The versatility of pork loin is underrated. Sure, it serves as the perfect centerpiece for all sorts of occasions—a dinner party, the holidays, or a Sunday night meal. But pork loin is also good for leftovers—so good that I suggest you set out to create these leftovers intentionally. Just roast a large pork loin, serve some of it for a dressy dinner one night and then turn the rest into a stew, sandwiches, and a stir-fry on subsequent nights. I’m not new to this formula of making extra food to serve as the base for future meals—I wrote a whole book on roasted chicken and how to use its leftovers. But like chicken, the other white meat also shines in later go-rounds. All you need to do is buy more pork than you might for just one meal (a 4-pound boneless loin or two 2-pound loins will do). And while you’re at the market, don’t forget to pick up the supporting ingredients for the following nights’ meals. Then roast the pork and feed off your not-so-hard work.
Buy a whole pork loin
While most markets carry boneless pork loins, they’re often sold as half loins, weighing about 2 lb. But for even cooking, try to get a whole loin. The loin may have an outer layer of fat and gristle, which imparts flavor during roasting. It’s best to remove this layer, however, when preparing leftovers.
Brine the pork loin before roasting for a juicy texture.
The biggest problem with pork loin is that it can become remarkably dry. You’ve probably heard the sad story before: Today’s pork is bred to be lean, which makes for tricky roasting. To counteract this dryness, I soak the pork in a brine—a liquid solution of salt and sugar. This step takes minimal effort, and it’s worth it. Just set the pork in a mixture of apple cider (or juice), garlic, and thyme as you’re heading out the door to work, and when you return, the meat will have picked up some juiciness and a healthy punch of flavor.