Whether you are grilling outside on the grill or in the broiler oven, there's nothing quite as tasty as a grilled pork loin. But if you are inexperienced with cooking this particular cut of pork you may have some questions: How long do you grill pork loin per pound? What grilling techniques should I know about? With what shall I flavor the pork? We will address each of these questions and provide you with insightful tips that will help you make the perfect pork loin dinner for your family.
Cooking Time — The Short Answer
The complete answer to the cooking time is a little more involved than simply telling you an amount of time per pound and a temperature to cook this cut of pork and expect it to be done perfectly when the time is up. However, if you were to be given a fairly accurate short answer concerning the cooking time of a pork loin, it would be this: About 22 minutes per pound at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Please understand that there is more to cooking a pork loin than simply pre-heating a grill or an oven to a certain temperature, set the timer, and expect excellent results. Please allow an explanation that will give a little more information before you run off and set the meat on the grill.
The Complete Grilling Procedure
The first thing to do, whether you are cooking on the outdoor grill or in the broiler oven, is to sear each side of the pork loin with high heat. Searing it will help keep in the moisture so you end up with a very tender and juicy cut of pork. Cook the pork loin on direct high heat for about two (2) or three (3) minutes on each side of the pork loin. Sear the lean side first, then the fat side. When turning any meat, do not use a fork as it will puncture the seared surfaces of the meat and allow moisture to escape easily. To preserve the moisture always use a pair of tongs to turn meat.
— On the Grill:
I am among many Americans who love the taste of foods cooked on the outdoor grill. And what better meat to cook on the grill than a pork loin? Most people don't think of cooking a “pork roast” on the grill, and technically a pork loin is a pork roast. But because of its narrow thickness, it is the ideal “pork roast” to cook on the grill.
When grilling, there are common processes to follow regardless of which kind of grill you have.
1. Pre-heat the grill for searing.
2. When grilling on an outdoor grill, turn the meat often to simulate a rotisserie. A pork loin should be turned every few minutes to cook evenly and retain its moisture.
3. In order to preserve the moisture, always use tongs instead of a fork to turn meat.
4. Searing meat requires that it is exposed to direct high heat for two (2) or three (3) minutes on each side.
5. Pieces of meat, such as a pork loin, that are larger than chops or steaks should be cooked on low, indirect heat at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If your grill has vents in the lid, cook the pork with the vents open.
6. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure that the pork loin is between 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit on each end and in the middle. For pork 160 degrees Fahrenheit is medium well and 170 degrees Fahrenheit is well done. Below 160 degrees Fahrenheit you risk food poisoning or worm infection. It is best to check the temperature about 10-15 minutes prior to the completion time so you can make adjustments to the cooking time.
Once the pork has been seared on each side, follow these instructions for various types of grills…
• Charcoal Grill: Separate the charcoal into two (2) piles on either side of the grill to allow the pork loin to be laid between them.
• Gas Grill – Two Elements: Lay a piece of aluminum foil across the middle between the two elements and lay the pork loin on the aluminum foil. Cook on low heat.
• Gas Grill – Three or More Elements: Turn off the inner elements and allow only the outer two elements to cook on low heat. Lay the pork loin half way between the operating elements.
— In the Broiler Oven:
In the cold weather of winter you may not want to do any outdoor grilling. When using a broiler oven you should follow similar procedures as grilling on an outdoor grill. Always use tongs instead of a fork to turn meat. And a meat thermometer should be used to be sure that the pork loin is between 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit on each end and in the middle. For pork 160 degrees Fahrenheit is medium well and 170 degrees Fahrenheit is well done. Below 160 degrees Fahrenheit you risk food poisoning or worm infection. It is best to check the temperature about 10-15 minutes prior to the completion time so you can make adjustments to the cooking time.
1. Pre-heat the broiler and broiling pan for 15 minutes. If your broiler has multiple heat setting, then set to high broil.
2. Set the pork loin on the broiling pan fat side up to sear for three (3) minutes.
3. Turn the pork to fat side down to sear for another three (3) minutes.
4. Turn off the broiler and turn on the oven. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the broiling pan, fat side down, for the remainder of the time.
5. Make sure to check the inner temperature with the meat thermometer at both ends and in the middle about 15 minutes prior to completion of cooking time in order to avoid over cooking.
— Rotisserie Oven:
Interestingly enough the pork loin will come out more tender and juicy when cooked in a rotisserie than either the outdoor grill or broiler oven. A meat thermometer should still be used to be sure that the pork loin is between 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit on each end and in the middle. For pork 160 degrees Fahrenheit is medium well and 170 degrees Fahrenheit is well done. Below 160 degrees Fahrenheit you risk food poisoning or worm infection. It is best to check the temperature about 10-15 minutes prior to the completion time so you can make adjustments to the cooking time.
Because the rotisserie cooks meat faster than either the outdoor grill or the broiler oven, you may need to reduce the cooking time to about 18 or 20 minutes per pound. It is still recommended to use a meat thermometer. However, because the rotisserie automatically sears all sides of the meat there is no need to sear the pork.
Let It Stand
For juicier, tenderer pork loin, when the pork loin has finished cooking let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
A pork loin can be marinated in your favorite flavor marinade in the refrigerator overnight. You will likely find marinades at any supermarket. If you marinate in the refrigerator overnight, you'll need to puncture the meat several times to allow the marinade to soak into the meat. Follow the instructions on the package of marinade.
Many cooks prefer to use a dry seasoning rub. Seasoning your pork loin is as easy as liberally coating with season salt, garlic powder, and pepper, then rubbing the seasoning into the meat. You can also place the seasoned meat into a plastic bag and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
There are also injection methods of marinating that would NOT require overnight marinating. In addition to injection marinating, there are also methods of injecting solid objects such as chopped garlic, chopped onions, or chopped pineapple.
If you prefer sweeter pork, apple sauce or apple butter (or even pineapple puree) can be injected into the meat of the pork loin. Or a slit can be made down the middle of the pork meat and the apple sauce or apple butter (or pineapple) can be inserted and the pork tied with string every one (1) or two (2) inches according to how you will cut the pork loin when it is done cooking.
In this article we have discussed the answers to questions such as: How long do you grill pork loin per pound? What grilling techniques should I know about? How shall I flavor the meat? If grilled properly a pork loin with all the trimmings will make a wonderful and delicious meal that your family will absolutely love.