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Pork Tenderloin Recipes, Tips and Cooking Techniques

Updated on July 2, 2013
Sliced Pork Tenderloin
Sliced Pork Tenderloin | Source

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.

Pork Tenderloin Roast 2pk/1.25lb
Pork Tenderloin Roast 2pk/1.25lb

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.

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!

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!

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.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Asparagus Coleslaw
Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Asparagus Coleslaw | Source


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    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I love pork tenderloins also. My husband and I have it often. I never did think of stuffing it though. That sounded like a great idea that I'll have to try. Thanks for the idea.

      Happy New Year.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I really got hungry reading this. Lots of good suggestions for those who might never have cooked a pork tenderloin before. Sounds wonderful and love the photos. Voting up.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      That's great Don! Following you as well. Your tips for newbie hubbers are just excellent.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 6 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Voted UP and Useful.Good Info Cloverleaf. I am now a follower! Keep up the good Hubs!

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Gordon,

      When I lived in the UK I never BBQd anything because of the climate issue! Haha. But in Canada it seems quite normal to go out onto the deck in temperatures of -30 celcius and turn on the grill. I let my husband do that, though :-)

      Cheers for your comment Gordon, keep your own recipes coming, I think they are brill!


    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi LocoLifeTech,

      Your OJ and brown sugar marinade would be very tasty I think, thanks for this great suggestion! I think deer tenderloin would be delicious, too.


    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      I love pork tenderloin, Cloverleaf, and you certainly include a great many ways of cooking it to perfection. The one way I have never tasted it is barbequed (climate issue! :) which I'm sure you understand) but the next time I'm over in Germany I must try to get hold of some and grill it there.

      Glad you point out the overcooking issue. I never paid much attention to that with tenderloin - though I'm still more careful with other cuts of pork.

    • LocoLifeTech profile image

      LocoLifeTech 6 years ago from Everywhere, US

      I absolutely love this hub! Your marinade is what I also use, and sometimes I'll use a wine or OJ based marinade with some brown sugar, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and then throw in my slow cooker. It will literally fall apart. When using deer tenderloin, I try to soak in marinade for a least 8 hours.

      Voted up, thanks again!

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi homesteadbound,

      You are so wonderful to come and comment on my hub anyway. I always appreciate your comments and look forward to your daily visit! Thanks for the votes,


    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Even though I no longer eat pork, this looks really good. But I won't be tempted. I'm sure lots of people will enjoy this. Great hub. voted up

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Susie, mmm yes spicy pork tenderloin is very yummy. It's an added benefit to be able to buy the tenderloin with the spices already rubbed in. Good job!


    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      I bought pork tenderloin a couple of weeks ago; it already had all of spices rubbed into it. It was so delicious! We finished it off in no time. Thanks, Cloverleaf.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Movie Master,

      Yes indeed you are the head chef when it comes to cooking pork; I think you should write a hub about your famous pork belly and cracking one of these days!


    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi randomcreative, I much prefer to cook tenderloin over pork chops, they just seem easier to me and the meat is not as dry. I hope you enjoy cooking one soon.

      Willstarr, oh what a good point I never even thought about mentioning sandwiches in my hub! I bet your breaded tenderloin idea would be seriously yummy. Thanks for that!


    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Cloverleaf, pork is my favourite meat as you know and you have some terrific recipes here.

      Great information chef! x

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You can also tenderloin for delicious sandwiches. Cut a slice about half an inch thick, and place it in a gallon size plastic bag. Using the smooth side of a kitchen tenderizer, pound it out to a very thin circle. Moisten with an egg wash and then dredge in a seasoned flour/cornmeal mixture. Fry golden brown and serve on a hamburger bun.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks for all of the great recipes! I make pork chops pretty regularly but not pork tenderloin. I'll have to give it a try sometime.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi tarrka,

      Sounds good! I think we would make a great team :-)

      Thanks for all the votes!


    • tarrka1089 profile image

      tarrka1089 6 years ago from Ohio

      Ok, I vote you prepare the pork the various ways and I'll taste test! ; ) The two stills you used made me hungry! [voted up and useful]

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Sunshine,

      You're so kind :-) I love making pork tenderloin for my hubby because it's one of his favourite meals and he thinks I've spent hours in the kitchen because it tastes soooo good! Sometimes I just take a bottle of Jerk Marinade, mix it with the pork, and let it sit for a couple of hours in the fridge. 15 minutes before he comes home I pop it on the grill and serve with rice and veggies - easy!

      Thanks for pressing all the buttons :-)


    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hiya Cloverleaf...I LOVE pork tenderloin and you did an outstanding job with this hub! Made me want to cook one this week, thanks for the dinner idea! :)) Up/Awesome/Yummy

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi preacherdon,

      It's my pleasure! I always enjoy meeting someone like yourself who it passionate about food and enjoys to cook. I hope you enjoy cooking your next pork tenderloin and thanks so much for your comment :-)

      All the best,


    • preacherdon profile image

      preacherdon 6 years ago from Arkansas

      Looking good. Thanks for all the good information, Cloverleaf. I love to cook and I will be putting some of these tips to good use.