Brown Sugar Pork Loin: How to Make a $7 Roast taste Like a Million Bucks
Updated: Nov 2, 2022
Wrapped in bacon and covered in a brown sugar glaze, this Roasted Pork Loin might be the best roast ever to come out of your Crock Pot.
While shopping at Aldi this week, I noticed a sale on deboned pork loin for $2.09 per pound, making an almost 3.5-pound roast cost a mere $7.04. That's a real bargain and left-over pork loin is a staple ingredient in some really tasty sandwiches, including a Bahn Mi or a Cuban., giving you even more budget-friendly options.
But pork loin can be notoriously dry if overcooked or handled without care, although it is juicy and delicious if done right. On a busy day, "done right" might involve putting it in a Crock Pot on a low setting for 4-8 hours. The great part about slow cooking is that it is incredibly forgiving for something like a pork loin roast and your lack of time to fuss will not show in the finished product. This recipe was inspired by a recipe on spruceeats.com, although I have made some changes.
First and foremost, take a close look at your roast before you purchase. Note whether someone has removed the fat cap that should be covering any pork loin roast. Most budget friendly pork loin roasts have had the fat cap partially or fully removed. In the photo below, about 2/3 of the fat cap has been removed.
If the fat cap has been trimmed away from part or all of the roast, you will need to add fat to the roasting process for the best flavor. The easiest way to do this is to simply wrap the roast in bacon, or to drape bacon over parts of the roast that are all lean. This has the advantage of putting some wonderful smoky flavor in your roast, and it blends nicely with brown sugar glaze.
When you are done covering the roast in bacon, make the glaze. In this instance, the glaze is 1 c sugar, 1 T Dijon Mustard, 1 T balsamic vinegar and 1 t of soy sauce. Mix well and put your pork loin in a Crock Pot or slow cooker. It's okay to cut the roast to make it fit. Salt and pepper the roast well and sprinkle it with garlic powder. Cover the roast with the brown sugar glaze and set it on low. Roast for 4–6 hours.
After 4 hours, check your roast and skim off any liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the Crock Pot and pour off this liquid. Mix 1/3 c brown sugar with a little cinnamon.
Rub this mix over your roast and cover and cook for an additional 45 minutes to one hour. Then check the roast again.
Pull it out of the crockpot and put on a platter or cutting board and let it rest. Normally, I really love pan juices, but for this roast, I find the pan juices a little too sweet. If you want to use them, put in a pan and use a good deal of salt or soy to balance out the sweet. You can also balance it out with some vinegar. Use caution with the pan juices without some spice correction because they will taste too sweet.
This roast is so tender, you can break it apart with your fork, and the juices come flowing out of the meat. This is not pulled pork--it is light meat, and it holds together like a true roast. I like to serve it with rice and a nice vegetable like green beans.
Brown Sugar Pork Loin with Bacon
Ingredients (Cost of Roast approx. $8.50, $11 with vegetable and side)
1 3–4-pound pork loin roast ($7.04, Aldi)
3-4 slices of bacon ($1, Aldi)
1 1/3 c brown sugar ($0.25, Aldi)
1 T Dijon Mustard ($0.10)
1 T balsamic Vinegar ($0.10)
1 t soy sauce ($0.10)
1/4 t cinnamon
Take your pork loin out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Mix 1 c brown sugar with 1 T Dijon mustard, 1 T balsamic vinegar and 1 t. soy sauce.
Salt and pepper your pork loin well and sprinkle garlic powder over the roast and put into your Crock Pot or slow cooker. It's okay to cut the roast if you have to in order to fit in your cooker.
Drape slices of bacon cut in half vertically over your roast and tuck them in under it.
Pour the glaze over the roast and distribute well. Cover and set on "low" for 4-6 hours.
6. After the initial cooking time, pour the pan juices out of the Crock Pot and mix an additional 1/3 c of brown sugar with 1/4 t of cinnamon. Rub over the roast again, cover and continue to cook for an additional hour.
7. At the end of the cooking time, remove the roast to a platter and allow to rest. Use caution with the pan juices - they are quite sweet and will require a correction with a lot of salt in order to not make the roast too sweet.
8. Serve with rice and a crispy vegetable.