacos with rice and beans.
- "Lobel's Meat Bible"; Stanley Lobel, et al.; 2009
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