How much salt should I put to 2 1/2 pound of pork loin?

  • Posted by: Tamara
  • December 19, 2015


Kristen W. December 21, 2015
Another approach, which I believe I read in Tamar Adler's book "An Everlasting Meal": take the amount of salt you think it needs, and then multiply that by five.
702551 December 20, 2015
Susan W.,

I cracked open my copy of the Zuni Cafe Cookbook and interestingly Judy Rodgers suggests 5-7 days in a milder brine for larger cuts of pork which she claims need more time to cure at a slower pace.

Her Basic Brine (for 4 pork chops or 2 tenderloins)
A few crumbled bay leaves, dried chiles, and crushed juniper berries (optional)
5 cups room temp water
6 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. salt (a little more if using kosher salt)

Simmer aromatics (if using) in a cup of water, remove from heat, let infuse 10 minutes. Combine with rest of water.

For larger cuts, she recommends increasing the water to 7.25 cups, brining 5-7 days, and removing the meat from the brine a day before cooking to let the brine diffuse evenly throughout the meat.

I just bought a pork shoulder roast myself, so I'm brining now.

It's a wonderful cookbook, she was a good writer and a great chef. Rest in peace, Judy. We miss you.
Susan W. December 20, 2015
Funny coincidence. I've eaten at Zuni quite a few times starting right after it opened. It was one of my favorite spots for Caesar salad besides Tijuana. I bought the cafe cookbook, but it mysteriously disappeared. I ordered a copy yesterday. Decided to get a hardcopy. Just one of those cookbooks I like to hold.

So, will you also inject it? What's your thought on salting it before it goes into the slow cooker? Cut back a little or just salt as usual? Most of it ends up in the fat and juices in the bottom of the slow cooker, but I add those to the meat as needed after shredding into big chunks. I may not need to do that with the wet brining.

Off subject, but did you ever eat at Barbara Tropp's China Moon? It closed after she became ill in the nineties I think. She passed away in 2001. Her cookbook is wonderful. Love her crab cakes.
702551 December 20, 2015
I lost/misplaced my syringe years ago and never replaced it, so I won't inject with brine. I don't have a slow cooker, but the Dutch oven works well. I think I am brining about 3 days, so I might use 3 Tbs. of salt (she calls for more when using kosher which is what I'm using).

Never ate at China Moon. I did eat at Zuni Cafe when Billy West was still running it. I wish he wrote a Zuni cookbook.

I miss Jeremiah Tower's Stars, Joyce Goldstein's Square One and Wolfgang Puck's Postrio.

But today we have The Slanted Door. Time marches on.
Susan W. December 20, 2015
Oh any slow cooker meal can be easily cooked in Dutch oven, oven...and visa versa. My apt has a horrible vent hood. I truly believe it makes noise, but that's it. I got into slow cookers because I have outlets out on my deck. I have never cared for lingering food smells. I also use them in the heat of summer to keep my second floor apt cooler. Now I use them because I love the results and really have them figured out.

Apparently, I lost my syringe too. Could have sworn it was in my deck storage unit, but no dice, so wet brine will be it. I'll cut the Hawaiian sea salt on the outside of the shoulder after the brine down a little.

My ex boss and good friend took me to SF around Christmas one year. Her plan was to surprise me with dinner at China Moon. It had already closed down, so we ate at Postrio. It was a memorable meal for sure.
702551 December 19, 2015
Later in her career at her own restaurant, Judy Rodgers herself back off from the salting guidelines that she published earlier in her Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

Like Susan W, I would start at 1/2 tsp. kosher salt per pound.
Susan W. December 19, 2015
Speaking of pork..I'm really into NomNom's Kalua pork. However, my only complaint is I want the salt to get into the meat a bit more. I'm thinking about doing the Judy Bird dry salt brine, plastic bag and and all, treatment to my next pork shoulder. What do you think about a 2-3 day brine on a 4-5 lb shoulder? I absolutely love the recipe otherwise. I use the pork after it's done by shredding and crisping it up in a pan and making machaca, tacos, tostadas, rice bowls. The sky's the limit. Here's the recipe.
Susan W. December 19, 2015
@CV..forgot to preface that this question is directed at you since you have spoken about dry brining previously.
702551 December 19, 2015
Hi Susan W.,

I'm adamant in my belief that dry brining is superior for poultry, based on my own numerous personal experiences in dry and wet brining chicken, turkey, and game hens.

However, I've gotten some great results wet brining larger cuts of pork. For this recipe -- which looks great -- I'd try injecting the brine into the pork shoulder with a syringe, start at 48 hours before cooking.

I'd still dry brine smaller pork pieces like chops and tenderloin. A medium size piece like center cut loin roast I might consider wet brining, but I'm usually too lazy and opt for dry brining.
Susan W. December 19, 2015
Turns out my boneless pork shoulder is only 2.6 pounds. Someone scooped up the nice large one with the pretty fat cap. I think I'll dry brine it. I ordered a 6 lb bone in from my farmer for New Years day football food, so I'll inject that one on the 29th. It will probably take 12-14 hours to cook on low. My big slow cooker is new, so it is hotter than my old one. Thank you for the injection tip. I haven't done that in years.

It's an awesome recipe. In the past, I've always crisped up carnitas in the oven at the end of cooking it. I really like doing it later right before assembling the meal.
Susan W. December 19, 2015
It depends on what kind of salt you are using. You would use more of a course sea salt than a fine table salt. Just rain the salt down as you turn the roast. A guideline from Judy Rogers (from Zuni cafe) channeled through Russ Parsons is 3/4 tsp of course salt per pound of meat. I use Diamond kosher salt most of the time and I probably go with 1/2 tsp per lb. I use course Hawaiian sea salt when I make carnitas. I do use 3/4 ish tsp per pound on that.
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