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How to Cook Sous Vide Pork Roast

Sous vide cooking has revolutionized the way many home cooks prepare pork. This moist heat cooking method allows you to precisely control the temperature to cook pork roast to the ideal doneness, ensuring it turns out juicy and tender every time. Cooking pork sous vide may seem intimidating to novice cooks. But it’s quite simple and requires little hands-on effort compared to traditional roast pork recipes. Once you learn the basics, you’ll be turning out fork-tender and succulent pork roast like a pro!

In this detailed guide, you’ll learn step-by-step instructions for cooking sous vide pork roast. Let’s get started!

The Benefits of Sous Vide Pork Roast

The Benefits of Sous Vide Pork Roast

Cooking pork roast using the sous vide technique offers several advantages over roasting it conventionally:

Precise Temperature Control

Sous vide allows you to set the water bath to the exact temperature needed to cook pork roast properly from edge to edge. This level of temperature precision ensures the meat turns out moist and tender.

Consistent Doneness

With traditional roasting, it’s difficult to achieve the ideal doneness throughout the entire roast. Sous vide eliminates the guesswork and cooks the pork evenly from the outer layers to the center.

Juicy and Tender Results

The low and slow sous vide method tenderizes the meat by gently breaking down the connective tissue. This produces exceptionally tender and succulent pork roast that’s never dried out or overcooked.

Better Flavor Extraction

Cooking the pork in a sealed bag immerses the meat in its own juices and seasoning, allowing the flavors to penetrate throughout cooking fully.

Convenience

Sous vide requires little hands-on time once the water bath is up to temperature. Simply submerge the bagged pork, walk away, and let it cook unattended.

Tips for Selecting Pork Roast for Sous Vide

While most cuts take well to sous vide cooking, bone-in pork shoulder roast (also called Boston butt or Boston shoulder) offers the best texture and flavor. Other excellent options include bone-in loin roast, boneless loin roast, and fresh picnic roast. Avoid pre-marinated or pre-brined cuts, which can turn mushy after prolonged sous vide cooking.

When shopping for pork roast:

  • Look for well-marbled cuts with thin, white ribbons of fat running throughout rather than large chunks of hard fat which can make the cooked meat greasy.
  • Choose roasts that are 10 to 15 percent larger than your desired cooked portion size. Pork loses volume during extended sous vide cooking.
  • Opt for roasts with the bone still attached (if cooking a Boston butt or picnic roast) for enhanced flavor and juiciness.

Now let’s get sous viding!

Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Sous Vide Pork Roast

Follow these simple steps for foolproof sous vide pork roast every time:

Preheat Your Sous Vide Device

Preheat your sous vide water bath to the desired final internal temperature (see the temperature/time chart below for reference). It’s critical to allow the water bath to come fully up to temp before adding the pork roast.

Prepare the Pork Roast

Pat the roast dry thoroughly with paper towels. Generously season all over with kosher salt and black pepper or your favorite spice rub. Coating each side ensures well-balanced, flavorful results.

Seal the Pork in a Cooking Bag

Place the seasoned pork roast in a sous vide cooking bag, removing excess air before sealing. The best bags for sous vide are BPA-free with a vacuum seal to prevent water from entering during cooking.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Sous Vide Pork Roast

Submerge the Bag in the Water Bath

Fully submerge the bagged pork in the preheated water bath, using sous vide weights as necessary to keep the bag down. Arrange multiple bags of roast in a single layer with space between portions so the water can circulate freely.

Cook According to Temperature Guidelines

Cook for the duration specified based on your target post-cook temperature (see our handy reference below). Resist the urge to under or overcook! Sticking within the time for your desired doneness level is key.

Remove and Finish the Roast

Once cooked through, remove the pork roast from the bags. Pat dry thoroughly. At this point, the meat will look pale and be too delicate to serve on its own. So it’s important to finish it with searing, broiling, or deep frying to develop a delicious, caramelized crust.

Sous Vide Pork Roast Cooking Times & Temps

Use these recommended time and temperature combinations for tender, juicy pork roast!

Doneness Level Sous Vide Temperature Cooking Time
Rare 135°F / 57°C 12 – 24 hours
Medium-Rare 140°F / 60°C 8 – 12 hours
Medium 145°F / 63°C 10 – 36 hours*
Medium-Well 150°F / 65°C 1 – 4 hours
Well-Done 160°F / 71°C 6 – 12 hours

*For roast with a thick cap of fat, cook at 145°F for at least 36 hours to properly render and soften the fat cap.

