Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas
I love the fall and winter holidays, and I’m always looking for Thanksgiving food ideas. Today I’m sharing a recipe for pork loin with peach glaze. Pork dishes make wonderful Thanksgiving recipe ideas, as they’re very versatile. Don’t get me wrong – we always include more traditional meats, too. in fact, I always serve a smoked turkey, a fried turkey or two, and a smoked ham, but fresh pork dishes can be a nice change of pace or a great addition to your other Thanksgiving food ideas. The leftovers are wonderful, too. Sometimes we shred the leftover pork loin and combine it with BBQ sauce for tasty pulled pork sandwiches a day or two after turkey day. It’s also good in fajitas. For this, I just cut the leftover pork into strips and sauté it quickly in a skillet with peppers, onions, and seasonings. If you’re considering some Thanksgiving recipe ideas for fresh pork, check out my recipes for pork loin. Oh, and enjoy the Thanksgiving food pictures!
Thanksgiving Meal Ideas
Thanksgiving meal ideas can’t just be about the meats, of course. Although the turkey, ham, beef roast, or pork roast might be the main stars, you’ll need some great side dishes to accompany the flesh. When it comes to sides for roast pork loin or smoked pork loin, you’ll find that it’s pretty adaptable, so your choices are numerous. Personally, I think some great sides for pork loin are sweet potato soufflé, roasted rosemary potatoes, orange-cranberry relish, cornbread dressing, and rice pilaf. Of course, your Thanksgiving meal ideas for sides might be very different from mine. A baked fruit dish is also great with pork loin recipes, especially if you use a fruity or spicy glaze on the meat.
Recipes for Pork
We use a lot of recipes for pork – fresh pork and cured pork. For large cuts of cured pork, we like picnic shoulders and hams. I usually cook picnics in the oven, but we like hams on the smoker. My recipes for pork that isn’t cured are cooked in a number of ways – fried, grilled, baked, stir-fried, sautéed, or cooked on the meat smoker. I sometimes use my crock pot for recipes for pork, too.
Being a Southerner, I make a lot of pulled pork. For that, we almost always use pork shoulder, or Boston butt. A pork loin isn’t as good as a butt for making pulled pork, but for roast pork, I prefer pork loin. My recipes for pork loin usually involve a pork loin rub, along with a glaze or sauce of some sort.
Pork loin is often on sale at one of our local grocery stores, so I cook it often. I’m talking about a real pork loin here – not those tiny, expensive pork tenderloins. Even if the two cuts of pork were exactly the same price, I’d still choose the pork loin over the tenderloin. In fact, I prefer a bone-in pork loin to a boneless pork loin. Such a pork loin is like having baby back ribs and pork roast in the same cut of meat.
A pork loin is lean, but it’s not as lean as a pork tenderloin, so it’s juicier and more flavorful. Also, it’s easy to cut away the bones and be left with a large amount of white, boneless pork. When we cook a pork loin, the first thing I do once the roast is done is to slice off the rib portion. Hubby, on the other hand, prefers his pork without bones, so we’re both happy!
Pork Loin Rub
A good pork loin rub goes a long way in tenderizing the pork and adding flavor to the flesh. I always try to sort of match the rub with the glaze or sauce I’m planning on using. And, since most examples of pork loin are lean, I often add a little oil to my pork loin rub, too. I also like to use some apple cider vinegar in most of my pork rubs. It imparts a nice flavor, and it helps carry the dry seasonings into the meat. And since it’s acidic, vinegar also acts as a meat tenderizer.
Practically any pork rub works well with pork loin recipes, but since I’m using a fruit glaze, I like to use ginger and cloves in the rub. The specific pork loin rub I use with this recipe can be found below, in the recipe section.
How to Cook Pork Loin
I think a lot of people get confused about how to cook pork loin. One problem is the terminology. Is it a boneless pork loin, a bone-in pork loin, or a pork tenderloin? For those who aren’t familiar with a lot of pork recipes and cuts, it can get pretty confusing. A pork tenderloin cooks much faster than a pork loin does. Pork loins are much bigger and thicker, so they take longer to cook.
A pork loin can be baked or roasted in the oven or cooked on a smoker. The meat will take longer to cook on the smoker, and baking roast pork loin in the oven is probably a little easier for most cooks. Whichever method you choose, be sure not to overcook the meat. I cook my pork loin until it reaches an internal temperature of 145-150 degrees. After removing from the cooking source, I cover the meat with foil and allow it to sit at room temperature for about ten minutes before carving.
