Having a decent dinner is the cornerstone of any Sunday, a time where the family can gather around the table and enjoy a wide array of vegetables, meats and sauces.
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The one thing that really ties everyone together is the taste of the food, the melt-in-your-mouth flavors that gran, auntie and second-cousin can enthuse about and bond over.
That’s where a brown sugar dijon glazed pork loin comes in.
This eccentric and completely unique dish can certainly get tongues wagging, with the surface of the meat coated in caramelized brown sugar and Dijon mustard, giving you a sweet and savory combination that will explode in the mouth.
Serving this dish with a side of vegetables adds that delicate and healthy touch that perfectly compliments the powerful flavors of the meat and the sauces.
This dish might look incredibly complicated but it is actually very easy to accomplish, all you need are a few ingredients and a very hot oven.
This dinner is both very tender, juicy and brimming with flavor. If you follow the recipe that we’ve listed below, then you can be certain that your guests will be talking about your meal for weeks on end.
But how best to cook a brown sugar Dijon glazed pork loin dinner? How much mustard and sugar will you need so that you don’t overpower the flavor of the meat itself?
What are the best vegetables to serve with this meal? How long do you need to bake it in the oven?
Well, whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned chef, you won’t have to worry about impressing your guests at your next meal, because we’ve got answers to all the above questions and more.
Please read our comprehensive guide to cooking brown sugar Dijon glazed pork loin. We’ll cover everything: from the right sugar to the strength of the mustard.
Why Pork Loin?
One of the best reasons to use pork loin is the availability with which you can purchase it, as well as how quickly you can prepare and cook it.
It is a deceptively simple meat that has plenty of fat and juice, along with ounces of flavor. You can cook it in a variety of ways, but it probably cooks best in an oven.
When it comes to buying a joint of pork loin, we would recommend that you pick up a boneless pork rib loin rather than a tenderloin.
This way you can avoid your guests having to deal with removing the bones from their meal as they’re trying to eat it.
Supermarket deli counters should provide you with some of the best pork loin cuts you can find, ideally with a nice thick layer of fat on the surface that will aid with cooking, giving the final meal plenty of moisture and flavor as it’s heated.
Pork is traditionally very lean and dry meat, which is why you’ll want to buy a cut with fat on the bottom to prevent your end product from becoming tough and tasteless.
Fat will also keep the sugar glaze on the surface nice and moist, retaining as much of its flavor as possible.
Having fat on the top of the pork loin will also ensure that the sugar stays in place during the intensive cooking process.
Cooking Pork Lion – What Is The Best Method?
If you are retrieving your pork loin from the freezer, we would recommend that you leave it in the fridge to defrost overnight.
However, if you are in a hurry, then you can always place it on a high defrost setting in your microwave for about 30-45 minutes, although this will obviously depend on the thickness of the meat.
Remember: if you are defrosting your pork loin, you’ll want to make sure that it has as much moisture in it as possible to aid cooking.
However, if your loin has been in the freezer for a while, then you can often experience some freezer damage on the internal fibers of the meat.
When you are cooking, one easy method to register that the meat is cooked well is to pierce right the way through to the center of your joint with a temperature probe.
Ideally, your pork loin should be warmed right the way through at a temperature of around 160-degrees Fahrenheit.
When it reaches this temperature, you should be able to see that the meat inside has turned pink, while the meat on the outside is more white.
To calculate the amount of time that you’ll have to roast your pork loin, simply attribute 20 minutes to every pound of meat.
We recommend that you pick up around 3-pounds of pork, meaning that you’ll have to cook it for around one hour.
Regularly checking on your pork loin will ensure that you won’t have under- or overcooked it.
We would suggest that you keep checking on your meat after 50 minutes of cooking. Although this will obviously depend on the cut of your meat and the intensity of your oven.
Baked pork tenderloin will cook in about 20-30 minutes in an oven set at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, the internal temperature of the meat should be at least 145 degrees.
Baking it at such a high temperature will ensure that the outside is crispy, especially as the sugar caramelizes on the top.
Ideally, with a pork loin, you’ll want the inside to be tender and the outside to be crunchy.
This diversity of texture is what makes this meal so intriguing and tasty to a lot of home cooks.
Make sure that after you’ve removed it from the oven you tent with some tin foil and allow it to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Best Things To Serve With pork Loin
When it comes to the vegetables that you’re choosing with your pork loin, you’ll want things that will even out the intense flavor that you’ll be getting with your meat – carrots, potatoes, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes and even apples will be perfect to compliment the taste.
To have the vegetables perfectly cooked along with your pork, you’ll want to arrange them on a cooking sheet around the pork itself.
If you don’t want your vegetables to be tainted by the meat fat from the pork, then you should create bowl-like containers with high rims to prevent the fat from dripping down into the other foods.
If you are planning to cook for 4 people, say a small family, then you can bake two pork loins, each one sugared and slathered with mustard, with a surrounding bed of vegetables.
You can also add a touch of brown sugar to your vegetables to give them that consistency of flavor between the vegetables and the meat. You should add this extra sugar around 30 minutes into the baking procedure.
