Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin: What’s the Difference?

Written by on November 15th, 2018 // Filed under Blog

The Difference of Cuts

If you’re carnivorous, you love pork meat. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are two comfort foods you may not be missing out in your diet. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are similar sounding but are actually quite different cuts of meat. While both cuts are delicious and make great choices for barbecue, they are treated differently. Not knowing their differences may lead to some kitchen errors or accidents.

Firstly, the main difference. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are not cut from the same part of the animal. They also look really different. Where pork tenderloin is thin and small, a pork loin is wide enough to cut steak-like pieces from it.

Pork loin is also called pork center loin and pork roast, thick pork cut from the pork’s back; specifically, from below the shoulder down to the leg. That’s why it’s large. Pork loin is a wide term that includes cuts you can find at the supermarket, like top loin roast, center loin chop, center-cut loin chop and more. It can be available with bones or boneless. Pork loin has a lean, mild flavor with thick fat on it. Though depending on the cut, the fat can be trimmed.

Tenderloin looks different. It’s also known as pork fillet and pork tender. It is available as boneless and comes from the muscle that runs alongside the backbone of the pig. It’s considered the most tender cut you can find when it comes to pork and it’s a very delicately flavored meat. Also relatively lean, it has a finely grained texture.

Now since these cuts of meats are different, you simply can’t cook them the same way. Pork loin has a very straightforward cooking method; the best way of preparing it is by grilling it over medium heat. The meat can be seared before slow roasting it in the oven or stir-fry on a pan. Since tenderloin is surrounded by a tough skin that needs to be removed first before anything else, you can grill and roast the tenderloin. The cut is much leaner and more delicate, needing less time to cook. It needs care so as not to overcook it.

Since pork loin and pork tenderloin have different textures, cooking times and flavors, you can’t use them interchangeably. You can’t substitute one for the other. If you have to substitute, the best alternative to pork loins is a cut called pork sirloin roast. It’s a boneless cut, very flavorful but not as tender. Tenderloin is a bit more difficult to replace. But lean cuts such as chops and neck will do, provided that a lot of fat needs to be removed to achieve the desired results.

Discovering the Difference in Federal Way

For that extra, delicious crunch, we at K-Ton ‘katsu’ our pork loin and pork tenderloin. It makes our cuts juicier and more enjoyable. You must also try our ‘curry’ version. Come see the difference at K-Ton in Federal Way.