Pork Tenderloin Recipes, Tips and Cooking Techniques
Pork tenderloin is one of the easiest cuts to cook because it’s very lean, tender and very meaty. Because there is no bone in pork tenderloin, there is absolutely no waste, and so a typical 1-pound tenderloin easily serves 2-3 people.
The great thing about pork tenderloin is that it is very versatile and can be cooked in many ways: grill it, bake it, stir-fry it or pan-roast it! A pork tenderloin can be grilled over direct heat in 12 minutes, plus an extra few minutes resting time. This makes it a perfect cut of meat to cook for a quick and delicious weeknight supper. With a little thought and preparation, it is even elegant enough to serve at a dinner party; a stuffed pork tenderloin makes a very attractive centerpiece.
One of the biggest mistakes to make when following a pork tenderloin recipe is to overcook it. Long gone are the days when pork had to be overcooked and dry to ensure its safety. These days, the National Pork Board recommends that pork should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest time. During resting time, the internal temperature of pork continues to rise to 150-160 degrees and it is perfectly safe to consume at this temperature.
This all natural pork tenderloin can be grilled, broiled, roasted, or pan fried. The average weight is 1.25 pounds per roast.
Making a Pork Tenderloin Marinade
The first step in preparation is to use a good pork tenderloin marinade or rub to enhance the flavor or juiciness of the pork. Making a successful pork tenderloin marinade is probably a lot easier than you might think. If you’re looking for a really simple pork tenderloin marinade then you could simply combine garlic and olive oil, rub it all over the pork and then refrigerate it for a couple of hours.
For the more adventurous, try a Balsamic Vinegar and Herb marinade: combine ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 shallot chopped, ½ cup fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, sage, chervil, tarragon), 1 clove minced garlic, ¼ cup olive oil and place everything in a large Ziploc bag with the pork tenderloin, covering the meat well. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before cooking.
When making a pork tenderloin marinade, you can make it as simple and mild or as bold and flavorful as you like, depending on the dish you are preparing and how much time to have to allow the flavors to develop.
Using a Rub instead of a Marinade
You might prefer to use a rub on your pork tenderloin, instead of a marinade. Rubs are spice mixes that act like a dry marinade, but do not need to be applied so far in advance for the flavor to be well absorbed into the meat. Rubs can be applied in as little as 10 to 20 minutes before cooking, or longer if preferred.
Dry rubs work very well on any cuts of pork, but I especially like using them on chops or tenderloin. If you would like to try using a rub to flavor your pork tenderloin, then you will enjoy this YouTube video, which show how to make a spiced rubbed pork tenderloin.
Baked Pork Tenderloin Recipes
Baking a Pork Tenderloin
When the pork tenderloin is ready to cook, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before cooking.
Baking a pork tenderloin in the oven is a very quick and simple way to cook this cut of meat. Although it roasts very quickly, it can also be prone to drying out very easily too, so don't be tempted to roast if for longer than the recipe suggests. If it doesn't "look cooked enough" then just check the internal temperature. The internal temperature is your friend!
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Recipes
Stuffing a Pork Tenderloin
To really impress your friends at a dinner party, why not try a stuffed pork tenderloin recipe? Simply butterfly a pork tenderloin by slicing it lengthwise almost all the way through, open it out like a book, apply a prepared stuffing mix, and then fold it back up and tie it with string before baking it in the oven.
When sliced through, a stuffed pork tenderloin looks very impressive, almost like you've been in the kitchen preparing and cooking for hours. It's a great dish to prepare ahead of time and then just pop in the oven before your friends arrive - they will enjoy the aromas in the kitchen as your stuffed pork tenderloin bakes. With stuffing, these tenderloins generally take about an hour to bake, plus a little resting time.
The following videos explains step by step the technique involved in correctly stuffing a butterflied pork tenderloin - enjoy!
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Recipes
Grilling a Pork Tenderloin
When grilling a pork tenderloin on the BBQ, the best trick is to ensure the grill is really hot. So if you are using a gas grill then set the temperature to high, or if you are using a charcoal grill then use an extra layer of coals for good intense heat. Imagine that your pork tenderloin has four sides and grill each side for approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
As always, when cooking a pork tenderloin, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature and remove it from the heat once it has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it has been cooking at a very high temperature, the internal temperature will continue to rise after removing from the heat. "Tent" it with foil for about 3 to 5 minutes before slicing through and serving.