Tuesday, September 13, 2016


One of my biggest cooking challenges is cooking large pieces of meat on the grill or roasting them in the oven.  It is not something I do all that often, but when I do I'm pretty bad at it.  This week was no exception.  The recipe I attempted used a nice little pork loin rubbed in brown sugar, garlic, and olive oil and cooked on a roasting pan with carrots and potatoes.  Once the prep is finished (about 10 minutes cutting and rubbing), the beauty of this dish is that it goes in the oven and you don't do anything for about 45 minutes, so it basically is supposed to cook itself without any help from the outside.  
Just like every other time I have tried to cook big meat (for lack of better description), it didn't go as planned.
After 45-50 minutes, the pork loin was supposed to be at 150.  At that time, it was to be removed in order to rest for about 15 minutes while the veggies finished cooking.  However, after about 50 minutes, my meat thermometer showed it hadn't made much progress.  
 Now I have to say, that I have this never ending battle with my meat thermometer.  It is OLD, but that is sometimes a good thing (I keep telling myself).  There is an internal debate I have about whether or not I need to keep the thermometer in the meat while cooking or not.  Since it's not an instant read, it takes time to show the temp and by then I'm not sure if that is even correct.  When I research this topic, some websites say that I should leave it in while cooking and others say not to.  I talk myself in and out of what to do, mostly because if it is inside the oven isn't it taking the temp of the oven?
I don't know.  After the initial temp above, I kept the thermometer in the pork loin and stuck it back in the oven.  It was over 150 when I pulled it out the next time and thought, "Hooray!  It's ready!".  It rested while the veggies finished cooking.  And when I cut into it after 15 minutes, it was still pink.  "They" say pork can be a little pink, but I can't do that.  So back in the oven it went, this time without the thermometer inside.  Going on about an hour and half later at this point, the pan was removed and the temperature was 150, at least that is what the thermometer said.
I'm not entirely confident that my trusty OLD meat thermometer is all that accurate and after all these years of owning it (after inheriting it), so I finally broke down and bought a new instant read one.  I'm not entirely convinced it'll work either.  What if I'm the problem!?!?    


  1. 20 mins a pound and 20 over once the oven has reached temp (when the light switches off in an electric). And for pork it's far better to err on the overcooked side as with chicken than under.
    What you need to do is download a gas chart for US appliances and see what the numbers correspond. Then check that the temp in the oven matches the Gas Mark. Here the numbers go up in 10's from 140C to 240C. And 150C oven temp would be achieved waving a match lightly near the bit of meat. But oven temp and meat temp are tow different things. Still if you are using the spike type one, jamb it in to the middle of the pork joint or the breast of a chicken and it should read 170C to 190C in the middle. Beef 10 or so lower. But that depends on the joint.
    Anywoo's before I went with pilot error I'd think the thermostat is gimpy and using the Gas Mark and a cheap dial type ambient thermostat will tell you if the gas mark matches the thermometer.

    1. My oven takes some time getting up to the correct temp. I've placed an oven thermometer inside for that reason. It could be that I just hadn't waited long enough for it to get to it's temp. It was just a tad less than two pounds so it shouldn't have taken as long as it did. To be honest, I didn't check the inside thermometer because I had the oven on for awhile and just assumed it was ready. The next time I try big meat I'll have to be sure. The individual things like chicken breasts or steaks or chops are easier for me to tell. The larger ones I haven't a clue, so I've got to rely on the time/temp. Neither have been all that reliable for me.

    2. I meant to add that the pork loin was quite good (once cooked!). But I think next time I'll sear it first to render the fat cap. It didn't do much in the roasting as I expected it to. It ended up just getting cut off because it was gross. When do that kind of thing in the crockpot, I always sear first. I'm not sure why this recipe wouldn't have that step.

  2. I have one of those old meat thermometers, too, and I've never found it works very well (if you're cooking bone-in, don't let it touch bone). I've never left it in the meat, always just checking when I take it out.

    I'm with Vince on the better to overcook than under when it comes to pork or chicken. I also subscribe to that 20 minutes per pound thought (usually at 350 or 375).

    I bet it's the thermometer and not you. I've considered upgrading to a different kind, but just never get beyond thinking to doing. I'll be interested to know how you feel about the new one.

    1. Yah, I've read that about the bone. I have the same issue with whole turkeys. I try very hard not to get it near a bone but am never quite sure.
      The videos I have seen about the instant reads make it so simple. I'm not terribly confident it'll be as easy as it looks, but I will try it.

  3. This is the one I have https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kitchen-Thermometer-Stainless-Espresso-Frothing/dp/B01E0W3834/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1473931740&sr=8-7&keywords=meat+spike+thermometer
    I got it because I was never sure I was getting the temp up with the one you just leave in the oven. And I couldn't trust the gas marks at all. Plus with the electric one, a little baby one, you can't be certain that the power is coming to the oven. So the spike type one that you plunge into the beast.

    It's 20 mins a pound plus the 20 over in a preheated oven.
    If you want crackling you need to pore boiling water over the fat, then render that side on a pan so you cook they far part way before you oven it.
    Oh, a trick the chefs do with people bitching about pink meat (not pork) is to nuke it for 2 min.

    1. Yours is a dial too, not an instant read. That's what I have, just an really old one. My grandfather was a butcher, and this might have been his. So it could just not be accurate, due to the age.
      I was trying to figure out how to best deal with the fat cap and it seemed 50/50 on whether to put down on the pain or have it face up. I put it down because I figured the pan would do that. But it didn't I'll try some water next time.
      I have heard that about beef tricks before. Growing up my mom needed it basically burnt and my dad liked it basically mooing. They had a friend in the restaurant supply business and after he made them prime rib and my mom needing it not so rare, he just dragged it through the brown juice to cover up the red. Meat in the microwave, blech. I'm glad I don't mind the pink. :) I nuke most left overs, but meat I gotta do in a pan. The microwave screws around with the flavor in my opinion and makes it so tough.

    2. I'm with your mom on the cooking of beef. Two clicks back from charcoal. But that's only for supermarket stuff that is treated badly. On the other hand, if it's a good well hung piece I can eat it more or less raw. And have many times eaten it raw. As in tartare. I've prepared it, but you have to really take care for the instant you begin cutting it the bacteria is on more surfaces.

      The trick with fat on the outside is to cook it in a pan before you roast it. And if you have thick veining running through the joint, plunge a steel skewer through it. Fat, or at least uncooked far isn't nice at all.

    3. I think that surprises me that you like your beef well done. But I get quality of it being a deciding factor. I can't do rare, even on the best. Once, I tried carpaccio, but all I could smell and taste was blood.