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Want to cook a pork tenderloin but..

I am hesitant because mine end up tasting, umm porky. I would love a really good/tasty marinade for the tenderloin and basic instructions (ie: sear and then braise). Thanks!!

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  1. Personally, I feel braising a pork tenderloin or loin is not recommended. I prefer roasting and slow roasting at a temperature of 225*.


    If you do indeed mean the tenderloin piece of the pig (pork filet mignon), I would suggest a quick sear with a finish in the oven @ 375- 400* for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the piece of meat. For this cut, I prefer dry rubs and aromatics as opposed to wet marinades. Glazes are good for a change though. I would also consider stuffing the tenderloins. Once a client I was entertaining ordered a stuffed pork tenderloin with sausage, Provolone and spinach. I still dream about it..


    2 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      So that's uncovered, correct? Do you have a favorite marinade?

      1. re: sandih


        I have edited my original comments.....but for marinades, although I said glazes are good for a change, I prefer simple soy sauce or an Asian barbecue type sauce like Hoisin or Red Roast Pork (Char Shiu). Pineapple and Apricot (Duck Sauce) doesn't do it for me personally. Again, as I mentioned above, I prefer dry rubs like a Cajun inspired recipe or just simple kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. I would rather the latter be served with a mushroom wine sauce or a port wine reduction sauce....however, mustard recipes do sound inviting.....and anytime pork is served with apple sauce, to me it's a winning combination.

        You would not cover the meat ,and when roasting, it is best to cook on a wire rack in a shallow pan, no high edges..... a Frying pan is good or a cookie sheet both work well.

    2. My favorite way to prepare pork tenderloin is simple: coat with a mixture of dried thyme, salt and pepper, sear on all sides in a hot skillet with a little oil, then put in a 450 oven for about 10 minutes, or until it reads 155. From there, you can make a pan sauce, or even easier, just saute some spinach and shallots in the hot pan.

      If you want something with stronger flavor to cover the pork flavor, butterfly your tenderloin (basically, cut it in half lengthwise, but keep a hinge along the long side). Cut into thirds or fourths, then rub liberally with dijon mustard and coat heavily with cracked peppercorns (it'll take a lot of pepper - I use the bottom of a saucepan to crush them, since you want something coarser than you'll get out of a ginder). Cook over medium-high heat with a little oil, turning once. It probably takes 15-18 minutes, but I admit that I don't really remember.

      1. Pork Tenderloin is pretty mild actually. Are you sure you're talking about pork tenderloin and not pork loin? There are some significant cooking differences between the 2. Just double checking. As others mentioned, braising a pork tenderloin is not the proper way to cook it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I agree with you, HD. I find pork tenderloin almost requires something to enhance its flavor. And I tend to do them on the grill about 4 min. per "side" so a total of 16 minutes. But, yeah, a pork loin is totally different. Too bad the OP didn't clarify. Hopefully the right suggestions were followed for the right cut.

        2. Brine the roast for a couple of hours, rinse and pat dry. Add some fat to a skillet (bacon or oil) and sear at mid-high heat until brown on all sides. Roast in a very low oven covered lightly with foil to retain the moisture (it has very little) or cover the meat with a glaze and baste frequently. I prefer a fruit based glaze of marmalade, apple or other complementary fruit jam blended with Dijon and herbs. Make a pan sauce with the gravy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: alwayscooking

            Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll let you know what I decide and how it came out.

          2. This my simple marinade for a pork loin or tenderloin. Nothing hard, just marinade in a baggie and grill. If you can't grill cook in a cast iron on the stove to brown and then finish in the oven. Moist flavor galore, easy and I actually have it published in 3 local cookbooks. It can be served hot, warm and even cold is wonderful. No brining, nothing hard this is why I love this.

            In a large baggie mix the following: 1/2 cup soy
            3 tablespoons brown sugar
            1 teaspoon paprika
            1 tablespoon dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon dried mustard
            1 tablespoon cumin
            Lots of garlic like 6 teaspoons
            1 teaspoon ground ginger
            1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
            Fresh ground pepper

            Mix and add the tenderloin and make the night before. Let set all night and day and then grill and pan saute and finish in the oven. Amazing simple flavors. I promise you will love this. I have rave reviews every time and it is so easy. Just slice and enjoy.