In terms of preparing the vegetables, slicing the carrots and sweet potatoes lengthwise, basting them with olive oil and salt before adding them to the mix.
You can even add apples to the mix, as traditionally the sweet flavor often complements the salty components of pork – this is why you often get applesauce with these meats.
However, apples are radically less durable than carrots and potatoes, so you’ll want to cook them separately from the other veg.
You should add your apples to the mix roughly 30 minutes into the baking process.
If you put in the apples too early then they will become very slushy and not very appealing in texture.
Keen As Mustard
Obviously, with this recipe, you’ll be using Dijon mustard, although some home cooks prefer to use regular yellow mustard, as it still works well with the pork and the sugar flavors.
Mustard has a very strong and grainy texture which will be slightly subdued during the cooking process, the flavor mingling in perfectly with the natural salts of the pork as well as the brown sugar.
Dijon mustard is very thick and creamy, not being too watery like some other types of mustard. You want to be able to slather it thick over your pork loin, giving you plenty of flavor but also protecting the surface of the pork from evaporation.
Ideally, you should use a brush to smear the mustard across the surface evenly, although if you do not have one, then we would recommend that you use the flat side of a large tablespoon.
Having an even distribution is important to getting that browned texture over every side of your pork.
Now that you’ve covered your pork in mustard, it is time to add the sweet sugar. But before we do that, here are a few other cooking tips that will help you get the best flavor out of your pork.
Chef’s Cooking Tips
Try not to overcook the pork, otherwise, you run the risk of having your it drying out and losing a lot of its unique flavor.
Frequently check the meat with a temperature probe to make sure that the meat does not exceed 145 degrees.
Remember that the meat will continue to rise in temperature even after it has been removed from the oven, taking it out at exactly 145 degrees will be crucial for maintaining moisture and texture.
However, you also want to avoid repeatedly removing the pork from the oven, as it will cool down and take longer to cook.
If you want to prep your meal beforehand, you can always baste and sugar your pork the night before and keep it in the fridge. Then you’ll be ready to put it straight in the oven as soon as your guests arrive.
We would recommend you avoid freezing it again once it has thawed, as this will damage the meat.
You should also season the pork loin before applying the mustard and the sugar. Grind some black pepper, salt and Italian seasoning on the top before you brush on the mustard.
A Spoonful Of Sugar
The types of sugar are very important, as you’ll be wanting the very best sweet flavor from your pork loin.
Sugar is available from most supermarkets, although we would recommend that you get organic dark brown sugar.
Not only with this type of sugar give you that extra sweet flavoring, but it will also make your pork loin dish look super tasty once you put it on the plate.
The presentation should be a priority, along with flavor and texture. You’ll want to give your guests a reason to want to tuck into this delicious dish!
The dark brown sugar will give you pork loin a beautiful crust in much the same way as bread has once baked properly.
The sugar will be very moist after being exposed to the temperature of the oven, appearing burnt, but actually far from it.
Organic sugar is also very healthy for you, not containing any of the synthetic elements used in over-the-counter supermarket sugars.
It is free of fertilizers and pesticides. The use of these chemicals has been proven to be very harmful to the human stomach, introducing many harmful bacteria into it.
Once you have these chemicals in your body, you are much more susceptible to autoimmune diseases and allergies, which won’t earn you any high praise after your dinner party!
Dark brown sugar is also used in other baking products, so if you buy a larger bag, then you’ll have plenty to spare for your next cake or sugar loaf.
When adding the dark sugar, we recommend that you use around half a cup, with most of it sprinkled on the pork, saving a little to cover the vegetables later on.
Now that we’ve discussed the ingredients, it’s time to move on to the main event – the recipe itself.
Brown Sugar Dijon Glazed Pork Loin
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- ½ tsp Salt
- dash of Pepper
- 1-3 lbs. Pork Loin
- Mixed Vegetables
Preheat your oven to ideally 425 degrees.
Stir the mustard, sugar, salt and pepper into a small bowl
Line a rimmed baking tray with tin foil or cooking parchment. Spray the dish with spray-on olive oil to avoid the meat sticking and make for easy cleanup. Leave some excess sugar to sprinkle on your vegetables later.
Place the pork on the baking sheet, patting down the excess moisture with a tea towel.
Chop and prepare some apples (optional).
Surround your pork with the vegetables of your choosing. Make sure to baste them in oil first.
Baste each side of your pork loin with the mustard and sugar mixture. Make sure it is thick enough so that it doesn’t dry out during baking.
Bake the pork for around 30 minutes.
Take out the pork and sprinkle the vegetables with the spare sugar. Also, add the chopped apples to your cooked vegetables at this point.
Replace the pork loin and vegetables back in the oven and cook for another 30 minutes or until your temperature probe reads 145-degrees.
Our Final Say
Utilizing some common items that you’ll find in your pantry and with a swift cooking time, you can prepare and serve an impressive meal for you and your family.
Brown sugar dijon glazed pork loin has a range of wonderful flavors and textures that will certainly have your guests nudging you for another invitation!