February 2, 2021

Purchasing Meat and Game / Garlic & Mixed Herbs flavoured Roasted Boneless Pork Loin


Like all girls, I love shopping! I know, everyone must be thinking what's a wonder in this ;) Wait!

Yes! I love shopping but to be more precise, I love grocery shopping especially purchasing vegetables and meat. The fresh look of vegetables and the lovely color of fresh meat are always feast to my eyes and gives immense happiness while shopping. After moving to Canada, I started exploring different varieties of meat especially beef and pork as it was not available in my hometown as fresh as we get here. I was totally amazed by the varieties of cuts available in the market. So far I have tried few curry recipes using beef and pork, Wahan Mosdeng, pork belly, and baby rack ribs. I am glad that I was able to try a delicious roast using boneless pork loin for this assignment and it also, helped me to understand more about pork and its cooking methods. 

Pork is the culinary name of the domestic pig. Pork is derived from the french word "Porc" and Latin Porcus meaning "Pig". There is always a lot of confusion between pig and hog. Though both belong to the same family. A hog means a domestic pig that weighs more than 120 lbs. Pigs are also known as swine. Pigs are the first animal domesticated in China and then, Asian farmers brought them to Europe. Domestic pigs and hogs are fed feed of grains like corn, wheat, soy, and barley. And in some small farms, slop is also served as their feed which is nothing but the mixture of grains and produces like vegetable peels, fruits, rinds, and leftover foods. 

Pigs were brought to Canada in 1598 by a French nobleman and it was the most popular meat of early settlers. Those days, the pork is preserved in brine to use as a meat source during long winters. Canada is among the top 10 pork producers and the other major producers are China, Eu, the US, Brazil, Vietnam, and Russia. There are 5 main swine breeds available in Canada and they are the following. 

Yorkshire pigs originated from England 

Landrace pigs originated from Scandinavia

Duroc pigs originated from the US

Hampshire pigs are developed in Kentucky and imported from Hampshire in England 

Lacombe developed in Canada

The market hogs are grown to a weight of 120 - 150 lbs and then slaughtered. Slaughtered animals must be disease free and inspected by the government. Every meat is inspected and graded but pork is not graded like the other meats are done. The grading system is a concern for the pork producers which helps them to determine the price of the packs. After slaughtering, the hogs are split down into halves. And each side of the hog is further divided into primal cuts. 

Pork is classified as "Livestock" along with beef, lamb, and veal. All livestock is considered red meat. Pork is also considered as Red meat because of the large myoglobin level. Myoglobin is a protein found in the muscle cells of animals. The amount of myoglobin in animal muscles determines the color of meat. When fresh meat is cooked, it becomes lighter in color. 

Usually, I buy meat products from Whole Foods grocery store as I was not aware of any butchery shop nearby. I find their meat products very fresh. I visited Wholefoods last week for this assignment to spend some good time understanding the varieties of cuts. It was totally a great experience and learning. I have visited much time to the same place earlier but never spent time in the butchery section. When I requested to click pictures, they generously granted permission and I am really, thankful to them. 

Wholefood Pork products meet Meat department standards and they are Animal welfare certified. The animal is raised without hormone supplement, gestation crate-free with proper housing. 

Spruceeats. (2020). Cuts of Pork: a Pig Diagram and Pork Chart [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/pig-diagram-and-pork-chart-995306

Pork is divided into large sections called primal cuts. These cuts are broken down further into smaller cuts which are usually available in grocery stores.  The primal cuts of pork are Boston butt, Blade Boston shoulder, Loin, Leg (ham), Pork side, Spare ribs, pork jowl, and pork foot.  

Pork Boston Butt 

This cut comes from the upper shoulder of the hog and consists of parts of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm as their parts. This portion is a moderately tough cut of pork and has a good deal of connective tissues. The section of fat which is available above the Boston butt is called clear plate or fatback which is used for making lard or added to sausage or ground pork. 

Cooking method: This cut is suited for braising and stewing. 

Pork Shoulder:

Pork shoulder is also called a picnic shoulder. It includes the front leg. The shoulder can be sold whole and also in cuts. This has a tough cut and frequently cured or smoked. This is also used for making ground pork or sausage meat. 

Cooking method: It can be pan-fried, roasted, and braised. 