            1. This is gonna sound really cheesy and definitely now chow worthy, but one day I was in a hurry. I had 6 friends coming over for dinner, didn't know until last minute, no food other than this pork loin ... Still had to go to the store (wasn't supposed to work that day) So ... I had a package of good seasons dry seasoning mix ... garlic herb. Mixed that with some red wine vinegar and a little olive oil, a sliced shallot and nothing else. Nothing special and then put in a baggie and it sat why I went to the store to buy food. Three hours later I made sides and some of my stuffed mushroom bread and some roasted brussel sprouts with grilled cabbage and onions and dinner was done. I have to admit. The pork was tender, great flavor, simple and easy. I made a simple horshradish mustard and herb sauce to go with the pork. A 5 minute marinade when you have nothing in the house.

              1. When I see unfavorable comments about pork tenderloin, I sometimes wonder if what I get is different from what is sold as tenderloin in other parts of the country. The tenderloins are about 4 - 5 inches in diameter about 18 inches long and taper to a point. They are very lean and cook quickly. I usually marinade in a variety of different flavors and grill quickly on the barbeque. Really don't overcook. Slice thinly and serve with roasted potatoes and a vegetable.

                I love terryaki or a lemon dill marinade but barbeque or a dry rub is good too

                2 Replies
                1. re: janetms383

                  You're description is right except for the 4-5" diameter. A tenderloin (IMPS/NAMP 415/415A) that large would be one heckuva pig. The IMPS standard weight for this piece is 0.5 to 1.5 lbs., so it isn't very big at all. Perhaps you meant circumference. I don't think I've ever seen one with the thick end (they do taper, as you say) more than 3" in diameter and usually more like 2". I totally agree that the key to a great tenderloin is simply not to overcook it.

                  In comparison, a pork loin (whole loin IMPS/NAMP 410, 10-22 lbs & up) has about a 5-6" diameter, and is even all the way - very little taper (although it is somewhat larger at the shoulder end than the sirloin). It is almost the entire length of the pig's body - anywhere from 20" to 30" for a full size pig. A pork loin requires very different cooking methods from the tenderloin. It is often cut into a short section or cut and folded (Top Loin Roast or Double Top Loin Roast). The center section is often left on the bone, in tact with the smaller muscles, including the tenderloin and made into a Center-cut Loin roast, or down further, a Sirloin roast.

                  Here's the IMPS series 400 (pork) guide from the USDA. It doesn't show pictures of each of these cuts, but it does provide very specific descriptions:

                  1. re: applehome

                    you are correct, I was approximating with out actually measuring and 2" - 3" is more like it

                2. FYI, another quick and simple recipe.

                  Rub the tenderloin with brown sugar, olive oil, crushed pecans, thyme, salt and pepper. Let marinade over night or all day. Pan sear in a mix of butter and olive oil just for a few minutes. Then to the pan add some sherry wine, a little chicken stock, 1 package of frozen peaches, thin sliced, use fresh if you can, but they aren't very good right now. Two thin sliced onions and some crimini mushrooms cut in half, some fresh apple juice, fresh thyme and rosemary, garlic and cook until medium. Remove and cover with foil. Take the vegetables and fruit out and also reserve and cover. Then let the sauce reduce a bit, check for flavor and add any salt and pepper to taste. I thicken with just a little corn starch mixed with water. It is a simple sweet and tangy pork dish. Always a great flavor. I like to serve with a nice hearty wild rice. You can also add apples granny smith to this as well which is very good or even pears. Both great flavors.

                  1. Posted a recipe for pork tenderloin with cinnamon and cranberries a while back. Seared and then roasted/braised. Easy and tasty. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5725...

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: carswell


                      Those are not anywhere near the same thing. To use roasted and braised interchangeably is incorrect.

                        1. re: HaagenDazs

                          Am well aware of the difference, TYVM, and I wasn't using the terms interchangeably. In this recipe, the tenderloin is partly submerged in liquid as it roasts. If there were a cover on the pot, it would be oven-braised. Since there isn't (though the end result would be almost identical if there were), roasting is technically the correct term. But there is also some braising-like action going on and and I didn't want the OP to skip a dish that addresses many of his/her concerns just because the word "braised" wasn't there.

                          1. re: carswell

                            Actually you don't need a lid to braise anything, so you are using the term roasting and braising interchangeably and incorrectly. Your practice of "roasting" with liquid is incorrect: that's braising. Roasting indicates dry heat like roasting a turkey or roasting a chicken. You are braising with liquid.

