Pork loin - to brine or not to brine?

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Brine will definitely help the loin retain moisture, otherwise they can end up a bit dry. Suggest you try using kosher salt 1/2-3/4c and 8oz molasses dissolved in 2 quarts of water and brine for 8-12 hours. If the loin is 'moisture enhanced' then back off the salt to 1/2 cup max.
 
Your finished temp is more important than anything else. 145F is the goal. I never have moisture problems when cooking to that level. Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Pork Loin with Lemon Pepper and Caper Sauce

  • 1 center cut pork loin
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Lemon pepper

Caper Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup diced capers
  • 5 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. fresh dill, or ½ Tbs. dried dill
  • S&P to taste

  • Heat smoker to 250F
  • Rub loin with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with Kosher salt
  • Shake on a generous amount of lemon pepper
  • Add loin to smoker and cook to an internal temp of 140-145F, about 2.5 hours
  • Let rest for 10-15 minutes
  • While loin is cooking, mix together caper sauce – you can blend together in a blender, adding capers last and pulsing only a few times

Serve loin with sauce on the side. Side dishes include sweet potatoes, fried squash, green beans, creamed spinach, cheesy corn with chili, and scalloped potatoes.
 
Agree with Steve H Steve H on pretreating loin, but probably not tenderloin.

Plenty of folks like their more traditional wet brine approach, but I'm a big believer in dry-brining. I find it better all around. Put a light dusting* of salt on all the exposed meat (can skip fat caps or any other parts likely to be trimmed later), coat with dry rub if you like, let it sit in the fridge on a wire rack over a rimmed cooking sheet/pan for at least an hour or two, or as much as overnight, before cooking.

[ * - actual quantity determined by meat type & size]
 
Your finished temp is more important than anything else. 145F is the goal. I never have moisture problems when cooking to that level. Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Pork Loin with Lemon Pepper and Caper Sauce

  • 1 center cut pork loin
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Lemon pepper

Caper Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup diced capers
  • 5 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. fresh dill, or ½ Tbs. dried dill
  • S&P to taste

  • Heat smoker to 250F
  • Rub loin with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with Kosher salt
  • Shake on a generous amount of lemon pepper
  • Add loin to smoker and cook to an internal temp of 140-145F, about 2.5 hours
  • Let rest for 10-15 minutes
  • While loin is cooking, mix together caper sauce – you can blend together in a blender, adding capers last and pulsing only a few times

Serve loin with sauce on the side. Side dishes include sweet potatoes, fried squash, green beans, creamed spinach, cheesy corn with chili, and scalloped potatoes.
Definitely most important. There are people who dont know the guidelines have changed for pork doneness. It's OK...actually preferable to see pink in the center of a loin. Then you have people like my mom, growing up in "the holler" where they never dared eat any meat with pink in it. It just weirds her out. When I cook a deer tenderloin, I am angry at myself if it's beyond med-rare. When she cooks one, its in a cooking bag with a can of cream of mushroom soup in the oven until its tender...again...because it was tender when she started! Tastes fine but what a horrible way to treat such a special and rarely obtained piece of venison!

I'm definitely trying that caper sauce, but those must be huge capers if they need to be diced! The ones I buy are so small even just one bias cut would be considered "minced". Love capers though and reminds me again its time to makes some lemon chicken piccatta.
 
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Definitely most important. There are people who dont know the guidelines have changed for pork doneness. It's OK...actually preferable to see pink in the center of a loin. Then you have people like my mom, growing up in "the holler" where they never dared eat any meat with pink in it. It just weirds her out. When I cook a deer tenderloin, I am angry at myself if it's beyond med-rare. When she cooks one, its in a cooking bag with a can of cream of mushroom soup in the oven until its tender...again...because it was tender when she started! Tastes fine but what a horrible way to treat such a special and rarely obtained piece of venison!

I'm definitely trying that caper sauce, but those must be huge capers if they need to be diced! The ones I buy are so small even just one bias cut would be considered "minced". Love capers though and reminds me again its time to makes some lemon chicken piccatta.

Yeah, I just toss out the capers on the cutting board and give a quick chop. I wish I could find a brand that has tiny capers.
 
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