This Maple Cider Brined Roasted Pork Loin recipe is all that and then some. This is a pull-out-all-the-stops kind of recipe for a special meal! I have 100% confidence you’re going to love it! 

Sliced Roasted Pork Loin with apples on a platter from the side

If you have been looking for a Christmas dinner or holiday roast that serves four to six people, stop your search and feast your eyes on this Maple and Apple Cider Brined Pork Roast.

It is brined in apple cider, maple syrup, cinnamon and seasoning. Then it is rubbed with a simple butter, mustard and maple mixture that creates an irresistible browned crust on the roast. It is served with a delicious homemade apple chutney made with mustard seed, apple cider vinegar and pure maple syrup.

Four Tips For Juicy Pork Loin Roast

Pork loin is notably lean and can be very dry if not prepared with care. I have four tips to share with you to help prevent drying it out.

Tip 1: Brine It

Brining is a technique, somewhat similar to marinating, that involves soaking meat or poultry in a salty liquid for several hours before cooking.

The process, unlike marinating which requires acidity, relies on the high sodium concentration in the brine to force osmosis of the liquid and seasoning to penetrate into the meat cell walls. Where marinating effects the outer layers of meat, brined meat will be juicy and seasoned throughout to make it hold more moisture and flavor.

Some brines are simply water and salt. Many also include sugars of some sort. This one today goes a bit further by adding in flavor (not just salty and sweet taste) in the form of cinnamon, apple cider, maple and bay leaf.

Tip 2: Add Some Fat

In culinary school I learned about a technique called barding, which if you’ve ever had a bacon-wrapped scallop, you’ve experienced first-hand. Basically barding is wrapping lean meat with fatty meat (like bacon) to sort of “baste” it with fat as it cooks. This helps to keep the meat moist and helps keep it from drying out.

Today I took that basic principal and made a butter rub which essentially does the same thing– it bastes the roast as it cooks. It has maple sugar, mustard and rosemary in it to give it extra flavor too.

Tip 3: Use An Instant Read Thermometer

When you cook pork, it is really hard to know it is done and having tested this recipe a bazillion times, I can tell you that you can’t go from the timing alone. Depending on the side of the loin your roast is cut from, the range of cooking time can vary by 15 minutes!

To test the internal temperature, you’ll want to insert the sensor of your thermometer into the center of the roast. Test it in several spots and use the lowest number for your reading.

It should be 125 degrees F when you take it out. As it rests, the temperature will continue to rise. As you see in my photos and video there is only the slightest hint of pink in the center of the roast. Note: the USDA says to roast it to 145 degrees before taking it out of the oven. This will result in a much dryer roast, but if you have safety concerns or health issues, please follow their guidance.

Tip 4: Rest Before Slicing

This sounds trivial, but it is so important! Rest the roast for at least 15 minutes before you slice it. Why? When you first take the pork loin roast out of the oven, the meat proteins are wound tight and seizing. Letting the roast rest will give the meat proteins time to relax a bit. If you slice it too soon, the juices will just pour right out of the meat onto the carving board.

Roasted Pork Loin with apples and herbs on an oval platter from overhead

Purchasing Tips For Boneless Pork Loin Roast

This recipe uses a 2 pound boneless pork loin roast. Look for one in the meat case, or ask your butcher to cut it for you.

Look for a fat cap of 1/4 inch thick or less. You will need to tie it with string, so if yours comes tied, that will save you a step.

Pork Loin Roast vs Pork Tenderloin

Pork Loin

Pork loin is not the same thing as pork tenderloin. Pork loin comes from the loin (back) of the pig. That’s the “primal” that runs along the back of the animal between the shoulders and hind leg.

Modern pork is raised to be very lean, so the meat of pork loin roasts are very lean. It is often sold with a “fat cap” of up to 1/4-thick.

Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin also comes from the loin primal, but it is a much smaller cut. The tenderloin is made up of the psoas major and minor and iliacus muscles. {In a human that translates to our hip flexors for all of you anatomy buffs.}

To visualize it, this muscle runs along the rib on the ham (tail) end of the pork. It doesn’t do much heavy work, which is why it is so tender.

Tenderloin doesn’t have any external fat on it because it is an internal cut, but it may have silver skin which can be removed. If you want to try a recipe similar to this one, but you happen to have purchased a pork tenderloin, I recommend this Easy Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Apple Skillet instead. It has a lot of the same flavors but is taylor made for tenderloin.

apple chutney, closeup in a black bowl

How To Make Maple Cider Roasted Pork Loin

Tie The Pork

Use kitchen twine to tie the loin, in about four places, along the length of the roast. The ties will serve to tighten the meat from a flattened loaf-shape into a more circular cylinder shape. This will help the meat cook more evenly.