                            1. re: carswell


                              You are correct and HaagenDazs is wrong according to:


                              1. re: fourunder

                                You're leaving out the definition for roasting. Please post the definition of roasting up here.

                                If you want to argue that braising is only done when covered, that's fine, I'm wrong. But again, my argument is that you should not assume that roasting and braising (remember the "roasted/braised" quote that was used?) are not the same thing.

                                1. re: HaagenDazs

                                  No update on roasting definitions? OK here's a couple:

                                  -cooking (meat) by dry heat in an oven.
                                  -Roasting is a cooking method that uses dry heat, whether an open flame, oven, or other heat source.

                          2. re: carswell

                            I don't think I would ever braise a tenderloin. A quick grill or roasting and as applehome said, the KEY is not to overcook.

                            1. re: janetms383

                              Agreed, tenderloins cook quicker I prefer a pan sear and then a quick finish in the oven or grill. Loins I also grill with a lot of luck, but I love to pan sear and then finish in the oven. Braising is also good. Lots of ways to make both

                              1. re: janetms383

                                Don't know whether you meant to address your reply to original poster or me but, if the latter, I agree. In the recipe I linked to, the browned tenderloin cooks in a medium oven for about 15 minutes. Much longer than that and you end up with shoe leather.

                                1. re: carswell

                                  Sorry we agree, I can't remember I just agreed with you. I like my pork medium, still nice and pink and juicy. 160, but I take out around 145, usually get to medium pink, depends on if stuffed etc. I love the loins too stuffed. I make one in a crock pot, but whole different process. I stuff with wild mushrooms, onions and some bread crumbs and herbs, tie up and brown and then crock pot for several hours with a light ale and roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips. Cooked for 8 hours on low and it falls apart. That is the only other way that works good.

                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                    Is this an actual recipe? Would you share it? Sounds really good and I love my slow cooker.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Absolutely, let me look it up quick, it is very good. Not very gourmet, but comfort food to the max.

                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                        No rush but it does sound so good. And we're here in about two feet of new snow so it's even more appealing :)

                                      2. re: c oliver

                                        Crock Pot Pork Loin:

                                        Pork loin, whatever size ... I use whatever. This works with whatcha got;
                                        about 2-3 cups wild mushrooms, sometimes I have just used only criminis but I like to use a variety, please feel free to use what is in season; 1 small onion thin sliced; 1 small fennel bulb thin sliced; 1 cup bread crumbs, I used regular plain dried ones; 1 teaspoon dried thyme; 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning; Salt and pepper to taste; Olive oil to saute mushrooms and onions and fennel; Extra onions for the veggie bake; For the bake ... I like sweet potatoes peeled and cut in quarters probably 3-4 and then 1-2 parsnips, red pepper cut in thin strips is a good touch to this. 1 dark beer, 1 can chicken broth, 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of all purpose seasoning, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic. Or another plan I did a head of kale chopped up right at the end which was really good in the sauce. Just depends on what you like. Both work.

                                        Pretty much sautee the mushrooms, fennel and onion in olive oil. When done mix with the bread crumbs and herbs and mix well. Cut the pork loin so it makes a nice pocket and stuff. Tie with kitchen twine. I added it to the crock pot, added the onions and parsnips on the bottom, sweet potatoes on top and then poured the beer and broth along with the bay leaf and any additional herbs on top. Remember please feel free to add whatever. One time I did a mix of regular and sweet potatoes which was nice and I did rutabager too once. Add whatever veggies you enjoy. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. If adding the kale which is really good. I usually remove the roast to let set and then the veggies to a bowl also covered and then add the kale to the broth. It doesn't take long once done I remove and then cover and let set too. I take the broth and thicken with a little corn starch to make a good sauce. It isn't hard but great. And it makes 3-4 meals serving 4. It is amazing flavor.

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          And you brown before putting in the slow cooker, right?

                                          Thanks so much. We have family coming in in a couple of weeks and, depending on how many and how long, this could be a great after-ski dinner.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I try to yes, I haven't a few times, but if have times it is best. I usually brown the night before and set in the pot (no liquid) In the morning I cut the veggies and add everything together, add the liquid turn on, by then the pork is room temp and cook. It is wonderful and it falls apart.

                                            Where do you live, I love to ski, MI originally and miss it. I usually go out west every year.

                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                              We're *young* retirees so time isn't usually a factor for me but I really like that idea of doing that part ahead. Get the messy part out of the way.