As you can see, sous vide pork roast can be cooked anywhere from 1 to 36 hours depending on personal preference and cut of meat. In most cases, a cooking time between 8 to 24 hours produces phenomenally moist, fall-apart meat.

Finishing & Serving Pork Roast After Sous Vide

Sous vide alone won’t give you the textural contrast and caramelized flavors associated with traditionally roasted pork. So properly finishing sous vide pork roast is a must for the best presentation, taste and mouthfeel.

Popular finishing methods include:

  • Searing – Quickly brown all sides in a hot pan or on the grill
  • Blowtorching – Use a culinary torch to form a crispy crust
  • Broiling – Slide under the broiler 3-5 minutes to char the exterior
  • Deep Frying – Dunk in 350°F oil 30-60 seconds for instant crispy bite

Pair the fork-tender pork roast with flavorful sides like

Pair the fork-tender pork roast with flavorful sides like:

  • Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
  • Glazed Carrots
  • Sauteed Green Beans
  • Buttery Mashed Potatoes
  • Herb Stuffing
  • Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
  • Dinner Rolls

Serving Suggestions:

For a showstopping meal, slice the pork and fan it out over the plate. Or pull, chop and shred well-done roast into bite-size pieces to use for sandwiches, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos, pizza, pasta, soups, and salads.

The concentrated meatiness of sous vide pork pairs wonderfully with sweet and spicy flavor accents. Consider topping with your favorite barbecue sauce, peach salsa, pineapple relish, cherry chutney or sweet & hot pepper jelly.

FAQs

Does Pork Need to be Seared After Sous Vide?

Yes, searing, torching or broiling is highly recommended after cooking pork sous vide. The high heat caramelizes the exterior for improved texture, appearance and flavor.

Can You Cook Already Frozen Pork Sous Vide?

Absolutely! Frozen pork roast cooks beautifully sous vide. No need to thaw first. Simply extend the cooking time 1-2 hours to allow for frozen status before dropping it in the precision water bath.

Is Brining Required for Pork Roast Before Sous Vide?

Pre-brining is not necessary as sous vide alone thoroughly seasons and tenderizes pork roast. If brining, cut back on added salt before bagging to prevent overly salty results.

What Happens if Pork Roast is Undercooked?

An undercooked roast would be unsafe to eat and have an unappealing slimy texture. If removed too early, simply re-seal and continue cooking sous vide until the innermost portion reaches the target temp.

Will Sous Vide Pork Roast Fall Apart?

Yes, with longer cook times (24+ hours), the pork can become so tender that it falls into shreds and chunks as you handle it. This “pull apart” texture works great for carnitas, BBQ, etc. For slicing, stick to under 24 hours.

Pro Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Struggling to accurately check roast temp? Use an instant-read thermometer after sous vide when searing/torching to confirm safe doneness.
  • Browning giving you trouble? Ensure the pork is very dry post-cook and your searing surface or oil is piping hot before adding meat.
  • Prevent greasy results by trimming thick sections of surface fat pre-cooking and reducing overall cook times.
  • Minimize moisture expelled during searing by first chilling the pork roast uncovered in the fridge post-sous vide.

The Takeaway on Sous Vide Pork Roast

With the right cut of pork, precise sous vide temperatures and some finishing love, you can achieve ridiculously delicious fork-tender pork roast at home. Pay attention to the details in this guide, stick to recommended cook times for your ideal doneness, properly pre-sear or torch the exterior, pair nicely with complementary sides and condiments, and prepare to impress!

Once you master the basics, consider getting creative with unique spice rubs, injected marinades, tender belly rolls stuffed with cheese/fruit/veg, creative crusts and toppings. The possibilities are endless with sous vide pork roast!

Conclusion

Cooking pork roast using the sous vide technique eliminates much of the labor and guesswork involved with traditional roasting and practically guarantees perfect doneness from edge to edge. With a few simple tools, attention to temperature and time, and some post-cook searing or torching, transform your Halloween pizza into a ghoulishly delightful masterpiece. Use this guide to achieve a perfect crust, then get adventurous with spooky toppings, inventive cheese blends, and imaginative finishing touches. Happy haunting and pizza making!

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