Loin: Hogs had extra long loins compared to other meats. It has 17 ribs while meat and lamb had 13 ribs. The entire loin can be roasted or cut into individual chops or cutlets. Usually many of them get confused with Loin and Tenderloin but both are completely different. Tenderloin is taken from the rear of the pork loin. Baby back ribs come from the upper ribcage of the loin. The section of fat which is available above the loin is fatback which is used for making lard, salt pork, or added to sausage. 

Cooking method: Roasted, Braised, and Pan-fried.

Leg / Ham: 

The back leg of the hog is where we get fresh, smoked, or cured hams. Serrano ham and prosciutto are made from hams and are usually cured, smoked, and air-dried. The fresh hams can also be roasted or cut into ham steaks. 

Hamhock is taken from the joint at the shank end of the ham where it joins the foot. 

Cooking method: Hamhock is braised 

Pork side: 

This is also called pork belly. Pancetta and bacon come from this part of the cut. This can be rolled and roasted or even cut into steaks. It has tougher muscle, fatty, and very flavorful.  

Cooking method: Braising, Grilling, and Roasting. 

Spare ribs: 

This part of the cut is taken from the belly side of the ribs where they can join the breast bone and spare ribs. 

Cooking method: grilling very slowly at a low temperature and also can be braised. 

Pork Jowl: 

Pork jowl is a cut of pork from a pig's cheek. They can be used as fresh or cured. The smoked or cured pork jowl is known as jowl bacon. This part is used for making sausages. It can also be cured and made into bacon. 

Cooking method: Grilled or Roasted 

Pork foot: 

This part has an excellent source of gelatin.

Cooking method: Braised. A long, slow simmering method helps to break down the connective tissue in the pork foot and also tenderizes the meat. 

Gordan, S. (2013). Pork cuts [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/pulled-pork-bbq-in-the-oven-recipe/

The cut which I have chosen for this assignment is Loin. Loin cut runs from shoulder to the leg. Pork loin is the muscle that runs along the back between the back fat and the ribs. If the butcher does not remove the backbone or rib bones, then the pork roast is sold as a pork crown roast or rack of ribs. The loin is mostly consumed fresh and the processed ones are made into peameal bacon or Canadian bacon. Peameal bacon is wet-cured, unsmoked back bacon made from the trimmed lean boneless pork loin rolled in cornmeal. Canadian bacon is fully cooked, cured, and smoked bacon made from the boneless loin. The loin is the most tender of all pork products. The loin is a wide, rectangular cut of pork that is usually sold as a boneless roast or bone-in roast. It is the tender part of the pork and excellent for dry-heat cooking methods. 


There is always confusion between Pork loin and pork tenderloin. Pork loin is wide and thick with a suitable fat cap running along the top of pork while the tenderloin is narrow and thin. Pork tenderloin has either little fat or no fat. Pork loin can be cooked quickly and at high temperatures. 

The color of the pork loin is light-colored pink which turns to pale pink or white when it gets cooked. The fat keeps the meat moist while cooking. The pork loin is further divided into 4 parts. Blade end, center rib, center loin, and sirloin end. The dark-colored muscle is called the blade end. The sirloin does not have darker muscles. In this recipe, I have used center loin. The boneless loin can be roasted as a whole or can be broken down into pieces. 


Reason for selecting Pork loin: I have tried baby rack ribs for barbequing during summer and also tried some regular small pork cuts for curry but never tried the tender part of the meat, pork loin. Every time, I see the big lovely pink colored meat in the shop, I used to wonder about the cooking method and time. So for this assignment, I took a chance to try this part of the meat. 

The price of the center pork loin that I purchased was $22.24. The unit price of the meat was $22.02 per kg. It is expensive than other cuts of meat but I feel it is really worth the money as many different varieties of dishes can be made either with fresh or cooked meat. The whole boneless loin can be roasted or cut into small pieces. I roasted the whole loin and effectively used the leftover roasted pieces by preparing fried rice and stir fry sauce. 

Cooking Method of Loin: grilling, pan-frying, and roasting. Rib chip, center-cut chops, tenderloin, stuffed pork chops can be pan-fried. Rib roast, boneless sirloin, butterflied loin roast can be roasted. Baby back ribs can be braised. 