                                              We're at Lake Tahoe in NoCal and we're finally getting our winter! Both daughters and SILs coming for a long weekend end of the month. I'll probably do Will Owen's pork shoulder but maybe your stuffed loin. You should come *cater* the weekend in exchange for room and board :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                I love tahoe, skied there several times ... Kirkwood, alpine, sugarbowl, squaw, homewood, stayed at Granlibakken in Tahoe city all 3 times. Love it, Beautiful. I would gladly cater :) I am a caterer, and love cooking for others. To me cooking should be humbling, warm and cozy, but still good. I am a single mom with a 20 year old, working, time is important. Shortcuts are important too, but I love quality good ingredients and I think you can do both. I still however love egg mcmuffins, junk food and my blog, a good fried sandwich. I'm not very picky when it comes to food so I guess crock pot and simple cooking is the best. Ok, I'm rambling ... no sleep and up too early!! Enjoy your guest and have fun.

                                          2. re: kchurchill5

                                            Hmmm, I did 1/2 a pork loin in the crock pot for the first time only about a month ago. Cooked it on low about 6 hours as I remember with vegetable stock and potatoes, carrot, and onion added later. While the loin was very good (seasoned to my liking) and it did indeed fall apart, it was also very dry, which was something I feared when beginning the experiment.

                                2. Two ways I usually do these, and I do'em a lot: salt, pepper, then bathe in oil (typically my favorite mix of olive and Chinese hot chile oil) with herbes de Provence, or beat Dijon mustard and olive oil to a paste and spread this over the meat, then roll in panko crumbs. In both cases let them sit at room temperature (if mustard/crumbs, on a rack) for about an hour, and preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Insert probe for remote thermometer, if you have one, and place meat on a rack in a pan, if it's not there already. It will take about 40 minutes to reach 145, which is done enough for us. This is good for a buffet dish, especially sliced on small rolls or biscuits.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    Since your pork shoulder with fennel seed, garlic, etc. is my new go-to for that cut, I definitely pay attention to you. But these two for tenderloin really got my attention. And I love the idea of serving on rolls or biscuits. Mmmm mmmm.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Just a hint here: the mustard/crumbs thing is damn good for lamb rack or chops and for pork chops, too, if you want to cook these in the oven. A good Dijon mustard - Trader Joe's has about the best, because it's always fresh - can absorb up to twice or more of its volume of oil whisked in. This helps to keep the moisture in. The only downside is if your pan is tinned copper, the mustard drips will discolor the tin, though I don't really care about that.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Mustard is great for all kinds of things like that, you're right. I often use it to help put a final sprinkling of BBQ rub on pork shoulder or ribs.

                                        1. re: HaagenDazs

                                          honey, sage and dijon with salt and pepper and garlic makes a great rub on pork chops or pork tenderloins. Nothing more. Roast and then serve with some carmelized onions and mushrooms and some white wine to make a thin sauce. Another simple quick favorite. This also great with carmelized onions and sweet potatoes, simple and quick in the oven.

                                        2. re: Will Owen

                                          I have a half rack of pork from Costco in the freezer. Sounds like a tasty way of doing it. I always buy a couple of those when they have them and I always wish I'd bought more.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Excellent way, over night I would. I would do in the oven vs grill. Grill could burn the honey more. But I've done it both ways, just takes more attention on the grill, but they cook quick too. I love the carmelized onions. Also ... add some diced granny smith apple and dried apricots is good to the carmelized, sherry wine.

                                            I also do all dried fruits and cranberries with brandy which is good. Some simple roasted potatoes, criminis or wild mushrooms and chippollini mushrooms are great too. Many options. Not hard and pretty easy.

                                    2. I like a nice balsamic reduction as the sauce to drizzle over sliced medallions: 1/2 cup of balsamic with 1/4 cup of your favorite preserves/jam - blueberry is awesome, then when it's thickened, add in some whole blueberry's. I made an interesting one this weekend, balsamic and ginger preserves (interesting)!

                                      1. If it is indeed a tenderloin, you could also wrap it in pastry a la beef wellington.

                                        Roll it in mustard and herbs as discussed below, fold the thin end over so it's about the same thickness it's whole length. Roll out some puff pastry (in the freezer section at my store), then wrap it, seal it, brush it with some beaten egg, give a few slashes for steam vents, and bake til done.