Can anyone offer guidance on cooking big center cut pork loins?

I bought a couple of 10 lb center cut pork loins as soon as I ordered my Anova precision cooker. I can’t seem to find any guidance on cooking a larger pork loin. Most recipes are for pork tenderloin and I’m not sure how to adapt the cook times for larger pork loin.

The Anova app and Recipe site have quite a few recipes for Pork loin. Most of them are boneless. Are your nice big lumps of pork bone in or out?

I’ll preface this by saying I haven’t tried any of these recipes, but here are a few:

Sous vide pork loin
Stuffed pork loin
Molasses glazed pork loin
Bacon wrapped pork loin
Herb crusted pork loin

If your pork is bone in you’d probably need to bone it out yourself, not a task everyone feels comfortable with. A good boning knife is essential.

Are you able to give us an approximate dimension for your pork? I know you said 10lb, but sous vide is about time at temperature. Dimension will help us work out how long the piece will take to reach temperature equilibrium. With this information in hand there is a better chance that we’ll be able to provide you with helpful information for your current dilemma.

Joe, as you have noticed that there’s no SV cooking guidance readily available for pork loins that might be a subtle hint. Most beginners start with something smaller, chicken breast, steak, even a pork chop.

Let’s start with a few basics. Pork Tenderloin and Pork Loin are from the same neighbourhood on a pig, but any similarity ends there. Your consideration of adapting a pork tenderloin recipe to one for pork loin will be problematic as they are usually cooked at substantially different temperatures.
And you have two of them.

You have considered how you are going to vacuum package them. Check.
You have a vessel that will accommodate them with ample water. Check.
You have the better part of a day to prepare and cook them. Check.
(You can cook them overnight.)
You have first tested your new Anova by operating it in a sufficiently deep pot of water and let it come up to 150F and settle there for an hour at a constant temperature. Check.
(You don’t want to discover you have a flawed instrument when you have a considerable amount of pork just sitting there treading water in front of you. Now what?)

Would you like to re-consider cutting the loins into nice thick pork chops that using your new Anova will cook up deliciously moist and tender? There’s ample recipes available for pork chops.

Or have you perused any of Ember’s recipe suggestions? I’d start there after thinking about what degree of doneness you expect in your pork loin. Always plan your cooking with the outcome expected firmly set in your mind and then work backwards to take the steps necessary to achieve it.

I also completely agree with Ember’s recommendation to bone your pork loins as sharp bone ends can puncture plastic and and they add considerably to the thickness of the items you are cooking and thus the time required. You can use a sharp chef’s knife as you will be going down a pretty straight road on a pork loin.

Here’s how:
Set the thick end of the loin down on your cutting board, bone ends facing up, and starting at the loin’s end away from you cut downwards using long blade-length strokes. Let your knife do the work. Keep your hand holding the meat away from the knife. Leave ample meat on the bones as you cut so you end up with a couple of meaty spare rib racks for future consideration. They can be packaged and frozen.

If none of those recipes from Ember appeal, and you are absolutely set against pork chops, come on back and i will give you some specific guidance. However, you need to do some work first.

You are embarking on a very new and different cooking technique with your Anova and it will require you to abandon a lot of your conventional cooking thinking and practices. Do the work and you will be delighted with your results.

Thanks for the response Ember. The pork loins I have are boneless. I looked at a lot recipes prior to posting my original question. Unfortunately, the cook time and temperature varied quite a bit from recipe to recipe. So, I got a little nervous.

In your response you ask for the approximate dimensions of the pork loin. I suspect it is 2 1/2 to 3 ft long. I’m not opposed to cutting the loin into smaller chunks. Is there a formula that can determine a cook time based upon the size of the meat and the amount of water it is sitting in?

Thanks for your response Chatnoir. As it is the beginning of tax season, I am mainly interested in cooking a lot of meat all at once. I think that I am likely to use a lot more food saver bag material if I cut this into chops prior to cooking it.

I’ve, just recently, done a 3lb chunk of pork loin in a SV cook.

It was the last, about, 8 inches from the “thick” end of the loin, where there is a little more fat/connective tissue, but the silverskin removed. As this was my first crack at a large hunk of loin I did not add any seasonings of any kind. I was going for the basic taste/texture and will twiddle with seasonings next go 'round.

I can’t remember why I chose the cooking temp that I did, but I went with 160F for 24hrs in a vacuum bag.

