Some cuts of pork have generous amounts of fat and are extremely easy to cook, while others are extremely lean and require more careful handling. Because most recipes are written using the traditional Bake or Roast mode in an oven, it’s important to understand the benefits of using Convection for cooking the different cuts.
How to Cook Pork Shoulder in Convection
Pork Shoulder, also known as pork butt or pork blade roast is one of the fattier cuts of pork that can be prepared in several ways.
Braising - cooked in a covered pan for a couple of hours, pork cooked this way is very versatile. The meat can be sliced and served over grains or mashed root vegetables, shredded and served in tacos, or cooked in a BBQ sauce and served as pulled pork. Even though the meat is cooked in a covered pan using Convection is still recommended because the circulating heated air will heat the pan evenly keeping the contents of the pan simmering at the perfect temperature.
Slow Roasting - cooked on a rack in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode for 4 - 6 hours. The circulating heat prevents the meat from drying out rendering the meat very tender. Again the meat can be sliced or shredded.
How to Cook Ribs in Convection or a Steam Oven
Whether you are cooking back ribs or spare ribs in a Convection or Steam oven you can’t avoid the first step of slow cooking needed to tenderize the ribs.
In Convection, the seasoned ribs should still be placed in a roasting pan with some water and covered tightly with a lid or foil then cooked slowly for 1 ½ - 2 hours at 300 degrees until the meat is tender.
In the combination Convection Steam mode, the seasoned ribs can be placed uncovered in the oven and slowly cooked for 1 ½ - 2 hours at 280 - 300 degrees.
Once the first phase of cooking is complete, the ribs can be finished with high heat in the oven or on the grill.
How to Cook Pork Loin in Convection
Pork loin is one of the leanest cuts of pork and may be the trickiest to cook. Traditional recipes recommend this cut be brined, a process that infuses the meat with a seasoned liquid. When roasted in the traditional Bake or Roast mode the brining liquid prevents the roast from drying out.
A spice rub is a better option when roasting pork loin in Convection because the circulating Convection heat doesn’t have such a drying effect on food. When the meat has been brined it tends to retain too much moisture when cooked in Convection.
The key to success is a quick sear in a pan or with high heat in the oven but keep the overall cooking temperature low at 325 degrees. Using an oven meat probe set to 140 - 145 degrees will also help from overcooking the pork.
How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in Convection
One of the benefits of pork tenderloin is that it cooks quickly so it’s a great protein to add to a meal when time is short. In my experience, the biggest mistake people make with this cut is to cook it too long and at too high a temperature.
A spice rub is the best way to add some flavor to a pork tenderloin, then begin the cooking with a quick sear but keep the heat at medium to avoid burning the seasoning. Once you have browned the tenderloin on all sides place it in the oven in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode at 300 degrees and continue cooking it for 15 minutes - 20 if it is over 1lb. Be sure to let it rest before carving.
The interior of the pork will be very pink when you slice it but not raw. If this pink tinge bothers you then cook the tenderloin for an additional 5 minutes. But the key is to keep the temperature at 300 degrees so it doesn’t begin to get grey around the edges and dry out.
How to Cook Thick Pork Chops in Convection
You will find a delicious recipe for stuffed pork chops on our website, why are they so delicious? Well, first we stuffed them with herbs and garlic mixed with some olive oil. After a careful sear over moderate heat, we added a splash of white wine to the pan and placed the pan with the chops in a 325-degree oven heated in the Convection Roast mode and cooked them for another 8 minutes.
So for success when cooking the lean cuts of pork be sure to use moderate temperatures and use Convection for better heat distribution and to help retain moisture in the meat. We have some delicious pork recipes on the website including, Asian Pork Meatballs, Baked Pork Shoulder Roast, Pork Belly, Braised Spareribs, and Steamed Black Bean Pork Spareribs, I hope you will give them a try
My next post will cover tips for Braising in Convection and Steam to get you ready for your cool weather cooking.