How to Butterfly Pork Loin and Impress Everyone at Your Table
Stuffed pork loin can stun at a holiday dinner or a regular ol' Tuesday, but in order to get there, you have to butterfly your pork. Making the first cut might seem intimidating when you’re staring down a whole pork loin, but our step-by-step by guide will have you confident in your ability in butterflying a pork loin for stuffing.
Step 1: Cut Down the Center
Place the pork loin fat side down on a large cutting board (Freshware Bamboo Cutting Board, $20.19, Walmart). Use a long, sharp knife (a chef’s knife like this Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife, $31.45, Amazon would be a great choice) to cut lengthwise down the center of the meat. Don’t cut all the way through—leave about ½ inch uncut along the bottom to hold both sides of the loin together. When you butterfly a pork loin, it's critical to not cut all the way through.
Step 2: Butterfly the Left Side
Place your knife at the base of the V you just created so that the blade is perpendicular to your first cut. Using shallow slices and the cutting board as a guide, cut through the left side of the loin. Maintain a ½- to ¾-inch thickness and unroll the meat as you cut.
Step 3: Finish Butterflying and Pound Even
Repeat the same cut on the right side of the loin, making shallow slices and unrolling the meat. You should end up with a flat, relatively even thickness across the entire piece of meat. If some areas of the pork are thicker than others, put a layer of plastic wrap on top of the meat and pound the thick spots with the flat side of a meat mallet. (We prefer the KitchenAid Aluminum Meat Pounder, $16.99, Target.)
Now comes the fun part! Once you’ve butterflied the pork loin, the tricky part is over and you can focus on creating your filling. Typically, pork loin stuffing includes a touch of sweetness from fruit, like cherries, apricots, or dried fruit pieces, and savory components, like veggies, wild rice, onions, or mushrooms. Fresh herbs are a popular ingredient to add to stuffing. Or create an herb-base stuffings like in our parsley- and cilantro-filled chimichurri pork loin. Whatever filling you choose, season your meat lightly with salt and pepper first then spoon on the filling. Starting on a short side, roll your pork into a spiral, and secure with 100%-cotton kitchen string. Then follow recipe instructions for roasting.