Pork Tenderloin for Everyone
Pork Tenderloin is simply divine. I love working with pork tenderloin because it’s so damn easy to work with as well as being a relatively low-cost cut of meat. Before we dive into cooking, let’s learn a little bit about our piece of pork. Sound good?
Pork tenderloin comes from the loin area of the pig. The loin is found in the middle of the swine in between the front and hind legs and about half-way up; everything below the ribs is where you find bacon. Essentially, the loin is the section of meat directly above the rib cage – you also get your pork chops from the loin area. While you can certainly roast an entire pork loin, today we will only be focusing on the tenderloin which is taken from the rear of the pork loin. For those health conscious eaters out there, you’ll be happy to learn that the tenderloin is almost entirely fat free. Much like everything, there is a flip-side to this: namely, that the tenderloin can go from perfectly cooked to overdone and dried out in a heartbeat. Before beginning, I’d recommend reading our guide to roasting (specifically the oven-safe probe thermometers section) so you can end up with a perfect pork tenderloin. Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s prepare our pork for marinating.
As I mentioned above, pork tenderloin does not have much fat so we really need to focus on injecting some flavors into our meat. Before we do that, we need to get our pork ready for our marinade. Most of the time when you go to buy pork tenderloins you will find them hermetically sealed in sets of two. Since I’m usually only feeding two people, I take the remaining tenderloin and stash it in some Tupperware in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. At this time you should have a cut of meat that looks a lot like this:
Now it’s time to turn our attention to the marinade. I’ve been making this particular marinade for a few years now, so I don’t really have a set recipe, I just kind of mix things together, taste and adjust the seasonings until I get it just right.
Our marinade is basically a hearty salad dressing. I take two sprigs of rosemary and chop up until decently small. I do the same thing with garlic cloves (somewhere between two and four of them). Next add in the salt and pepper followed by the balsamic vinegar and mustard (not pictured). Now, much like a salad dressing, drizzle in the olive oil until everything is thoroughly integrated. After that’s done, grab a one-gallon plastic bag and combine your pork and marinade together. Your final result should look like this:
Now that our pork has had a chance to become friends with our marinade, it’s time to get cooking. First things first, sear the outside of the pork to give it that lovely, crusty exterior. Real quick, this is why I love sauté pans so much; they are capable of going from the stovetop to oven with no problems. If you still need to be convinced that you need a sauté pan, check out the Sauté Pan primer.
Set the alarm on you probe thermometer’s base station to go off at 142° – we’ll add a few more degrees to the internal temperature as the meat rests. Speaking of which, remove your pork from the pan and loosely cover with aluminum foil for five – seven minutes before cutting with a serrated knife for serving. Want to see a shot of the final product? Yeah, me too.
Lessons Learned: Or What I’d Do Differently Next Time
I really liked the way everything turned out with this meal. The only thing I’d do differently next time is ensure my temperature alarm was set to “ON”. I was in the other room and started to wonder what was taking so long. Welp, low-and-behold, the alarm was set to silent and I had overshot my target temperature by eight degrees. Not a huge deal, but the pork was more medium-well than the perfect medium I was shooting for. In addition, next time I’ll probably just cook both of the tenderloins as I was craving some leftovers for lunch today. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing. If you have any questions or marinade ideas, please add them to the comments below.
- 2 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped
- 2-4 cloves of Garlic, diced
- A couple of squeezes of Dijon Mustard
- 2-to-1 ratio of balsamic vinegar to olive oil
- Salt & Pepper, as always
- 1 Pork Tenderloin, roughly one pound
- Remove the tenderloin from it's bag
- Whisk together marinade ingredients
- Preheat Oven to 400°
- Sear pork on all sides, roughly four minutes total
- Insert your oven-safe meat thermometer
- Put your pork into the oven
- Set your alarm to go off at 142°
- Remove from the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 5-7 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife