Pork Loin Vs Pork Tenderloin: What Are the Differences?

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Is there any difference between the pork loin vs pork tenderloin? 

YES, there is a bunch of differences. But if you are not careful, you might end up bringing home a pork loin instead of pork tenderloin, or vice versa — after all, they are both cuts from pork.

Besides, pork is pork!

Pork tenderloin is smaller and weighs between 1 to 1 ½ pounds – and it doesn’t have a layer of fat. Pork Loin, on the other hand, is bulkier and weighs between 4 and 5 pounds, with a fat cap that runs over the top. 

This article discusses the major differences between pork loin and pork tenderloin. Let’s get started!

Pork Loin Vs Pork Tenderloin: Major Difference

By the end of this article, you can tell both cuts apart, know ways to cook them and shop the butcher counter confidently, with easy recipes to try.

Let begins! 

Appearance

It is a no-brainer by staring at both types of meat; you’ll notice they are the same in cuts (size). Pork tenderloin is naked pinkish-red meat with some marbling. It is a long and narrow cut than the pork loin.

Tenderloin looks like a foot-long cylinder of about three inches and weighs about a pound and a half. Meanwhile, pork lion is weighed from 2 to 3 pounds, wider, and covered with a flat cap. Remember, both are pork but cut from region different areas of the loin muscle.

If you wonder where the loin muscle is, it is the back of the pig that runs from the shoulder to the rear. Pork tenderloin, sometimes called pork filet, is cut from the rear end of the loin of pork. 

This muscle is delicate and isn’t used for any movement. As a result, it is boneless and the most tender cut. But never assume since tenderloin is boneless, pork loin would be a bone-in pork. 

Pork Loin can be boneless as well.

Price

A pound of pork loin usually costs about $1.19 per pound — that is for bone-in Loin. Whereas the boneless is up to $1.86 per pound.

However, tenderloin tends to be pricier than pork Loin, costing about $2.99 to $3.99 per pound.

Flavor

These cuts are not ONLY different in appearance and price, but also in flavor and cook time, which is why they are bearly used interchangeably.

When it comes to the flavor of both pork, they almost taste the same: mild, just that the Loin is leaner and has a fattier flavor. They are both delicious when cooked properly.

Cooking Time and Recipe 

Due to its size and tenderness, the tenderloin should take less time to cook than the pork loin. 

It takes about 20 minutes – if it’s too much.

Tenderloin is a versatile cut. You can thinly slice to make tailgate-ready sliders, lettuce wraps, or chop it up for tacos. It’s also perfect when cooked quickly in a wok with veggies for stir fry dinner or sliced into strips. 

Some fire tenderloin recipes you can try are:

  • Sweet and tangy glazed pork tenderloin with red potato mash
  • Caribbean grilled pork tenderloin with grilled pineapple salsa
  • Spiced pork tenderloin with sauteed apples

However, a 3-pound of pork loin takes approximately an hour in a 375˚F oven — let’s say roughly around 20-minutes per pound.

Let both pork rest for several minutes to lock in the moisture. You can thinly slice your Loin for a stuffed sandwich like Banh-Mi, or slow cook it and shred for Nachos. 

Some of the famous pork loin recipes are: 

  • Grilled pork loin with blackberry glaze
  • Cherry-port glazed pork loin roast
  • Pork loin stuffed with goat cheese and 
  • Spinach

Can You Substitute Pork Loin For Pork Tenderloin?

Despite what you might think about these two cuts: the answer isn’t tricky, even if they look and sound incredibly similar. First, you have to remember pork loin and pork tenderloin are NOT the same things.

They have different cook times and flavors.

The bottom line is if you are using them interchangeably, the time and heat indication will be inaccurate for the meal. And that is the reason for this debate. To help clear any misconceptions that can lead to the doom of your meal.

Choose a recipe appropriate for the specific cut you choose.

Conclusion

I’m pretty sure by now; if you’re asked to tell the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin, you won’t hesitate.

But between pork loin vs pork tenderloin, which are you to choose? Well, that depends on the type of recipe you have on hand. If it says pork loin, please endeavor to use it and not tenderloin. Remember, we lamented on that earlier on.

But if you plan on feeding only a few persons or in haste, consider a pork tenderloin — even if it is pretty pricey. However, pork loin roast is your best bet for special occasions or large crowds.

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