Curious Cook Time Question

I am new to all this. I recently saw a video for cooking a pork loin roast. The video showed cooking an 8 lb roast at 140 for 10 hrs. and it came out perfectly. I tried one that was only about 3 pounds (I cut the roast into smaller sections). I cooked it at 140 for 10 hrs not thinking that the weight makes a difference. While the roast was very tender it was dry. Did I cook it for too long? I thought time is for texture and temp is for how done you want it. Not sure if it was just a bad piece of pork or it cooked for too long. I have seen other people say they cook their pork loin roast for 3 hrs. Any info would be appreciated.

I am not sure that the dryness is due to sous vide, as the juices simply have nowhere to go in a vacuum bag. Might it have lost moisture due to searing for too long? And as I’m sure many of our more experienced friends will tell you, cook based on thickness, not weight.

Last week I cooked a ~3 lb pork loin at 137F for ~5 hours and it was moist and tender. I think your 10 hours was a bit excessive, but the extra time should have resulted in a degradation of texture, not in dryness. I suspect your bag wasn’t properly sealed and the roast dried out as a result.

Hey Luv, welcome to your new and different cooking system.

First, forget weight as a significant factor other than the number of portions you need to serve. Weight means little in the low and slow heat penetration world of SV (that would be Sous Vide using your Anova) cooking. Be suspicious of anyone giving you weight-based SV cooking guidance.

Next, the reliability of that video is questionable. You might have been the victim of an over enthusiastic food stylist’s work. And it’s hard to find bad pork, just as it’s hard to find superb pork. Both are rare.

That’s one long 140F cook for a factory-raised pork loin which is usually very lean, fairly tender, and solid. 4 hours for the typical commercially produced pig should have been enough. That 10-hour cook likely caused the cell structure of the meat to degrade (tenderness), but as cells rupture there will always be moisture loss. Yes, the moisture remains in the bag, but please understand there is a significant difference in eating enjoyment between moist and juicy meat and wet meat. Although a lot of people don’t appear to notice which is why gravy was invented to use up all that tasty liquid that came out of the meat. If the delicious juices remain in the meat you don’t need gravy.

You have the correct understanding of the time and temperature functions.

Treat all perceived cooking failures as learning opportunties and learn all you can. Start with easy items. Their successful outcomes will give you encouragement to excel.

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A couple of questions that I would ask in order to see if we can find a reason for the dryness in your pork loin.

Had the loin been frozen at all? The rupturing of cells during the freeze/thaw cycle can be detrimental to juiciness.

How did you finish your pork? This tends to be where problems are introduced causing people to be less than satisfied with sous vide results.

Yes, it was frozen then thawed prior to cooking. I put a rub on it then sealed it in the bag. I finished it using the TS8000 torch. You could tell by looking at the meat that the torch did not cook it further only seared the outside layer if you will. Thank you all for your input. I am always willing to learn.

I think there’s a possibility that the freeze/thaw cycle may be the reason for the dryness. I’d try a fresh piece of similar dimensions cooked for same time and temperature with same finishing technique to see what happens.

I’m not questioning that but I can’t believe that every meal you make SV must not be frozen. I am more apt to believe that the long cook caused the cell structure to rupture thus the dryness. I will do as you suggest and see what happens. Thanks for your input.

It’s not that so much as recognizing that there is an impact to everything. The freeze/thaw cycle does have an impact. The time spent in frozen state, the way it was stored, the method used for defrosting. All has an impact.

Pork loin really can be difficult because it’s quite a dense meat with no intramuscular fat, because fat has been seen as evil for so long that pigs have been bred to be lean (relatively speaking from heritage styles.)

Luv, " . . must not be frozen." We are not asking you to believe that at all. We only want you to be aware of the results of freezing meat. There’s no must-not at all.

Just be aware that every physical change of state your food endures has an impact on it and it may be unfavourable to your enjoyment of it.

Think about the purpose you had for freezing the pork loin. Perhaps you purchased it more than a few days before you needed to cook it and froze it. Alternatively, you could have first SV cooked it through the Pasteurization stage, - which you clearly overdid in that case, left the packaging intact, and stored it safely in your refrigerator for several weeks. It’s always your choice, but your outcomes will be different.

Now you might be thinking, “i didn’t want to get involved in a science project. What’s all this Pasteurization nonsense?” Pasteurization is heating and holding food at a sufficient time and temperature to kill enough bacteria to make your food safe for consumption. That’s all, and you have likely been doing it for a long time, just not in a precisely controlled and cognitive process. Welcome to Sous Vide.

