Pork roast has always been one of my favorites. However, pigs nowdays are raised to be leaner than they were twenty years ago, so cooking a succulent pork roast is challenging, especially if you’re thinking about restricting saturated fat to keep things South Beach Diet friendly. In the past my instinct would have been to trim off most of the fat, but on a pork loin roast like this (a cut of pork that’s approved for South Beach) I urge you to leave most of the fat so the finished roast won’t be too dry. Then if you’re seriously trying to follow South Beach, when you eat the roast, cut off the fat and don’t eat it (a good diet tip for any piece of meat!)
Besides not trimming the fat too aggressively, the main thing that helped me cook this pork so it was juicy and not overdone was the Polder Meat Thermometer I got for my birthday from Elise, one of the best cooks in the food blog world. This fantastic thermometer has a probe that stays in the meat while it’s in the oven, attached to a display unit outside the oven which beeps when the meat reaches the temperature you’ve set. I’ve made pork roast with two different herb rubs since Elise sent me the thermometer, perfect both times. (Thanks Elise!) If you don’t have this type of meat thermometer, you can use any type of instant read meat thermometer, but you’ll have to be more vigilant about watching the roast.
This was a boneless pork loin roast, a little over two pounds, which was the perfect size for me to cook in my toaster oven. I trimmed just one large patch of fat on the underneath side of the meat, leaving plenty of fat, then cut diagonal slits across the top so the rub would penetrate a bit more. (See recipe for two rub options I tried.)
Here’s the roast with the thermometer in use even before the roast goes in the oven, since you want to let the meat come to room temperature (at least 60F/15C) before you start roasting it. Be sure the probe is not touching the pan when you put it in the roast.
Pork Roast with Sage or Rosemary Herb Rub
(The roast in these photos was just over two pounds and made six generous servings. Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.)
Remove pork roast from refrigerator and trim only very large pieces of fat, leaving most of the fat on the roast. Cut diagonal slits across the top of the roast, then rub all sides of roast, first with olive oil, then with Sage, Rosemary, and Garlic Herb Rub or Rosemary and Garlic Herb Rub. (The sage rub has a much stronger flavor, so unless you really like sage I would use the rosemary rub. The rosemary rub has much more salt, so be careful not to use too much if you use that one. With either rub, use a bit more if your roast is larger.)
Preheat oven to 450F/230C while pork comes to room temperature (at least 60F/30C.) (If you have the Polder thermometer, insert and use to check the temperature of the roast. If using instant read thermometer, keep checking until roast reaches room temperature.)
When meat is room temperature, put roast in oven and cook 15 minutes. Then lower heat to 325 and roast until meat thermometer shows a temperature of 145F/63C. Roasting time will be about 25 minutes per pound, but for best results use a thermometer to tell when to remove the roast, not the time.
When roast has reached 145F/63C, remove from oven and let meat rest 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve hot. The second time I made pork roast like this I ate it with Elise’s Horseradish Sauce, a great flavor combination with the pork.
The South Beach Diet limits saturated fat, but pork loin roast and pork tenderloin are permitted (information from The South Beach Diet Supercharged, which has an expanded list of food choices compared to earlier books.) Pork roast cooked this way is great for any phase of the diet.