Grandma’s Pork Loin Roast

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The roast is so delicious and moist, it really is perfect.

The brine for this recipe ensures the roast will be super moist and bursting with flavor. We love to cook the pork directly on top of the veggies. This was one of Grandma’s “special” dishes, and, man, it was (is) something else!


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How To Make Grandma’s Pork Loin Roast

We are big fans of brining. It adds flavor and truly makes the roast, or whatever you’re brining, just so juicy and incredibly tender.

The apple and fennel are such a wonderful addition, as well, and actually steam while cooking, and help to add flavor to the meat.

A large pork loin roast with several slices cut surrounded by roasted apples and fennel bulbs.

EXPERT TIP: Start the brine about 8 (or up to 24) hours before baking. We love to get the meat in the brine the night before serving. This allows the brine mixture to really penetrate the roast.

The Perfect Pork Brine

As mentioned, allowing the pork to sit in salt brine not only infuses flavor, it will result in a much more juicy roast.

Salt is an important component of a good brine, but the addition of apple cider, brown sugar, fresh thyme, and crushed garlic pairs perfectly with pork.

EXPERT TIP: Grab a large brine bag (or any plastic bag that is waterproof) and line a pot or pan that is just large enough to hold the roast. This will allow the brine to easily cover the roast. Tie it up and add some sort of weight  (ie, plate or pot lid) on the top of the bag.  This will help to keep the roast submerged.

An apple juice brine being poured from a large measuring cup into a Dutch oven lined with a brining bag that has a pork loin in it.

What To Serve with Roasted Pork Loin

Sliced apples and fennel bulbs are a perfect match for roast pork.

Fennel has a slight licorice taste and smell, but that mellows completely as it cooks and melds with the apples and juices from the roast.

EXPERT TIP: Use the apples and fennel as the rack to hold the pork loin while it’s roasting. The loin flavors the apples and fennel, and they do the same for the roast.

Along with the roast apples and fennel, our best mashed potatoes and steamed green beans round out the perfect feast.

A large glass bowl filled with sliced apples and chopped fennel bulbs.

What You Will Need for the Maple Mustard Glaze

Topping the pork with a flavorful glaze not only provides amazing taste, but it forms a crust that is just incredible.

The ingredients are simple but work beautifully together and with the pork. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pure Maple Syrup
  • Whole-Grain Mustard
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and then pour them all over the roast, which is resting on the apples and fennel in the bottom of a roasting pan.

A person using a cooking brush to apply a mustard maple sauce over a large pork loin roast in a roasting pan.

How Long To Roast Pork

You’ll want the internal temperature of the roast to reach 140°F.

Let the roast rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to settle into the roast but it will also continue cooking to the desired internal temperature of 145°F.

EXPERT TIP: We start with the oven nice and hot at 450°F and cook the roast for 20 minutes. This helps to form the crust and lock in the juices. Then lower the oven temperature to 350°F to finish the cooking, usually another 50 to 60 minutes.

A person holding a large steel roasting pan filled with a roasted pork loin sitting on top of roasted apples and fennel.

When To Serve Roast Loin Pork

This roast is wonderful any time of the year, but it’s extra special when the leaves start to change colors outside.

It’s also an ideal roast to serve at your Christmas or Easter feast.

EXPERT TIP: This roast makes for amazing leftovers. Simply wrap the roast and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.

A large butcher knife slicing through a large roasted pork loin roast on a wooden cutting board.

This pork loin roast is not only unbelievably delicious, but it also makes a stunning centerpiece for your table.

Grandma knows best and this roast is one of her most amazing dishes.

Your family and other loved ones will be requesting this pork roast with apples and fennel time and time again.

A white dinner plate filled with a slice of roasted pork loin and roasted apples and fennel and steamed green beans.

Ready to make a roast that Grandma would be proud of? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A person holding a large steel roasting pan filled with a roasted pork loin sitting on top of roasted apples and fennel.

Grandma's Pork Loin Roast

Grandma's Pork Loin Roast gets a nice brine and then a maple-mustard crust when it bakes. Cook along with the apple and fennel, and wow oh wow, is this good! Grandma would be so proud!
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Entree
Cuisine: Entree
Keyword: best pork loin roast recipe, holiday roast recipe, how to roast a pork loin
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Brining time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 425kcal

Equipment

  • Brine bag
  • Roasting pan

Ingredients

FOR THE BRINE

  • 8 cups apple cider cold
  • ¾ cup Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar light
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 3 sprigs thyme thyme
  • 1 4 lb pork loin roast boneless, leave a thin layer of fat

FOR THE ROAST

  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tsp thyme fresh, chopped
  • tsp Kosher salt divided
  • 2 tsp black pepper freshly ground, divided
  • 2 bulbs fennel quartered, cored, and sliced
  • 2 apples peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

BRINE THE PORK

  • Combine 2 cups of the apple cider with the salt, brown sugar, garlic, and thyme in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly, until salt and sugar dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  • Whisking continuously, pour the hot cider/salt mixture into another pan or bowl with the remaining cold apple cider.
  • Place the pork loin roast in a pot that is lined with a brine bag. Pour the brine over the pork. Tie up and cover. Place in the refrigerator for 8 to 18 hours.

ROAST THE PORK

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat your oven to 450°F.
  • In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard, thyme, 1 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp black pepper.
  • Drain the pork and pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the fennel and apple with the oil, ½ tsp salt, and a good pinch of black pepper.
  • Scatter the apples and fennel across the bottom of a large roasting pan (large enough to hold the pork with an inch or two of space around the edges).
  • Put the pork, fat side up, on top of the fennel and apples. Brush the pork all over with the mustard glaze.
  • Roast the pork until the crust just starts to brown, about 20 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin reads 145 F., about 50 to 60 minutes more.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice the pork and serve with roasted apples and fennel on the side.

Notes

Be sure to watch the video near the top of the blog post for visual reference.  If you like the video, subscribe to our YouTube Channel
Ask your butcher to cut you a boneless pork loin roast, about 4 to 5 lbs.  You'll want to leave a thin layer of fat on the top of the roast.
The roast can stay in the brine for up to 18 hours.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.  The cooked roast can be frozen for up to 2 months.  Thaw and reheat in a 350°F oven, wrapped in foil, for about 30 minutes, or until warmed through. 

Nutrition

Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 11123mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
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POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in December 2014, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in September 2021!