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pork tenderloin - winter cooking methods

Hi. I love pork tenderloin but all my experience cooking it has been over the grill. What do you do with it in the fall/winter when grilling isn't so feasible? I'm looking for techniques that will produce a moist, flavorful tenderloin. Since tenderloin is so lean I'm particularly worried that I'll end up with a stringy, dry, gross piece of meat. Recipes are welcome too. Thanks!

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  1. I actually just made pork tenderloins this week using a recipe from Real Simple... s&p the pork, brown on a skillet, pour in pasta sauce, top with bread crumbs + spices, and throw in the oven for about 10 minutes. It came out REALLY tender and moist, almost like a "faux chicken parmesan"-type taste to it. Not the fanciest thing in the world, but I really think that finishing off the pork in the oven with the sauce made the pork really moist and flavorful. Let me know if you'd like the actual recipe!

    1. I made this cocoa spice rub version just last night. The flavors were great.
      I would only add a sauce, maybe with red wine, on the next go round.


      1. I live in Florida so grilling is not an issue unless it's raining out, but sometimes I'll roast the tenderloin. After searing it on the stove like a filet, I then put it into a hot oven and turn off the heat. I really need to find this recipe because it worked out so well. If I find it, I'll post it.

        Then I make a wild mushroom sauce with cream and pour it over the sliced pork.

        1. Sometime I slice it and make medallions and saute, with cream,mushrooms and cognac.Serve it over a fettuccine.
          Balsamic Vinegar marinade, and roast, slice for great sandwiches.

          1. An iron skillet in a hot oven should approximate your grill method. The main thing is to watch the internal temperature, so you don't over cook it. A probe thermometer, which you may already have for use on the grill, is very useful. Though with practice a cook should be able to judge doneness by feel - how the meat responds when poked. Marinades and rubs can add flavor, but the important thing is temperature.

            1. Since it is just the two of us now, I take a pork tenderloin and slice it in 3/4 - 1" slices, and feeze. Then we have lots of pork steak, and I make these in many different ways. If we are having the family over, I marinate it and roast in the oven.

              1. Preheat oven to 375 and bring to temp. Heat olive oil (till it barely smokes) in skillet that can be used both stovetop and in oven. Sear marinated (I like soy/garlic sauce, or teriyaki) tenderloin on all sides, turning using tongs. Once seared, put skillet in oven. Cook exactly 17 minutes. This will read about 137 degrees internal temp. Remove from oven carefully and cover with foil. Carryover cooking will bring internal temp to 140-142, the perfect temp for juicy, slightly pink-in-middle tenderloin. I've done this hundreds of times, and it's perfect every time. Slice into 1/4" pieces and fan out on plate, serve with half-sweet potato and homemade mango chutney, dollop of sour cream.

                1. Sometimes pork tenderloin can be tough/dry. We've had good results with brining tenderloin for about 6 hours before cooking. Always come out moist and flavorful.

                  1. I use a recipe from the New York Times (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...) that says to brown the whole tenderloin, let it rest, then slice it into medallions and brown both of the cut sides--this is very simple and tastes great.

                    1. This is going to sound odd, but I swear by it. Salt and pepper the tenderloin and quickly brown it. Pour over it about 2 cups of whole milk and some white wine. Maybe broth if you like. Cover and braise in the oven until done, usually about an hour. Remove the tenderloin and puree the sauce. The sauce will look curdled before pureeing. Don't worry. Just a few seconds with an immersion blender and it's silky smooth. At this point, I add some dill and mustard powder. Cook the sauce down to thicken a bit. Now, just play around to taste. Sometimes I add more dill, sometimes more wine, sometimes more broth. Thicken the sauce by throwing in a handful of bread crumbs and cooking for a minute, and you're done.

                      I know, I know, it sounds odd. But it is so delicious, and the smell is wonderful, and the thickened sauce is so rustic and warming. It's a surprising treat, and the braising keeps the tenderloin SO juicy.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: katecm

                        That doesn't sound odd at all, sounds yummy. I think I saw Jamie Oliver cook chicken or pork in milk.

                        1. re: sweeterpea

                          Yes, it's a long-simmering Bolognese sauce – sugo. Fantastico!

                        2. re: katecm

                          How are you judging tenderness in this braise? What temperature is the oven?

                          I'm wondering whether a milk braise like this works for a tenderloin, as opposed to the larger full loin roast.


                          1. re: paulj

                            I've done it will all cuts, even chops . The tenderloin works just fine. Without as much fat in it, you aren't looking for a 3-hour braise. I cook it at 325-350, so it really only needs a short while.

                            I like doing the tenderloin because it is such an unusual presentation and because it is so fast. I prefer chops braised in a sweeter sauce, like wine, orange juice and dried fruits.

                            In terms of judging tenderness, the way I think of it is this: Because you're not trying to break down any tissues in the tenderloin, just to cook it and keep it moist, you really just need to cook it thoroughly in the liquid and steam. A fattier cut wants you to break down the tissues more, so that's where you need to worry about tenderness.

                        3. I think I saw this here but I can't be sure.....
                          Rub pork loin with some rosemary, sage, s&p
                          sear it in a skillet, finish in oven (i usually cook to about 140 even though the TJ's tenderloin package says to cook to MUCH higher temp)
                          Balsamic berry sauce: 3/4 cup berry jam & 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
                          I used knott's boysenberry, but next time going to try TJ's blueberry jam.

                          Also another fave that I think I got from epicurious:

                          season tenderloin (s&p, sage, whatever) & wrap with prociutto & drizzle with olive oil, roast in 350 oven. let it rest before slicing or the prociutto will just all slide off
                          you can also smear some dijon on the loin before wrapping if you like

                          1. Thanks everyone for your input. Many suggested doing what we do on the grill - sear over the fire (e.g. stove) and then cook in warm/hot indirect heat on the other side of the grill, covered (e.g. oven). This makes so much sense to me! Thank you!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: huruta

                              I marinate mine in Stonewall Kitchen's Garlic Teryaki Marinade (1/2 bottle for 2 tenderloin, in a ziplock bag. I do it in the morning, and let it sit in the fridge all day.
                              Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the tenderloin out, and place in a baking dish.
                              Place in oven, let bake for 40 minutes. While baking, I pour the marinade from the ziplock bag into a small pan, on stove, and bring to a boil (in case of bacteria), and reduce and simmer for 10 min. I take the tenderloin out of the oven after 40 min., cover loosely with foil for 10 min. Reheat the sauce, and slice the tenderloin to 2 inch think slices on an angle, place on a platter. Serve with rice and vegetables.

                            2. Here is a link to a Martha Stewart recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Honeyed Butter.

                              When I make it, I sautee chopped onions or shallots in the honey/butter mixture and add white wine to the pan before reducing the sauce. Always a BIG hit!


                              1. This may sound totally crazy, but it was really good. A few Sundays ago, I threw one in the crockpot. I covered it with broth, onions, garlic, pepper, and let it go for about 6 hours. It was delicious! The kids even enjoyed it. The left over broth worked well for gravy, too.

                                1. Slice tenderloin into steaks; I cut them on the diagonal. Prep a handful of shallots; reserve. Heat butter-olive oil until foaming, add dry steaks, brown on both sides. Remove. Lower heat slightly, add shallots and cook, shaking pan 5 min. Deglaze pan w/ Port wine, scraping bottom. Reduce wine slightly. Return pork to pan, cover and cook 5 minutes longer. They're cooked through and still juicy.

                                  NB: mushrooms w/ shallots are optional and delicious.