Roast Pork Loin
Roast pork loin is cooked in the oven. And yes, I use a pork loin rub for roast pork loin recipes, too. I set the oven temp at 350 degrees and tent the loin with foil to start with. After the pork has cooked for about an hour, I remove the foil so that the meat can get nice and brown, with a crunchy crust. Sometimes, when the meat isn’t browning as much as I’d like for it to, I might increase the cooking temp to 375 degrees after I’ve removed the foil tent. Depending on the size and thickness of the specific loin or loin roast, recipes for pork loin usually take 90 minutes to two hours to cook. But remember – the internal temperature is more important than adhering to a specific amount of time in the oven.
For a roast pork loin recipe with a glaze, I start brushing on the glaze as soon as I remove the foil tent. After the first brushing, I continue brushing on more glaze about every fifteen minutes. Once the roast pork loin is done, I add a final glaze. Also, I often make extra glaze to use as a sauce for serving.
Smoked Pork Loin
Roast pork loin is good, but smoked pork loin is awesome! For smoked pork loin, use a good rub and refrigerate the meat overnight. When you’re ready to start the smoker, leave the meat at room temperature for a few minutes. When the smoker has heated up and is making smoke, place the pork on the top rack, fat-side up. Close the lid and continue smoking until the internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees. This will take several hours.
If you want to use a glaze, you can apply it while the meat is still on the smoker, or you can do what I do. I remove the meat from the smoker when it reaches an internal temp of about 130 degrees. I then remove the pork loin from the smoker and place it on a foil-lined baking pan. I brush it with the glaze and finish it in the oven, at 350-375 degrees, adding more glaze every fifteen minutes or so.
Recipe for Pork Loin – with Peach Glaze
This recipe for pork loin is amazing, and I’ll bet if you try it, you’ll add it to your Thanksgiving recipe ideas! Below, I’ll give you my pork loin rub recipe and my recipe for the peach glaze. I’ve already given you the cooking instructions above, so you can decide whether to have roast pork loin or smoked pork loin.
Rate my recipe for pork loin - thanks!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
2 hours 15 min
- 5-6 pound bone-in pork loin
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Lawry's garlic salt with parsley
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons crushed rosemary
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup peach preserves
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Rinse pork loin and pat dry. Make the rub by combining brown sugar, garlic salt, black pepper, onion powder, 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary, ground thyme, powdered ginger, and ground cloves in a small bowl. Stir ingredients. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and oil. Stir well.
- Coat pork loin with rub and wrap in foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- Cook pork loin in one of the cooking methods described above.
- To make the glaze, combine peach preserves, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary, soy sauce, minced garlic, and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for one minute and stir. Brush on pork loin, using directions in above sections.
Thanksgiving Food Pictures
I’ve included several Thanksgiving food pictures here for your enjoyment. After all, the big day is just a couple of months away, and I know some of us are already thinking about Thanksgiving food ideas, organizing our Thanksgiving meal ideas, and searching for some new Thanksgiving recipe ideas. Maybe you’ll be tempted to try a recipe for pork loin this year. Honestly, I don’t think you’ll regret the decision. My recipe for pork loin with peach glaze in indescribably delicious! If you decide against this recipe, maybe some of my other Thanksgiving food pictures will inspire you – or at least make you hungry! If you'd like the recipes for the foods in the pictures, you can find them on my cooking website, Best American Food, or follow the links from my Hubpages profile page to the recipes on Hubpages.
Jamie Brock from Texas on August 30, 2012:
Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering.. can't believe Thanksgiving is already right around the corner but I'm definitely happy about it.. These Texas summers are killing me. Voting up!! PS That pumpkin ginger cake looks great, is there a specific brand of gingersnap cookies that you buy? I wonder if you could sub creme cheese frosting for the cool whip?
breakfastpop on August 28, 2012:
Yummy. I love the idea of pork loin because I really am not a big fan of turkey. Thanks for the recipe.
drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 27, 2012:
Mmmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmm. I swear I can taste this yummy pork loin just from reading your delicious recipe and gazing at the luscious-looking photos. Way to go, Holle.
mio cid from Uruguay on August 26, 2012:
I'm definitely going to try this pork loin this year.Every year I say I'm not going to make a turkey , just a turkey breast,because it ends up going to waste for the most part, everyone has a small piece of turkey and everything else and I end up struggling the rest of the week trying to finish the turkey, but I end up making a turkey in the end because I feel if I don't make a turkey I hate Jesus.This year armed with this recipe I will just make the turkey breast .