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Pork tenderloin

Need a good receipe for a 2 lb. pork tenderloin. Recipe can be for grilled or oven roasted or whatever.

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  1. I did one last night.

    I don't think mine was 2 lbs though, maybe half that. I buy them in a cryopack that has two tenderloins, so I froze one and seasoned the other with a Cajun blend (that also contained Spanish smoked paprika), and extra seasoning salt. Rubbed that in really well.

    I fried a couple of rashers of bacon in a cast iron frying pan and using the bacon fat, I seared the pork loin on all sides. When good and seared, I loosely covered it in aluminum foil and put into a preheated 375' oven for 15 minutes.

    Then I turned off the oven and let it stand without opening the oven for another ten minutes.

    (I put the bacon in our salad.)

    Then I put the tenderloins on the cutting board and recovered with the foil while I made the pan sauce. A little flour to bond with the bacon fat and pan juices and then deglazed with tap water. Blended well and let reduce and we ate.

    Sliced the loin and drizzled with the pan sauce, (but it was perfectly cooked, fork tender and juicy).

    Served with a green salad, purple hull peas and fried okra.


    1. I like to butterfly the loin and roll some raisins, walnuts and brown sugar up in it, wrap it in bacon and roast. Many variations can be made from this simple one to more complex. Served with a pan sauce it is wonderful.

      1. I'm planning on doing one this week by just coating it with olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a little garlic, browning it on all sides and then finishing it in the oven. Then I'm going to take some of the basil I still have in the garden and making a pesto to put over the slices. Yum! There are so many recipes out there though.

        Last time I marinated in a wasabi, ginger and lime dressing. I always cook it the same way - brown the sides and finish in the oven. While the meat rests, make a pan sauce with the drippings. (Unless I'm doing a completely separate sauce i.e. the pesto).

        1. I love pork tenderloin sliced into medallions. I have made this recipe a bunch of times and it always goes over well. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/po...

          1. First, it is likely that the package you bought contains two tenderloins - they are usually not more than a pound each.

            Cook's Country has a good technique for more even roasting of this unevenly-shaped cut. Butterfly the two tenderloins, leaving at least 1/4" attached. Turn them heat to tail so the thin end of one aligns with the thick end of the other. Place whatever seasoning paste or stuffing you want onto both of the tenderloins, then fold then lengthwise and overlap so they form two interlocking "U"s. Then tie and roast. The fact that this is a thicker piece of meat means you get a browner exterior than if roasting separately. Still, IMO it wouldn't hurt to lay a strip or two of bacon over the roast, since tenderloin lacks a fat cap.

            If doing them separately, a sear with 15 min in a 375 oven is the way to go if you want it whole, but medallions help you compensate for the uneven shape. Either way, my favorite marinade is soy sauce, apple cider, garlic powder, dried summer savory, and mustard powder. Anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days, dry the meat before searing.

            3 Replies
            1. re: greygarious

              Speaking of Cook's Country, I used their recipe for Everything Bagel Crusted Pork Tenderloin, and it was fantastic - both for dinner that day, and for leftovers.
              Link to the recipe:
              Link to my blog post:

              1. re: Krislady

                That sounds excellent - I love Everything Bagels :) And I really like the techniques. Thanks for sharing.

              2. re: greygarious

                Yeah, you can flip the tail and tie it. Recently, I have been cutting the tapered end off and slicing it and freezing it for when I do stir fry.

              3. Poke small holes all over and stuff with slivers of fresh rosemary and garlic. Coat outside with sea salt and a little pepper. Grill on rotisserie until instant-read thermometer reaches desired temp.

                1. Season the loin then sear it in a pan w/ olive oil and let cool.
                  Brush loin with whole grain mustard, then roll the loin in fennel seeds and pop it in a hot oven until just done. Let rest.
                  While resting, use the same searing pan to cook off some onions and apple slices, until tender and sweet, de-glaze with white wine or cider vinegar and reduce a little. Serve with thyme roasted potatoes.

                  1. Brine it in soy sauce and a tablespoon of brown sugar for an hour. Dry it and sear it then finish baking in the oven. I put bbq sauce on mine the last 15 minutes. You could certainly do this on the grill too. Be sure to put it on the cool side of the grill after searing though.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      Hi Hank- how much soy sauce for 2lbs? and what temp of oven?

                      1. re: drewb123

                        I'm not sure. I would guess a few ounces. I put them in a big ziplock bag and put in enough that they are covered once I remove the air from the bag then I roll up the bag and put it all in the fridge.