Brine The Pork

  • Combine the brine ingredients (except for the salt) in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Once it simmers, add in the salt and stir to dissolve the salt.
  • Remove it from the heat and add in 1 1/2 cups ice to immediately cool it down.
  • Set a 1 gallon ziplock bag into a deep bowl and set the tied roast into the bag.
  • Pour the chilled brine over the roast. Press any air out of the bag as you seal it shut.
  • Refrigerate it for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Note: there will be a tiny bit of meat exposed, so if you can agitate it once or twice while it brines that would help.
  • If your timing is such that you cannot roast the pork after 4 hours, you can take it out of the brine and keep it covered and refrigerated until you are ready to continue

Make The Chutney

The chutney is a simple cooked sauce made with diced apples. It can be served warm or room temperature. For convenience it can be made two days ahead, and rewarmed (or brought to room temperature) before serving. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Cook the Shallot: Cook the minced shallot in the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add Liquid and Spices: Next add in the cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard seeds and salt and bring it to a simmer.
  3. Add Apples and Cook: Add in the diced apples (I recommend golden apples, or one macintosh and one firm like cortland or gala.) Cover the saucepan and simmer it over low heat to allow the apples to soften.
  4. How Long to Cook: Depending on the variety, the apples will soften in about 5 minutes.

Make The Maple Butter

Once you’ve brined the pork, you’re ready to roast it. Before it goes into the oven, you’ll want to add on the maple butter. Here’s how to make it:

  • Mash together softened butter, granulated maple sugar, rosemary, mustard and salt.

Roast The Pork Loin

  • Dry the meat: Once you take the pork out of the brine, pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.
  • Add Maple Butter: Spread the maple butter over the top and all over the sides of the roast.
  • Prep Roasting Pan: Give your roasting pan a little spritz with cooking spray, and set the roast into the pan.
  • Roast in the center of the oven at 425 degrees F.
  • Test for doneness by inserting an instant read thermometer into the center of the roast.
  • Internal Temperature before resting: For a final resting temp of 140 degrees, pull the roast out when the internal temperature is 125 degrees.

Rest and Carve

Transfer the pork to a carving board or platter. Tent the roast with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. The carryover heat will cause the pork to continue cooking as it rests.

Remove the butchers twine before slicing. I just cut each piece with scissors and pull them off.

Slice the pork into thin slices. Serve with the warm chutney.

Steps To Make This Recipe

Holiday Meal Pairing Ideas

Here are some ideas for what to serve this pork loin with.

overhead view of platter with pork loin and garnishes

Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. 

Happy Cooking!

~Katie

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pork loin sliced and on a platter with apples and herbs

Roasted Pork Loin

  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Pork loin roast has a reputation for being dry and boring, but this cider and maple brine makes it anything but. It stays nice and moist, and the flavors pop when paired with the mustard-seed speckled apple chutney.


Scale

Ingredients

Brine

1 cup apple cider

¼ cup dark pure maple syrup

2 bay leaves

1 small sprig rosemary

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

1 ½ cups ice

1 2-pound boneless pork loin roast

 

Apple Chutney

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 shallot minced

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 tablespoon dark pure maple syrup

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon salt

2 apples, peeled and diced

 

Maple Sugar Rub

1 tablespoon granulated maple sugar (or brown sugar)

1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter

1 teaspoon brown mustard

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon chopped rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt


Instructions

1.     Brine pork: Whisk cider and ½ cup maple syrup maple syrup in a medium saucepan, Add bay leaves, rosemary sprig and cinnamon and place over high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt until dissolved and remove from the heat. Stir in ice. Brine should be room temperature or colder.

2.     Tie pork with butchers twine in several places to hold a round shape if desired. Place pork in a deep bowl or re-sealable bag set in a bowl. Transfer the cider brine mixture to the bowl or bag to cover the pork. Reseal bag if using. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours.

3.     Make Chutney: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, and cook, stirring often until fragrant and starting to brown, 30 to 90 seconds. Add vinegar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, mustard seeds and salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Add apples, stir to coat, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until the apples soften and start to break down 4 to 6 minutes.

4.     Sugar Rub and Roast Pork: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

5.     Remove pork from the brine, discard brine, and pat pork dry with paper towels. Mix maple sugar, butter and mustard in a small dish. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon chopped rosemary, pepper and salt and stir to make a paste. Spread the paste over the pork and set in a small roasting pan.

6.     Roast pork until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reaches 125 degrees F, 38 to 45 minutes. See note. Let rest on a carving board 15 minutes before removing twine and slicing. Serve with the warm chutney.


Notes

The center of the roast should be 125 degrees F when you take it out. As it rests, the temperature will continue to rise. As you can see in my photos and video there is only the slightest hint of pink in the center of the roast. Note: the USDA says to roast it to 145 degrees before taking it out of the oven. This will result in a much dryer roast, but if you have safety concerns or health issues, please follow their guidance.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 ounces pork 1/4 cup chutney
  • Calories: 272
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 31 g