Monday, October 13, 2008

Holiday Alternatives: Roast Pork Loin


Last Thursday I had the privilege and opportunity to cook for the Jenks football team. The head coach attends the church where I work, and our Youth Ministry has a tradition of hosting the area football teams for a dinner. Our Youth Minister asked me to cook for Jenks and I was more than happy to jump in. As usual, I was wrapped up with what to cook. Aaron, our Youth Minister, said meat and potatoes were never a bad idea, but beef is so expensive. I went back and forth, back and forth and finally decided on Pork loin. Oh yeah, I was cooking for 150 (most of that football players, so it was like 200--big appetites don'cha know).

Pork Loin is a great cut of meat to serve a large crowd. It is a classier cut of meat, as pork goes, roasts well, and stays juicy and tender while at the same time giving you a nice slice of meat. It won't come apart and be all shredded. I like pork over turkey because I find turkey to be very dry and not very flavorful, but that's just me. So, pork was the choice. Here's the menu for my Football Banquet.
Roast Pork Loin
Loaded Potatoes
Asian-Style Green Beans
Scalloped Apples
Hot Rolls
For this banquet of 150 I needed the following quantities of food:
  • 90 pounds of Pork Loin
  • 10 pounds of Green Beans
  • 20 pounds of apples
  • 40 pounds of potatoes
  • 300 hot rolls
  • 30 gallons of tea
Usually you plan for a quarter pound of meat per person, counting two children under 12 as one adult. For the football team I planned on a little more just to make sure I could reach the bottoms of their bellies. Having a filling side, like mashed potatoes was also a good call because it's a filler. I found the recipe for this pork loin from myrecipes.com which is Southern Living magazine's website. This is one of my go to websites when researching what to do. I altered the recipe by adding a seasoning rub and adjusting the amounts of liquids I used, which made it my own.

Roast Pork Loin

  • 1 4 1/2- to 5-pound boneless pork loin roast (the loins i used were 8-9 pounds each)
  • McCormick Key West Blend Seasoning (If you can't find this seasoning it's equal parts lemon pepper, dried basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and sage.)
  • Kosher Salt & Cracked Pepper
  • 1 10-ounce jar apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (or Bourbon, which I didn't use, but will when I do this at home)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or teriyaki
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Heat oven to 325ยบ F. Place the pork in a roasting pan and rub with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the preserves with the orange juice, soy sauce, and garlic and pour over the meat. Cover and roast 30-35 minutes. Uncover and baste with the sauce and the juices that have collected in the roasting pan. Cover and continue cooking, basting every 20 minutes, for about 1 hour longer or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest 10-15 minutes to finish cooking before carving. I made double the sauce called for and set half of the sauce on the stove brought it to a rolling boil, then reduced the heat and let it reduce while the roast was cooking.

Don't miss tricks:
  • Let the roast come to room temperature. This will give the meat time to absorb the seasonings and not just sit on top. It will also help the meat relax and cook more evenly which will make for a more juicy roast. This is really true with any meat, bring it to room temperature, then roast.
  • You really do need a meat thermometer. When cooking meats it's really critical to get the right temperature. With pork, you don't want it to be under done, with roast beef you don't want it to be over done. It's a great investment, and really important.
  • Remember carryover cooking. Your meat will continue to cook out of the oven as much as 7 degrees, or more. You will want to bring this roast out at 150'ish and by the time it rests it will be up to temperature because of the carryover cooking. I played it safe here and took the roast out at 155 which brought it up to 160. You can do the same as well and not compromise any of the juiciness.
  • NEVER POKE. When you have a roasted meat, it is absolutely critical that you not pierce the meat because you will loose valuable juice and have a dry roast as the end result. Give your roast a chance to get over the trauma of roasting, relax, collect it's self and have all the juices bet back where they need to be, which is not on your platter.
We sliced the meat about a 1/4 inch thick, giving two slices for a serving. to present we ladled the pan sauce over the meat. I highly recommend this roast for a holiday get together if you just can't bring yourself to look at another turkey.

Want anymore recipes from this menu? Let me know and I'll post the whole shebang! Enjoy.



1 comment:

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