                        I have never seen a 2 lb tenderloin. That's a pretty big hog. I usually buy mine in a cryobag and there is two in there that, together, weigh about 2-2.5 lbs.

                        After about an hour I rinse them off, pat them dry, season them with salt, pepper and garlic powder and sear them then I bake them at 350 until they reach about 150 degrees. Somewhere around 135 - 140 degrees, I put some bbq sauce on them.

                        It would be smart to tie the tail or cut it off and use it for something else.

                        The soy sauce not only brines the pork but adds a very nice flavor of it's own.

                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                          I have, recently, taken to brining pork tenderloins with soy sauce and pineapple juice. The pineapple juice tends to tenderize and supply a sweetness. Although, tenderloins rarely need tenderizing.

                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            Pineapple juice contains bromelin, an enzyme that acts as a protease - it breaks down protein, hence the tenderizer effect. But a couple of caveats:

                            1) like any enzyme, it has an optimal temperature at which it works, and high heat destroys it. For bromelin, it works best at 40-60 degrees celcius, so marinating in the fridge means bromelin will have no or little effect. It also means that the pineapple juice has to be fresh - canned or bottled juice is heat pastuerized above 65 C, the temperature at which the enzyme begins to denature.

                            2) When used fresh and at the right temperature, bromelin is a strong protease, and it can easily turn your meat to mush.

                            Personally, I'd keep pineapple juice away from tenderloin, given that commercial pigs have been bred to have a ridiculously lean and tender loin, which needs no marinating (but can use lots of flavor, since today's tenderloin is devoid of porky flavor goodness.)

                    2. I make an easy pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin that I got off the food network website.

                      I've changed it only slightly, by using less garlic and no wine just broth. I also use a digital meat thermometer that I can set so it feel like it cooks its self. It's always moist and my family loves it.

                      1. I cook pork tenderloin semi-regularly now. I'll rub the two tenderloins that come in the package with kosher salt and cracked pepper, then sear each side in a hot pan. Then I'll oven-roast them with a balsamic reduction mixed with either black cherry or apricot preserves. Sweet (pork goes great with fruit!), but also salty and pungent enough from the balsamic vinegar to keep from being too sweet. I cut it into medallions, and it's usually a big hit. I wish I could get the outer surfaces a little crispier, though.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                          I marinade my pork tenderloin in peach or cherry preserves, mixed with thyme, spicy brown mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and a splash of olive oil. Then I roast it.

                          1. re: momnivore

                            Question: does it taste like the marinade, or does it taste like pork? I've avoided pork tenderloins in the last few years because I've been very disappointed with their lack of flavor. I used to make them very often because they were easy, fast, and a nice lean source of protein that could take on all sorts of flavors. Then I realized that the main flavor it was lacking was that of pork itself.

                            All that being said, I do have a tenderloin in the freezer from a small family farm raised pig that I'm looking forward to trying. And you're marinade sounds darned tasty.

                            1. re: foreverhungry

                              It is a mild flavor - it doesn't taste like bacon or pork chops (if only everything tasted like bacon!). But I still like it - I don't make it as a fancy meal but for an easy family dinner it's a nice variation from chicken breasts. And I think if you have a tenderloin from a local farm it is bound to be much meatier tasting.

                              1. re: momnivore

                                Agreed - like it's beef counterpart, it's a muscle that simply doesn't tend to have a ton of flavor. But, it's an easy piece of pork to cook. Oy. I've gotta admit something.

                                I love pork. Given one animal, pork is my favorite. By far. It's not that I don't love a good steak (ribeye, please), or a good roasted chicken, (mmm or duck...), but for versatility and flavor, pork has it all.

                                But my 3 least favorite pork products are...in this order....pork chops, tenderloin, and bacon. Let me explain before flames start.

                                Pork chops: they dry out. Plain and simple. Unless they are 2" chops, they dry out. In large part because of the pork industry's drive to be "the other white meat". They bred the marbling out of pork. Not the fat - there's plenty to be found - but the marbling in certain cuts, like chops. I avoid a pork chop like the plague.

                                Tenderloin - see comment above. Devoid of natural flavor, and becoming more and more so in the "other white meat" era. Small farm pigs, OK. Supermarket stuff is just a vehicle for protein and sauces. Nothing wrong with that - unless you want to taste the protein.