If you are interested in knowing more i recommend you become well acquainted with the following site:


Thank you for the information. I guess there is a lot more to it than I initially thought. I assume practice makes perfect so I will continue to explore and keep track of my successes and failures until I have it down. Again, thanks for your insight.

My pleasure Luvfit, you’re welcome.

If you can learn the SV basics from Baldwin and repeat them you will be well along the way. The greatest challenge for most folks is to accept that you are using a significantly different cooking technique. There’s really not a lot to it as long as you can let go of your conventional cooking habits.

Do well and enjoy.

… I assume practice makes perfect so I will continue to explore and keep track of my successes and failures until I have it down.

Indeed it does. Some of my initial attempts with sous vide cooking were less than satisfactory but with repeated attempts I was able to refine my technique. As recommended by others on this site, I found that keeping a sous vide journal and referring to it before those repeated attempts was vital to improving my results.

10 hours seems an awful long time, and the juices will have left the cut. I use the times indicated in the Anova app, and my results are always good. The app shows 1 hour for pork tenderloin or chops. I use 1h-1h15 minutes (at 145°F) for pork loin and the result is tender and moist meat, very slightly pink (but cooked) in places. If I start off from a frozen piece, I just add 15-20 minutes. Why the obsession with pasteurization if you cook for immediate consumption? Why bother with a long time cook on an already tender piece? In my experience, ~1 hour, a good sear, and you are good to go.
The only times I use long cooking times is when I cook tough pieces of meat and want to change the texture/break down the conjunctive tissue.

Hi, I don’t know where you saw this instructions but if you look at the Anova App a pork tenderloin under guides (Serious Eats labs makes these) it only takes 1hour at 140 (or depending on your doneness preference different temperature. The time here does not change, only the temp). I have always done my pork tenderloin at that setting. Pork loin is a very lean cut so cooking it for a long time will dry it. The juices have no place to go but they other than the bag, but they will ooze out of the meat and just stay in the bag. No way to put them back in the meat.
Also, with that said, the thickness of the loin is more important than the weight. It’s not the same to cook a 5 lb, 1 inch thick piece of meat (any meat) than a 2 lb 4 inch thick piece. It will take longer for the heat to penetrate the thicker piece.
In addition, if you don’t tie your loin it will get flattened by the bag when you extract the air (with a vacuum or by water pressure). Look at the free app from Anova to get excellent guides. After a certain length of time what gets affected is the texture of the meat, not the tenderness. Remember that is better to err on the undercooked side (you can always put it in a another bag and cook longer) than to overcook. There is no coming back from there.

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Chiara and exhiriff thank you for your input. I am learning slowly but surely. I do have the Anova App but some things aren’t in there like boneless skinless chicken breasts they only mention chicken breasts with bone and skin on.

Please note, @echiriff, that tenderloin and loin are two completely different cuts.

I do have the Anova App but some things aren’t in there like boneless skinless chicken breasts they only mention chicken breasts with bone and skin on.

@Luvflt If you look at the “Recipes” section in the app rather than in the “Guides” section you’ll find a bunch of recipes for boneless skinless chicken breasts, including a very basic one by Nicole Poirier.

The original cook time may be right if you left it as one big piece of meat, while weight isn’t important thickness is. Tie big cust to get them uniform, then you should calculate the cook time based on the width or height, whichever one is larger. Example: Pork Roast that is in the shape of a log, the length is 10” and its height is 4” and width 5”. We need the heat to resonate to the center of the meat for it to be done, 5” is want should be used for the thickness. Sous Vide Dash App says 9:15 for this roast.

Pork loin is a very lean cut, prone to drying out, under long cooking. It is important to salt the meat before sealing it in the vacuum bag.

You can dry rub it liberally, with a salt/sugar/spice rub, or brine it. I use 1/2 cup Kosher salt & 1/2 cup granulated sugar, per quart of water, and I soak the roast for two or three hours. then I dry it off and vacuum seal it. Especially with a dry rub, refrigerate the package, for 24 hours, before freezing it or cooking it. this allows the salt to do its thing.
I always cook pork at 140 F. Two or three hours, for a thick roast (thawed), should be plenty.

This works well with thick-cut pork chops, too. Brine them for 45 minutes to an hour, then cook, for an hour or so…