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pork tenderloin -- 2 questions

Almost 2 years ago we bought 1/2 pastured pig from a local farm, it came butchered and frozen. Recently I discovered that I still have the tenderloin in the freezer.

1. Can I still use it?

2. If I can, what should I do with it? It's a small tenderloin, about 8 inches long. Only 2 of us will be eating it. Normally I stir-fry store-bought pork tenderloins but somehow this seems like a waste.

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  1. Two friggin' years? Donate it to a museum. The Smithfield tenderloin in my clutches at this moment is 2.13 lbs, price was $7.43.

    1. Can you? Not sure. Would I? Nope. Might be "safe", but the taste is sure to be affected.

      1 Reply
      1. re: elfcook

        FWIW, it still looks beautiful. It was vacuum packed and there's no evident freezer burn, ice buildup etc.

      2. I wouldn't treat it as I normally do pork tenderloin but Id cook it. Perhaps some kind of braise, slow cook. It's flavor has almost certainly been compromised but there shouldn't be any other issues. I hate disputing Veggo, one of my CH heroes, but I doubt that the NPM (National Pig Museum) would have any interest in your donation.

        1. I would try, but be prepared with a plan B of take-out menus. Marinate for at least a day in a garlic/soy sauce mixture, teriyaki sauce, or the like. Something strongly flavored (I like Mr. Yoshida's Cooking Sauce), then dry it off, sear on all sides, and finish for 12-15 min at 375. If it tastes like the freezer, invite the nearest real, 4-legged hound to dinner.

          1. I'd take about a quarter of an inch off from it all the way around and smell it. If it doesn't smell like moldy drywall it's probably OK. Little bit of smell?, soak it in lemon juice overnight and roast with alot of garlic (restaurant trick) Of course I never did this.

            1. If it was vacuum-packed, it should be fine. Look for ice crystals - if you can't see any, the meat will likely be close to as good as it was the day it was frozen.

              For something different than stir fry, you could cut it into medallions and sautee it, then finish with a little lemon / caper / white wine pan sauce. Or glaze it with the fruit preserves of your choice or one of my old standbys, chicken stock and orange juice, reduced by by 3/4 and mixed with some pureed chipotle peppers.

              1. 1. Of course you can still use it ... assuming, of course, it was properly sealed when frozen (ie., no signs of freezer burn, etc.)

                2. Sear the pork tenderloin in an oven proof skillet or a cast iron pan, then finish off in the oven. Pair the pork with a spicy chipotle garlic sauce.

                1. if large ice crystals didn't form to desicate the meat from within, there's a very, very slim chance that the flavors have miraculously improved. the only way to find out is to go ahead and cook them like they were miniature filet mignon.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: epabella

                    Even if there is a slim chance, I'm going to start freezing my meat for two years and more. What a freebie if the flavors improve!

                    1. re: Scargod

                      I'm going to look up some old flames.

                      1. re: Scargod

                        according to IN SEARCH OF PERFECTION by heston blumenthal, the greatest steaks he's ever had were cut off from slabs of ribeye aged for 16 weeks in climate controlled storage. he said the whole room smelled like blue cheese - in a GOOD WAY.

                    2. I'd stick it in a 5% brine solution (plus anything else you want in there) for 4 hours before cooking.

                      1. My husband, son, and I still live in the same area as several of my other family members. We all share half a pig and half a beef we buy every couple of years. I can tell you that we have used this meat for up to two years after its packing date with little discernible difference in taste. Now we do keep our meat in a heavy duty enormous chest freezer. But as long as it was well-sealed and doesn't show signs of freezer burn, it's my experience that you won't have any trouble. Obviously you'll want to be sure that it's carefully and thoroughly cooked, but you'd want to do that with just about any cut of pork! If you're worried, a nice strong marinade never hurts.