Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple with a good cut of meat, to let the higher quality shine through. My old friends Murray Valley Pork recently gave me some gorgeous pork to play with, so for this loin I decided to do just that and make some delicious honey soy pork. There are a few steps you can take to maximise the results when cooking meat, to stop it being too dry or tough – Murray Valley Pork have taken great care to ensure the product is the best is can be by the time it reaches your kitchen, it would be a shame to not give it justice!
Step one: Start with meat that is properly defrosted. This is a tough thing to do when you are busy – it’s tempting to start cooking the second the microwave dings on the defrost cycle, but if your microwave is anything like mine the middle will still be a bit icy and the outside will have started to cook. So annoying! Cook from fresh or allow to sit in the fridge all day, or at least a few hours, after defrosting.
Step two: Carefully consider the flavours you are using to enhance the meat. I cut cross hatches into the loin to ensure the marinade could get right into the meat and not just sit on the outside of the fat. This helped the honey to not burn, as well.
Step three: Use the correct temperature. Make sure your oven is preheated (something I have not always done!), and think about the size of the meat and how long it will take to cook properly. Too high and the outside will burn while the inside remains raw, not hot enough and the fat won’t crisp.
Step 4: Let it rest. Seriously, it makes all the difference. The meat has endured the hot temperatures of the oven and it’s all tensed up, if you slice it now the juices will run out. If you let it rest and relax a bit, the protein strands will be able to absorb the juices and hold onto them. meaning a more succulent mouthful for you.
Honey Soy Pork
- 125 ml of honey
- 125 ml of regular soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 1 loin of pork, approx 2 kg.
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Pat the pork loin dry with some kitchen towel and place in the baking dish. Using a sharp knife, cut cross hatches into the loin about 2cm apart, deep enough to go through the fat and into the meat a few millimeters, but no more.
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a small jug and microwave for a minute or two to liquefy the honey so that everything can amalgamate properly. pour evenly over the pork and massage into all of the cross hatches to ensure maximum flavour.
- Place in the oven for 20 mins on the top shelf to really crisp up the pork fat, then reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees and place the pork on the bottom shelf of the oven; this will ensure the meat cooks properly. Test with a sharp knife or skewer – if the juices are very pink it might need an extra 10 – 15 minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven.
- Cover the pork with a sheet of aluminium foil and then layer a tea towel over that to keep the pork warm while the it rests. Resting time will depend on the size of the cut – this 2 kg loin rested for about 20 minutes.
- Finally, using that same sharp knife, cut your pork loin into thick slices and devour.
I served this with some steamed vegetables, steamed rice, and a sauce I made that was based on this pepper tofu recipe, without the tofu, that was served on the side.