When tender cut meats are cooked by using the dry heat method, it results in tender and juicy products. The less tender meats should be cooked for a longer time by the moist method to soften the connective tissues. 

Coming to the recipe using pork loin, Garlic & mixed herbs flavored boneless pork loin is delicious roasted meat with a juicy center. After referring to so many recipes on the internet, I came up with my own marinate which I usually use for grilled chicken. My family loves garlic flavor so I have included it in my rub. All the ingredients were grounded in a mortar and pestle and then used as a rub. Since I love using mortar and pestle, I have used it in this recipe but alternatively, the blender can be used.  Personally, I believe that mortar and pestle bring the flavor out beautifully and blend well.                         

Ingredients needed for this recipe: 

Meat: The meat I have used in this recipe is the Boneless pork loin center part. 

Herbs: I have used 5 varieties of dried herbs in this recipe. The same can be substituted with all-purpose spices or mixed herbs. 

Garlic: I have used around 4 -5 garlic pods. Peel the garlic, trim the ends and use the pods. 

Spices: I have used smoked paprika in this recipe for the flavor which can be substituted with cayenne or regular chili powder. Adjust the quantity according to the taste bud. 

Seasoning: I have used kosher salt in this recipe. It can also be replaced with regular salt. 

Oil: I have used olive oil in this recipe. ( not extra virgin oil ). The same can be substituted with regular oil. 


1 Boneless Pork Loin 

4-5 Garlic pods, peeled 

11/2 Tsp Smoked paprika 

1/2 Tsp Basil, dried 

1/2 Tsp Thyme, dried 

1/2 Tsp Rosemary, dried 

1/2 Tsp Oregano, dried 

1/2 Tsp Parsely, dried 

Kosher salt 

2 Tbsp Olive oil 

Equipment Required: 

Twine for trussing

Cast iron 


Mortar and pestle 

Thermometer to check the internal temperature


Pre-heat the oven at 375'F. 

Clean the pork loin and truss it using twine. 

Add garlic pods in a mortar and pestle and crush it. 

Add the remaining ingredients ( smoked paprika and all herbs) and ground it using olive oil.  

Place the trussed pork loin in a cast iron. Gently massage the ground mixture and add kosher salt. 

Place the seasoned pork loin in an oven and bake it for 60 minutes or until it reaches the internal temperature of 140'F. Remove from the oven and rest it for 5-10 minutes which helps to reach the temperature 145'F. This is called carryover cooking. The safe internal pork temperature is 145'F. 


Slice and serve with the gravy.

Serving Options: 

Serve with gravy or hot sauce and salad. 

Cross Contamination: 

Any type of raw meat can have harmful germs so it is always important to be cautious while handling them. Important measures should be taken while handling, cleaning, and cooking meat. Always wash your hands, cutting boards, and knives before and after the usage of meat. Place meat and vegetables separately to avoid cross-contamination. Never place cooked meat in the same place where meat has kept. All these methods should be followed to prevent illness. 

Critical points: 

Internal temperature is one of the critical points to remember while cooking meat. Each variety of meat has an internal temperature. For pork, the internal temperature is 145'F. The best way to check the internal temperature is by using a food thermometer. Always wash and wipe the thermometer after use. The next comes a resting time which is also mandatory. Remove the pork once it reaches 140'F and let it rest for 10 minutes. Because of the carry-over cooking, the temperature rises to 145'F.  Carry-over cooking is the process that occurs as food continues to cook after being removed from the oven or grill. Temperature plays a key role in cooking. Always cook to the recommended temperature as overcooking turns the meat tough and dry. 


The Garlic and mixed herbs roasted boneless pork loin tasted very delicious. The color of the meat turned from pink to brown. The top of the roast had a lovely golden brown color. The center of the meat was moist and juicy. I served roasted pork loin with a hot sauce and salad which complimented the roast well.

Health benefits of Pork: 

Pork is an excellent source of protein. It is naturally low in sodium and also provides vitamins and minerals. 


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Spruceeats. (2020). Cuts of Pork: a Pig Diagram and Pork Chart [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/pig-diagram-and-pork-chart-995306

Gordan, S. (2013). Pork cuts [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/pulled-pork-bbq-in-the-oven-recipe/

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