Cured Pork Loin Recipe: An Italian Delight

Cured pork loin, or Lonzino, is an Italian delicacy that I always look forward to making. It transforms ordinary pork into a savory delight with rich flavors and enticing aromas. When I first tried this recipe, I was amazed at the uncomplicated process, yet the results were phenomenal.

Making Lonzino is a labor of love, but trust me, it’s worth every minute spent waiting. So, let’s dive into the process that turns simple pork loin into an Italian masterpiece!

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Curing Process for Pork Loin

I began by trimming the pork loin to a uniform shape. This helps the curing process go more evenly. After weighing the meat in grams, I mixed kosher salt, sugar, InstaCure No. 2, black pepper, garlic powder, ground cloves, onion powder, and dried thyme together.

I took the dry mixture and rubbed it thoroughly into the pork loin. Ensuring every part of the loin was coated well was essential. Then, I placed the seasoned loin into a plastic bag to prevent it from drying out too quickly.

Next, I refrigerated the pork for several days. I massaged the meat daily through the bag to redistribute the cure. This step helps the flavors penetrate deeply.

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After enough days, the pork felt firm, and it was time to move on to the drying phase. I hung the loin in a cool, dry place with good airflow. This final step allows the meat to develop rich flavors and be preserved properly.

Flavors and Aromas

When I take a cured pork loin out of its drying phase, I first notice its aromatic blend. The garlic powder gives it a savory, welcoming scent. I can’t help but appreciate the subtle sweetness from the sugar, which balances the rich, salty notes.

That hint of ground cloves adds warmth and depth, making it irresistible. A peppery fragrance wafts up thanks to the black pepper as I slice into the pork loin. The dried thyme introduces an earthy, herbal note that rounds everything out beautifully.

Tasting it is another experience entirely. The robust seasoning penetrates the meat. There’s a pleasing saltiness without being overwhelming. Each bite has a bit of sweetness and a spicy kick from the pepper and garlic. The clove’s warmth lingers pleasantly on my palate.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

When serving cured pork loin, I love to keep it simple yet elegant. Thinly sliced, it makes a perfect appetizer. I often arrange the slices on a wooden board with some olives and rustic bread.

I like adding it to a charcuterie platter for a more comprehensive meal. This works great with cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or a sharp Pecorino Romano. The saltiness of the cheese complements the savory flavors of the pork.

I also enjoy pairing cured pork loin with fresh, seasonal fruits. Slices of pear or apple bring a sweet contrast that enhances the overall taste. Figs and grapes add a natural sweetness, perfect for balancing the spice.

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A crisp white like Pinot Grigio complements the pork’s delicate flavors for wine pairings. If you prefer red, try Chianti; its acidity and berry notes harmonize well with the savory profile.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When making cured pork loin, there’s always the possibility of running into some issues. One common problem I faced was uneven drying. The edges would be too dry while the center stayed moist. To fix this, I started monitoring the temperature and humidity more closely. Consistency is key.

Another issue was off-flavors developing during the curing process. Once, I realized it was due to using the wrong type of salt. Sticking to high-quality sea or kosher salt made a significant difference. Also, ensuring the meat was trimmed uniformly helped.

Sometimes, mold could appear on the surface. While white mold is usually harmless, green or black mold isn’t. I learned to wipe it off with vinegar or start over if it persisted.

A sticky or slimy surface can be another concern. This often indicates bacterial growth from improper air circulation. Using a fan helped me improve airflow in my drying area.

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