Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pork Loin On the Go

Gentle reader, I recently got a real job. Yes, after years of freelancing, I took a staff position, which has brought such magical developments as visits from the money fairy (a.k.a. direct deposit) and the prospect of finally getting my teeth cleaned.

Another plus: I can pick up groceries in the neighborhood where I work, which was not an option at my previous gig in Times Square—an area so devoid of grocery stores, I frequently saw people in line at the Duane Reade with baskets full of staples like milk and cereal. Kind of depressing that in the greatest food city in the world, people are grocery-shopping at a chain pharmacy.

Anyhoo. I have spoken before of how my matrilineal heritage of old-fashioned home cooking involves the use of condiment packets. So last Friday, I took it into my head to marinate a pork loin using ingredients found in my office kitchen, while I enjoyed happy hour with a friend.

(Mind you, if you're not into eating dinner late, you might want to save this recipe for a weekend, since it does take a while. You could also marinate the pork the night before and refrigerate it overnight, but it will still need time to come to room temperature and to roast.)

Here’s how it went down:

I bought a 2.5-lb. boneless pork loin—the wide kind, not the log shape—for about $5 at the grocery store. At one of the tables in the front of the store where people are supposed to eat prepared food, I transferred the pork loin to a Tupperware container (washed out from the lunch I’d brought) and tossed it in a whisked-together marinade consisting of:

  • 2 Dijon mustard packets
  • 2 soy sauce packets
  • 1 hot sauce packet
  • 1/4 cup honey

I flipped the pork loin in the marinade with a plastic fork, then sealed the container and swaddled it inside plastic bags. I’m pretty sure anyone passing by who saw me through the windows doing all this in my grubby North Face hoodie thought I was completely insane, but oh well.

Then I was on my way to meet my friend for happy hour, during which time the meat marinated and also came to room temperature, which is important for even cooking. If you cook a big roast straight out of the fridge, the outside will be burnt by the time the inside gets cooked enough. So you see, there’s a method to my madness!

Once home in Brooklyn, I turned the oven to 450° and put the pork in a Le Creuset (ceramic) pan with a little water on the bottom, so the marinade wouldn’t get burned onto it—sugar-like ingredients such as honey will easily turn a marinade or sauce into a nearly unscrubbable black char on the surface of your crockery.

After 10 minutes, I flipped the meat and brushed it with Dijon mustard; after another 10 minutes, I flipped and brushed again and turned the heat down to 325°. I cooked it for maybe another hour, flipping once or twice. It could have been a little less done, though, so use a meat thermometer if you have one.

Let the meat rest, under tented aluminum foil, for at least 10 minutes before slicing it.

This could easily serve four or five as a main course—it was just two of us, but there are many leftover possibilities (I ended up making some delicious Cuban-ish pressed sandwiches). I served it with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes, plus a mustard cream gravy, but you could do whatever.

1 comment:

  1. this is not only a great post, it's full of such good tips- room temp meat, sugar-based marinades! kitty you're too good