I picked up a whole pork loin at the grocery store yesterday on sale for $1.69 a pound. Couldn’t pass that up! I considered slicing it into steaks, but decided to make something different than usual. I am glad I went with it and ended up with this super moist and delicious Oven Roasted Lemon and Garlic Pork Loin.
It is important to note that these instructions are for a pork loin and not a pork tenderloin. The cooking time would be different for a pork tenderloin, as it is much smaller.
I ended up getting about 3 lbs for about 5 bucks. I feel pretty proud of myself lol. Being mid July in Southern Oregon, it is very hot outside. I tend to end up barbecuing everything, every chance I can get, but standing in front of a fire in 100 degree weather does not sound fun. Since I am lucky enough to have central air in my house, cooking indoors is the way to go right now.
Most of the time when I cook a big hunk of meat in the oven, or crockpot, I sear it first in a pan. But I was feeling kind of lazy, so I decided to see how it went without searing it first this time. And since pork and lemon go so well together, I decided to use lemon as a main ingredient. Plus, I knew this would help moisturize and tenderize the meat.
What you will need
- Pork Loin (about 2-3 lbs)
- Olive Oil
- White Wine Vinegar (optional)
- 1 Lemon
- 6 Cloves Garlic
- Baking Pan (I used a glass one)
- Roasting Rack (I took the one from my turkey roaster and modified it with Kabob Skewers- you can also make one out of foil if you don’t have one. I put a video here to show you how…super easy!!)
This really couldn’t be much easier…
I decided to get my pork loin seasoned and marinating about 2 hours before I wanted to cook it. This helps infuse flavor into the meat and will make it more tender in the end. Plus, it was nice to get it done and then just pop it in the over later with zero effort. Here is how I did it:
- I put it in a large Rubbermaid dish to start, so when I am done seasoning I can just put a lid on it and put it in the fridge to marinate.
- Used the tip of a sharp knife and punched about 1/4 inch holes on both sides of the loin, so the marinade can soak in.
- Rubbed the whole loin down with a little Olive Oil
- I sprinkled a little white wine vinegar on both sides for some extra tenderization, but you can skip this if you don’t have it.
- I cut my lemon in half. Then I squeezed the juice from one half on one side of the pork loin, and the juice from the other half on the other side. Remove the seeds before of after.
- I peeled my garlic, then chopped it up finely with my handy, dandy Farberware chopper (I love this thing!- See Picture) Then I took half of the garlic and spread it out evenly on the top of the loin and pushed it in to the meat a little, stuffing it into any cracks or holes I found. Repeat on other side.
- Now for the seasoning. I did one side (and visible edges) first, and then flipped it and did the other side. Give a generous dusting with the salt, so that it can soak in an give the whole loin flavor. Then sprinkle pepper, and paprika for color. If you want to add some spice you can also sprinkle on some cayenne or habanero dust, yum!
That’s it! Super easy. Slap a lid on that puppy and put it in the refrigerator and it will be ready to go when it is time to cook.
How to Cook the Pork Loin
I wanted to try to get a bit of a darkening on the exterior. I went back and forth whether to do this at the end, or at the beginning. I have done it both ways before. Because I was afraid of overcooking the pork, I decided to do it at the beginning…
- So, I preheated the oven to 475 degrees
- When up to temp, put the pork loin in (uncovered) for 10 mins
- Turned temperature down to 350 degrees
- Cook for 20 minutes per pound
- Check internal temperature of the pork loin with a meat thermometer. It needs to be at least 145 degrees in the center. I think about 155 is good though. It will still be moist, but not too pink. A little pink is ok though, don’t freak out. Pork isn’t the evil disease ridden meat that we were brought up to believe when I was a kid. It is totally fine, and actually better, if it is slightly pink. This will insure a moist, juicy, delicious pork experience. Dry, overcooked pork sucks, and you can always cook it longer, you can’t un-cook it if you go too far.
- Then let it sit for 10-15 mins.
- It’s ready to slice up and serve!
I made some good ‘ol Chicken Rice A’Roni and peas with mine. It was great!
Spicing it up
As you all know, I like my food with a kick. For this meal you could, as I mentioned earlier, add Cayenne powder prior to cooking. If the rest of your family doesn’t like that you can add some hot sauce to plate after the fact. On this particular occasion I went with one of my new favorites Swamp Gator hot sauce for a spicy kick, and mixed it with a bit of Cajun Sunshine for a little tang.
Oven Roasted Lemon and Garlic Pork Loin in Review
What is really great about this recipe is that it pretty straight-forward, simple, and totally juicy and delicious. Also, it is a great meal for anytime of year, whether you are inside hiding from the heat in the summer, or the cold weather in the winter.
If you are looking for something to do with your leftovers, check out my Pork Enchilada Casserole!
If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment, and I will get back to you asap. Thanks for reading, talk to you soon!