A French cut loin of pork refers to a specific way of butchering and preparing a pork loin. The French cut results in a boneless pork loin roast that has had the belly, ribs, and other bones removed. This leaves a cylindrical shape with the meat and fat still intact, ideal for roasting.
What part of the pig does a French cut loin come from?
The pork loin comes from the back of the pig, extending from the shoulder to the leg. It runs along the backbone and includes the ribs and belly. When fabricating a whole pig, the loin is one of the larger primal or wholesale cuts.
To produce a French cut loin, the butcher removes the backbone, ribs, belly, and other bones from the loin primal. This leaves just the eye of meat that runs along the back, covered with a layer of fat on top.
What is the difference between a regular and French cut pork loin?
The main difference is that a regular pork loin contains part of the belly and ribs still attached. This leaves bones throughout the roast. A French cut loin has all the bones removed for a boneless roast.
Here are some more differences:
- Shape: A regular pork loin is flatter and wider. A French cut is cylindrical and round.
- Bones: A regular loin contains bones. A French cut is totally boneless.
- Fat content: A French cut typically has more external fat since the belly is left on.
- Preparation: A regular loin takes more trimming and carving. A French cut is easier to cook and serve.
What are the benefits of buying a French cut pork loin?
There are several advantages to purchasing a French cut pork loin roast:
- Minimal waste – With all bones removed, you get more edible meat per pound.
- Easy carving – No bones makes it simpler to slice and serve.
- Faster cooking – The cylindrical shape cooks evenly.
- Juicier meat – The external fat bastes the meat while roasting.
- kid-friendly – Boneless roasts are safer and easier for kids to eat.
- Versatility – French cut loins can be stuffed, rolled, tied, or left plain.
How much does a French cut pork loin usually weigh?
French cut loin roasts are available in a range of sizes. Here are some typical weights you can find at the grocery store:
|Small||1.5 – 2.5 lbs|
|Medium||3 – 4 lbs|
|Large||5 – 7 lbs|
|Extra large||8+ lbs|
In general, figure about 1/2 pound of bone-in loin per person, or 1/3 pound of boneless. A 3-4 pound French cut roast serves 6-8 people.
What is the best way to cook a French cut pork loin?
Roasting is ideal for French cut loin. The cylindrical shape cooks evenly in the dry heat of the oven. Here are cooking tips:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Season loin all over with salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Place fat side up on a roasting pan, rack, or sheet tray.
- Roast for 50-60 minutes until 145°F internal temperature.
- Rest loin for 10 minutes before slicing into medallions.
Cooking to an internal temperature of 145°F ensures the pork reaches a safe, juicy medium doneness. Monitor with a meat thermometer for best results.
Other cooking methods
While roasting is ideal, a French cut loin can be prepared using other techniques as well:
- Grilling – Grill over indirect heat, turning occasionally, until 145°F internal temperature.
- Smoking – Smoke at 225-250°F to an internal temp of 145°F.
- Sous vide – Cook sealed in water bath at 145°F for 1-4 hours.
- Braising – Brown loin then braise in liquid for 2-3 hours until fork tender.
What are some ways to stuff a French cut pork loin?
Thetunnel in the center of a French cut roast is perfect for filling with flavorful ingredients. Try these creative stuffing ideas:
- Apple and sage – Sautéed apples, onions, sage, and breadcrumbs.
- Sun-dried tomato and spinach – With garlic, cheese, and pine nuts.
- Prosciutto and fig – Wrapped in prosciutto and filled with figs.
- Sausage and corn – Cooked breakfast sausage and corn bread.
- Cherry and almond – Dried cherries, almonds, shallots, and rice.
After stuffing, tie roast at 2-inch intervals to secure filling. Cook as usual until minimum internal temperature reaches 145°F.
What are some ways to prepare a French cut pork loin?
A French cut roast offers versatility to be prepared beyond just roasting plain. Here are more preparation ideas:
- Marinate – Soak loin in mojo, chimichurri, or Greek yogurt marinade before cooking.
- Season – Rub with spice blends like jerk, barbecue, or coffee rub.
- Roll – Pound flat then roll up with veggies, cheese, or fruit inside.
- Tie – Truss roast for a uniform shape; easier to cook and slice.
- Bacon wrap – Wrap in bacon to keep meat moist and add smoky flavor.
Let the roast come to room temperature before cooking for most even heating. Grill, bake, or smoke as usual.
What are the best side dishes for pork loin?
The versatile mild flavor of pork loin pairs well with many side dishes. Consider these tasty accompaniments:
- Roasted potatoes or root vegetables
- Rice pilaf or risotto
- Quinoa or farro salad
- Sauteed spinach, kale, or green beans
- Roasted Brussels sprouts or broccoli
- Sweet potatoes or butternut squash
- Stone fruit compote or sautéed apples
- Dinner rolls, biscuits, or cornbread
For a complete meal, choose 1-2 vegetable sides and a starch. A bright citrus salad or cooked fruit compote also balances the richness of the pork.
What are some recipe ideas using a French cut pork loin?
From elegant entrees to family-friendly meals, a French cut loin is versatile for all occasions. Try these recipe ideas:
- Honey garlic roast pork – Roasted with honey, garlic, and thyme.
- Cuban mojo pork – Marinated in a mojo criollo marinade.
- Porchetta – Seasoned with Italian herbs and fennel, then rolled and roasted.
- Apricot stuffed pork loin – Stuffed with apricots, shallots, parsley, and rosemary.
- Pork medallions – Pan seared medallions with a pan sauce.
- Pork saltimbocca – Topped with prosciutto, sage, and mozzarella.
For ease, choose recipes labeled specifically for boneless or French cut pork loin. This ensures the cook time and seasoning is tailored to this cut.
How should you store fresh and cooked French cut pork loin?
Properly storing pork prevents waste and keeps it safe to eat. Follow these guidelines:
- Fresh – Store fresh loin sealed in fridge for 3-5 days. Freeze for 2-3 months in freezer bag.
- Cooked – Refrigerate cooked pork for 3-4 days. Slice pork, then freeze in portions for 2-3 months.
- Reheating – Reheat cooked pork loin to 165°F. Use broth or sauce to prevent dry meat.
When reheating, bring the internal temperature up to 165°F to kill any bacteria that may have developed. Avoid letting raw or cooked pork sit out for more than 2 hours.
With its cylindrical shape, juicy meat, and lack of bones, the French cut pork loin roast offers convenience and full pork flavor. Roasting it whole highlights the succulent meat perfumed with herb seasoning and external fat. Taking the time to source a French cut rewards you with a centerpiece entree that feeds a crowd with little fuss. With minimal preparation needed, all you have to do is simply season, roast, and slice for an elegant and tasty main course pork dish.