                                Bacon - yeah, I like bacon. But probably not as much as the average guy (I'm a guy). I find different uses for pork belly. Don't get me wrong - I love smoke. But average bacon? It's OK. I just don't go gaga for it. Again, to me there are better uses for pork belly.

                                Chicken breasts....haven't bought boneless skinless breasts in a long time. Same thing. As a source of protein, it's great. But no flavor. Farm raised, bone in, yeah, those I think can stand up to flavoring. But the average supermarket breast is just kinda bland.

                          2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                            My recipe very similar to Voodoo Lou; agree with everything above, also the brine (salt and brown sugar) makes world of a difference. Posting my recipe (already made it twice since Christmas, my family went crazy over this.) Mine gets roasted to 160 degrees internal temp.and then pulled out. The texture is like butter and it makes a great brown sauce (no discernible pineapple or plum flavor). The recipe after the brine could probably call for less salt, but we like it as is.


                          3. Butterfly. Layer up with thin slices of garlic, chopped pruines & sage leaves. Tie back together. Roast. Slice thickly.

                            Leftovers, sliced thinly, work quite well as a sandwich filling.

                            1. These are all great suggestions!
                              We usually just marinate the pork overnight in crushed garlic, cracked black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

                              IMO the most important point is to Not overcook - use a remote read thermometer! Roasting a small tenderloin on time alone is asking for trouble ...

                              IIRC the temp for 'just pink' is about 140 - 145 degrees F - remove, cover and let rest - the temp will coast up about five degrees.

                              1. One of the best pork tenderloin recipes I've ever tried was from Tyler Florence for Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri. I give it five stars.


                                1. You can cut the tenderloins into medallions, wrap a piece of bacon around them. Sprinkle on some chili powder and maybe a little cayenne if your adventurous and grill them. It is so popular in Texas, my grocery store sells them that way.

                                  I love the idea of butterflying and stuffing them. I would love to hear some more ideas for the stuffing.

                                  1. haven't read the responses but no matter.
                                    my favorite thing to do with a pork tenderloin in season well on the outside and rub with olive oil or butter then wrap in bacon to completely cover and bake until done.
                                    crisp bacon, yummy buttery pork, what's better...

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      You BAKE a pork tenderloin? Could you give details please? Mine cook in about 15minutes so would be interested in your baking technique.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        well yes I do unless I'm turning it into individual slices, then I sautee.
                                        about 380* for 25-30 minutes, you don't want it dry, and it's baked uncovered.
                                        with my digital thermometor probe, it makes it easy to not over bake

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          I brown on the stove and finish in the oven---350 for 'bout 15 minutes.

                                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                            I honestly can't remember the last time I did a pork tenderloin in the oven. Mostly on the grill, occasionally stovetop. I thought that time and temp sounded kinda high and long. Thanks, 8"

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I made one similar to iL Divo's method not too long ago. Baked it in the toaster oven uncovered for quite awhile, ~30 mins on 375, I think. Came out perfectly pink in the center with crispy golden bacon around it. I think the bacon acts as a protective shield. I sliced it into medalions and we ate it with stone ground brown mustard (Plochman's). It was really good and really easy.

                                        2. re: iL Divo

                                          I would think the oil/butter is superfluous, with the bacon rendering plenty of fat. What is your target internal temperature? I can see it taking that long to get the bacon crisp when the underside is not exposed to direct heat, but it still seems a bit long for the tenderloin.

                                        3. i like to cut mine into medallions, pound it flat, and cover it in a rub of flour, cumin, brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and pepper, then brown it off in a pan, and as it finished toss in some dried cherries, balsamic vinegar, capers, and a little more brown sugar. so good!

                                          1. Braised pork loin with apples and onions

                                            Slice a couple of onions and peel and dice some apples. Saute the onions in a heavy bottomed pan until they start to soften. Add the pork to brown. Add the apples, some water and a tablespoon or two of cider vinegar, a bit of cinnamon and cloves, salt and pepper. Braise until the pork is tender and the the apples and onions are soft and very well cooked.

                                            Meanwhile, mix some brown sugar, a bit of cider vinegar, mustard powder, and salt and pepper into a paste. Remove the pork from the sauce, coat with the mixture, and put under the broiler for a few minutes until the sugar starts to carmelize.

                                            Slice, and serve with the apple onion sauce. It goes well with garlic mustard mashed potatoes.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                              Up until the next to last paragraph, this sounds somewhat similar to basically the only pork tenderloin recipe that I make that's NOT on the grill. I love that ending.

