Would you like to cook a pork roast that will make your mother-in-law turn green with envy? Follow these guidelines and you can put dried out and tasteless pork roast behind you forever!
Cooking pork roast is not rocket science. All it takes is heat and time and you’ll wind up with cooked pork. However if you want to cook a pork roast that is moist, tender and delicious there are some guidelines to follow.
The first step in the perfect pork roast formula is selecting the type of roast. Next on the agenda is determining the best cooking method for the roast you’ve selected.
This decision making process also works in reverse. If you know the cooking method you want to use you then decide on the cut of pork.
Probably the most important step in cooking today’s pork is brining! This takes a little time planning to allow the roast to absorb the brine but it is well worth the effort.
Selecting the Roast
I’ll have to admit that if I’m just hungry for pork roast my decision for the type of roast is whatever is on sale. Then I’ll decide how to cook it based on what is best for that type.
If you don’t want to use the “whatever is on sale method” then a little knowledge of pork roast is in order.
Most all pork roasts come from the shoulder and loin wholesale cuts. There are fresh ham roasts (the hind leg) but you will rarely see them in groceries. Also pork sirloin roasts are from the hind part of the loin and they fit the shoulder roast category.
Shoulder Pork Roasts
Roasts from the shoulder contain several different muscles along with connective tissue and a good amount of fat.
These roasts benefit from long slow roasting times that allow the connective tissue to break down. They are extremely flavorful due to the amount of fat.
Shoulder roast cuts include the whole shoulder, which is good for a crowd, Boston butt, the top of the shoulder and Picnic roasts from the bottom.
These roasts all might have different names in your grocery according to the cut.
Roasts from the shoulder are the cut of choice for recipes such as pulled pork.
Pork Loin Roasts
Roasts from the pork loin are the best roasts from the pig. They are single muscle roasts without much fat. These muscles are from the center of the back of the pig and get very little usage, which makes them tender.
Basically there are two main roasts from the loin. By far the most tender is the pork tenderloin. The mild pork flavor of the tenderloin lends itself to marinades to impart flavoring.
The pork loin roast has a slightly stronger pork flavor than the tenderloin and is extremely lean. It compares in leanness to chicken breast.
Brining Pork Roasts
Most all meat products will benefit from brining.
Brine is simply a solution of non-iodized salt and water. The meat has a less concentration of salt and water than the solution so Mother Nature takes over to equalize the two.
Basic brine is 1 cup of non-iodized salt to one gallon of water. But it doesn’t stop there. All sorts of flavorings can be added to the brine and will be imparted to the roast.
A brined pork roast increases in weight because of the brining. The weight is all water. As the roast is cooked most of the water is cooked out but some remains resulting in a moist and tender roast.