Buying Bulk: Whole Pork Loin

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:

  1. 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.

    Rinse the loin well and pat dry before transferring to a cutting board.

    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.

  2. Transfer loin to a cutting board and get out a big, sharp knife.
  3. Trim most of the fat from the loin. There usually isn’t much.

    Trimming fat from ends

  4. 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.

    Cut loin in half.

    Cutting roasts

    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.

    Butterflied Chops

    Cutting stir-fry meat from thinner end of pork loin. This meat is also good for stew and chili.

  5. 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.

    I used cereal box linings to package this meat.

  6. Label and date each package and freeze right away.

    Packaged and Ready for the Freezer

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

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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