It came out AWESOME! Firm but not fiberous and absolutely fantastic, cold, in sandwiches. I used the liquids that collected in the bag as the basis for gravy, which also came out very well.

This cook was in my basic large stock pot and is about as big a chunk as it would take. I think the next go-round with a pork loin, I’ll cut it in half, vac-pac each chunk with a few herbs in the bag and run it through the FrankenCooler at the same temp for the same time.


Well Joe, as my Pappy always used to say, “There’s more than one way to get your ox out of the ditch.” And it’s much the same with cook times and temperatures. People have different opinions on degrees of doneness and tenderness, thus the variety of cooking temperatures and times you observed.

You learned from the recipes you perused that you have choices, and one is not necessarily better than another. The objective is to find a set of cooking factors that’s good for you.

You asked for a formula to determine cook times based on size and the volume of water used. There isn’t one. Or it could be this, - “X = Y”. As long as the chunks are about the same thickness they will cook evenly at the set temperature. 8", - or 18" long chunks, no difference. The amount of water, as long as it is within the volume limits of your cooker, also matters not. Just don’t tightly pack your cooking vessel. Water circulation is critical to success.

Being a new user, at some point you will give up the guiding principles you followed in conventional cooking when cooking SV. They don’t translate. Have faith, you will get there. It’s a matter of giving up something without feeling it’s a loss when it’s really a gain.

In SV cooking you will learn to think less in terms of product weight and mostly about its thickness. Thinking will become a significant factor in your cooking.

You will learn you can’t transfer cooking methods between different cuts of meat.

You will learn to think in more detail in terms of your new cooking technique and less in terms of someone else’s recipes that may not be suitable.

You will learn to first consider the degree of product doneness you expect. That decides your cooking temperature. Length of time affects tenderness.

You will learn from
Dr. Doug covers all the basics in more detail than you initially may want. Consider it part of your gain by learning and using his knowledge.

If your priority is to maximize product volume, cooking in suitable pieces will use less plastic. You might consider doing a few chops as they can be considerably quicker and more convenient for reheating. During tax season your time might be precious.

If you seriously want to improve, start a detailed SV cooking journal. Record every cook by product description, size ( Weight is an option, thickness is important. ), cooking time and temperature employed, and your comments on results. Your comments will help you improve your future cooks. Use details and suggestions for improvement.

Do the work.

Length isn’t an issue, other than for handling. Thickness is what matters for heat transfer.

You can look at sous vide cooking in two stages. The first stage is bringing the inside of meat up to the same temperature as your water bath. We call this reaching temperature equilibrium. You can use a rough rule of thumb of 1 inch per hour (1/2 inch per half hour) for the warmth from the bath to work it’s way into the core of your meat. This is why I was asking about the thickness of your particular pieces of loin.

With pieces of meat that are naturally tender this may be all your require of your cook. But for most meats, you’ll need to move to the next stage which is cooking for tenderness. This takes time at temperature. This will be determined by the cut of meat and the amount of work that the muscle has done. Animal age can also come into play. Harder working muscle groups have more connective tissue and stronger fibres. They therefore have more collagen that requires conversion to gelatin… which takes time. It’s a really good idea to know a bit of anatomy and where the cuts come from to help you make these decisions. The time it takes for collagen conversion is also dependent on the temperature at which you’re cooking. At higher temps the process is relatively quick. At low temperatures it still happens, but slowly.

Pork loin is a relatively low use muscle group, particularly when it comes to commercially raised pork. So the amount of cooking required to make it tender is fairly minimal. You might decide you don’t need to change the texture of the meat, or you might decide you want to at 6 hours for some tenderising.

Let’s say your pork loin came from a large, young pig (commercially they tend to be harvested around 8 months before the animal’s fat layer develops). And we’ll work on a centre cut piece of about 4 inches thick. So, for it to come to temperature equilibrium would take 4 hours. As we discussed, it’s a low work muscle group. You could add no extra time on top of this or you could choose to add anything up to 8 hours without any detrimental impact on the texture.

So, you could choose to cook your 4 inch thick pork long anywhere from 4 to 12 hours.

Temperature wise, you can use anything from 130F to 150F, it much depends on how you like your pork. A lot of people still have problems with the idea of pink pork, so I’d suggest using a temperature around 140F. If you can handle blushing pork, try 135F.

Hopefully this information is of assistance.

The last one: “Herb crusted pork loin” is actually tenderloin.