How to Cook a Pork Roast in the Oven
Pork is one of those meats that have a reputation for being "difficult to cook." However, cooking pork is simply a matter of practice. It also has a reputation of being dry, but when cooked correctly, pork can be just as juicy and tender as a good cut of beef.
A good pork roast is a perfect example of how sometimes, the simplest recipes are the tastiest. Here at Seven Sons, we have a very simple recipe that makes for an excellent dish to serve as a weeknight meal or a holiday feast.
If you're craving a delicious pork roast without the complicated process, read our step-by-step recipe for the best easy pork roast.
Things to Keep in Mind Before You Cook a Pork Roast
Some people are unfamiliar with cooking pork roast or even pork in general. Although it can be similar to cooking a steak or chicken, there are still some commonly asked questions about cooking a pork roast or any pork dish. Here are some things to keep in mind before getting into the kitchen.
What's the difference between a pork loin and a pork tenderloin?
People often confuse the loin and tenderloin, but these two cuts are not from the same part of the pig.
The loin is a cut from the pig's back, and it is available as either bone-in or boneless. The tenderloin is a cut from the muscle that runs along the pig's backbone. The tenderloin is only available boneless.
Flavor-wise, the loin has a milder flavor with a thick fat cap. Tenderloin is much more delicately flavored. Due to the differences in flavor, you don't want to substitute loin and tenderloin for each other.
Make sure that you're buying the precise cut you need for the recipe when purchasing meat! For our simple pork roast recipe, you'll want to pick up a boneless loin.
How much pork should I buy to feed (x) people?
Although this depends on how much each person eats, a 2lb boneless pork loin will generally serve 2-4 people. A 4lb loin will feed about 6-8 people.
When in doubt, we recommend making more than what you think you may need and enjoying the leftovers from the pork roast later in the week. A pork sandwich on 12-grain bread with mayo is one of our favorite leftover ideas. You can also incorporate leftovers into fried rice, add it onto a pizza, or put it into some stir fry.
What sides should I cook with a pork roast?
The right side dishes can make a good pork roast pop. Baked macaroni and cheese is always a good option for cheese lovers. Roasted potatoes, green beans, or garlic mashed cauliflower are healthier options that are still delicious. If you're looking to add a salad as a side dish, try a kale salad with butternut squash and balsamic vinaigrette.
Roasted vegetables can go in the same roasting pan as the pork roast. The one-pan roast can save valuable time in the kitchen and get you on your way to eating your delicious pork roast quicker!
For roasted vegetables, toss the vegetables in a large bowl with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. After about 15 minutes of cooking, add the layer of vegetables into the roasting pan with the roasted pork. The vegetables will absorb the juices from the pork and add to the flavor of the wine sauce that you'll make from the pan drippings.
How should I season a pork roast?
As we said before, our recipe is simple. It only calls for olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper to flavor to the pork. However, several herbs and spices go very well with pork.
Once you've mastered this recipe, you can tinker with it by adding more herbs and spices. We encourage experimentation, but we also encourage you to try the recipe as-is before changing it. That way, you can get familiar with the cooking process first.
Woody herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano go perfectly with pork. If you are looking to create a rub for the pork roast, mix dijon mustard with brown sugar and a dash of garlic powder.
Finally, don't be afraid to go heavy on the butter. Butter is always a safe way to make sure the meat stays moist while cooking.
What is the best temperature to cook pork in the oven?
Pork is similar to beef in some ways—you don't need to cook it fully to enjoy. Unlike chicken, it can have a slightly pink center.
Many people prefer a medium-well temperature because it keeps the meat moist and tender. Fortunately, pork doesn't carry the same risks of foodborne illness as undercooked chicken.
Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit will give you a slightly pink center. If you prefer your pork well-done, you can cook it to an internal temperature of up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember that residual heat during resting will cook the pork slightly after you have removed it from the direct heat of the oven. If you want your pork well-done but don't want it overcooked and dry, we recommend cooking to an internal temperature of about 155 degrees Fahrenheit so that it reaches 160 when resting.
