Buying Bulk: Whole Pork Loin
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Whole pork loin was on sale at the local grocery store recently for less than the sale price of chicken breasts. I paid $1.79 per pound. I always try to get my meat for less than a couple of dollars a pound (and often far less as when I buy turkey and ham near the Easter and Christmas holidays). Usually red meat costs more—so we eat less red meat and wait for really good sales. I really hated it when the inexpensive “tough” beef cuts became fashionable. Now I can’t afford to buy flank and skirt steaks unless I’m bulk buying a split half of an entire animal!
Don’t be intimidated by a big slab o’ meat. A whole pork loin is one of the easiest to handle:
Clean your sink and get out your trusty kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Usually, whole loins come in a plastic bag, so just put the whole loin in the sink, snip the bag, drain the juices into the sink, and dispose of the bag after noting the total weight of the loin.
Transfer loin to a cutting board and get out a big, sharp knife.
Trim most of the fat from the loin. There usually isn’t much.
Cut the loin in half and then cut the roasts, remembering the total weight. You should be able to get 3 or 4 two-pound roasts out of the average loin plus a pound or two of stir fry meat from the thinner, fattier end.
Wrap the meat in freezer paper with the waxed side in, or use freezer bags or the empty inner bags in which breakfast cereal is packaged. Seal with masking or freezer tape.
Label and date each package and freeze right away.
I leave the roasts whole. It gives me more leeway in how I will use the meat later. A roast may ultimately become chops or fajita, stew, chili, or stir fry meat. I do, however, cut up the end of the loin because the meat is laced with fat, but there is still a lot of good meat there. I usually package this part of the loin as already-cut-up stir fry meat.
Be sure to take advantage of the next good deal on “the other white meat.” Begonia
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Preparing the Loin for Cutting
Clean the sink.
Put the packaged loin in the sink. (You want it contained when you open it; otherwise, the fluid around the meat will make a BIG mess.)
You will need a kitchen shears or sharp knife to open the packaging--space age plastic!
The loin should slip out easily.
Rinse the loin well and pat dry before transferring to a cutting board.
Cutting up the Loin
Be sure to check the poundage on the packaging label so you will have a rough idea of what each half of the loin will weigh and approximately how many two- or three-pound roasts you will be able to cut from it.
Trim the extra fat from the roast. How much fat you leave depends on your personal taste.
I start by cutting the roast in half. One end is thinner than the other, so I push the loin together so it is mostly one thickness before I make my first cut.
I find it easiest to cut my roasts first.
The thin end of the loin becomes chili, stew, or stir fry meat. First, I trim the fat from the interior.
Then I cut it into bite-size pieces.
Making Butterfly Chops
I had one piece of meat after cutting the roasts that was too nice to cut into stew meat, so I decided to cut it into chops to grill for supper!
Ready for Grilling
Loin Ready for Freezing and Eating
Packaging the Loin
Ready for the Freezer
I used cereal box linings to package this meat. (Note: My stir fry meat is mislabeled! To err is human. . . .)
My Constant Companion
Our "house puma" Bert the Snert is always at his most charming whenever I am cutting up meat!
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