Does pork need to rest before serving (like beef or chicken)?
Yes. Beef, chicken, and pork all need to rest before serving.
As meat cooks, the proteins in the meat push all the juices into the center of the cut. When the meat has a chance to rest, the juices will redistribute throughout the meat. By the time you serve the dish, each piece will be juicy and tender.
As a general rule, you want to allow meat to rest for about one minute per quarter pound or four minutes per pound.
Ingredients for the Perfect Oven Cooked Pork Roast
Many pork roast recipes include ingredients such as mustard, brown sugar, and dozens of herbs. Although these are delicious additions, they can complicate the recipe. Beginner cooks will do best with a process that contains few ingredients and easy steps.
Here are the ingredients needed for a simple but tasty pork roast:
- 2 pounds boneless pork loin
- Minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 1 Tbsp rosemary (dried; if desired, fresh rosemary works, too)
- Salt and black pepper
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 C white wine
As we suggested before, once you've mastered this recipe, you can add more ingredients to enhance the flavors of the pork. However, these are the best ingredients for a beginner recipe.
How to Cook the Perfect Pork Roast in the Oven: Step-by-Step
The prep time for this recipe is about 20 minutes or 30 minutes, and the cooking time is an hour. The total time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Step 1: Preheat Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 175C).
Step 2: Make a Garlic Paste
Create a garlic paste by crushing the garlic with the rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Later, you will push this paste into the crevices of the pork to infuse the meat thoroughly. If desired, you can add other woodsy herbs such as sage and thyme to the garlic paste for more flavor.
Step 3: Pierce the Meat
Using a sharp kitchen knife, make several piercings in the loin. There should be enough cuts to put in the garlic paste, but not so many that the loin ends up butchered. The cuts should be about 1-1.5 inches deep.
Step 4: Press Garlic Paste into Openings
Press the garlic paste into the pierced cuts you've created in the pork. You want to be frugal at first so that there is enough paste to fill all of the crevices. Make a second pass with the garlic paste to fill the openings, then rub any remaining garlic paste on the outside of the loin with olive oil.
Step 5: Roast the Loin
Place the pork in the oven to roast it. You'll need to turn and baste it with juices from the pan as it cooks. The pork should cook thoroughly until the center is no longer pink; this should take about an hour. If you are unsure, use a meat thermometer in the center of the loin cut. The temperature should read 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some recipes will recommend tenting the pork roast. Tenting is when you cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil. This method essentially wet-roasts or braises it, sometimes called "steaming" it.
Tenting can be suitable for some cuts of meat, but if you want a crunchy crust on your roast, then it's best to leave it uncovered. If you notice that the roasted pork is browning too much, you can lightly cover it with aluminum foil. However, do not cover it for the last 5-10 minutes in the oven.
Step 6: Remove Roast and Create Wine Sauce
After removing the pork roast from the oven, transfer it to a serving platter and let it rest.
As it rests, you can create a savory wine sauce using the pan juices from the roast pan. Heat white wine in a pan and stir it to dislodge the bits of food at the bottom. This mixture will create a delicious wine sauce with little effort! (Note: If desired, you can substitute chicken broth for the white wine.)
We recommend using white wine instead of red wine for pork roast. Although most wines behave the same way chemically, they will not have the same flavors after reduction.
We encourage experimentation, but we recommend trying this recipe with white wine. Our top picks for pork roast are either Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. If you opt for red wine, go with a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Remember that as a wine reduces, the flavors will become more pronounced. Keep this in mind when selecting a wine for cooking.
Last Step: Serve!
Cut the roasted pork into strips and spoon the wine sauce over the cutlets. Serve with your desired sides.
Making a delicious and flavorful pork roast in the oven is simple but results in a delightful dish. Once mastered, you can enhance this recipe with more spices and herbs for nearly limitless flavor combinations.
We hope you've enjoyed reading this recipe and have fun recreating it at home with one of our delicious pork boneless loin roasts. Seven Sons Farms truly believes that this is the best pork roast recipe, and we hope you love it, too!