                                            2. I've made one for years from an old Bon Appetit Restaurant recipes book. It's called Sweet and Pungent Pork.
                                              It's cut into 1" cubes, dipped in a cornstarch batter and deep fried.
                                              The sauce is a vinegary/sugary mixture with a bite of heat to it. It's not a pineapple sweet and sour. It includes carrots and stir fried broccoli in the sauce, sometimes shiitake mushrooms.
                                              Serve over jasmine rice.

                                              1. So here's my problem with pork tenderloin. First off, I'll say that I love pork, and I used to prepare pork tenderloins very frequently - they were one of my go-to dinner main courses. In theory, they're awesome - fast to cook, they can be dressed up or dressed own, stuffed, grilled, sauteed, whatever.

                                                But the problem is, most pork tenderloin just doesn't taste like anything. Sure, they're tender to the point you don't need a knife, but the pork turns into just a protein packet. Now, there's nothing wrong with that - tenderloin is a great way of getting a big dose of a lean protein, like a chicken breast. But like a boneless skinless chicken breast, today's mass-manufactured tenderloins are devoid of any flavor.

                                                Notice that many of the recipes above use bacon - a heavily flavored pork product - to give this pork product some flavor. All the other suggestions - and there are many excellent sounding ones at that - seem to be about providing flavor, not enhancing or complementing the pork's flavor.

                                                Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. There are tons of recipes where the main meat or vegetable is really just a vehicle for added strong and bold flavors, like spices. But is this really what pork tenderloin has become? Simply a lean protein provider, with little innate flavor, that gets covered with other flavors?

                                                Personally, I think there are many cuts of pork that have excellent pork flavor, cuts that can be eaten "naked", or whose flavor can be enhanced or complimented with other ingredients. In a way, it's like the beef tenderloin - revered for its tenderness, but as beef goes, it's probably the cut that has the least beef flavor. Filet mignon is eaten because it's chic, because its tender, but certainly not for its flavor. Is this the same with the pork tenderloin?

                                                Finally, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted apples, I'll eat apples. If I wanted cranberries, I'll eat cranberries. There was no reason to buy a fairly expensive (in the pork world, anyway) hunk of meat, and cover it up with inexpensive ingredients, whose flavors are the only ones I'm going to taste. I haven't cooked a tenderloin in a while. And that's too bad. I have a small-farm raised, heritage breed tenderloin in my freezer I'm going to make soon. I'm hoping that one will be different than the mass-manufactured ones.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: foreverhungry

                                                  I think you make an excellent point. I used to always have one or two in the freezer but can't think of the last time I cooked one. If they were cheap I would, but they're not. Thanks for pointing this out.

                                                2. I'm having a pork tenderloin tonight. It's about a pound.

                                                  I mix up a teasp or so of thyme, oregano, rosemary, some kosher salt, some pepper, add some olive oil, smear it all over, roast at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. It will release wonderful, flavourful juice at the end - that's how I know it's done. Not very scientific! Let rest for a few minutes. Slice and pour the juices over. Yummy!

                                                  1. To the many great replies here, I'll add one more with a slight technique variation: essentially, you season and marinate the meat in mostly savory fashion with some oil, salt, pepper and herbs, then sear it on all sides, then fashion a kind of tin-foil vessel and fully enclose the meat along with some orange juice and raisins (the sweet stage) to bake/roast until done.

                                                    This is an approach I found in a Martha Stewart book years ago when visiting friends, and it is one thing that leaves me feeling grateful to Martha. It's really good!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                      Many excellent suggestions. I was looking for an option for pork medallions, but I thought I'd throw out this recipe for Pork Wellington originally published in Cuisine at Home magazine a number of years ago. It isn't something that you can do without a bit of planning, but the results have always been well worth the effort IMHO. I haven't tried the apple-sage sauce, but the dish is fine without it.


                                                    2. I've got all kinds of ways to bump the appeal of this innocuous but still tasty meat; I do NOT want it tasting like anything it's not, but more like itself than it can manage on its own, if that makes any sense. Whatever I'm going to do I salt and pepper it at least two hours before cooking and leave it in a safe place at room temperature, then I put it on a rack in my larger oval gratin pan, stick the remote thermometer probe into it and roast to 140+. Even after sitting it'll be almost still bloody in the middle - Chris Kimball would PLOTZ!! - but that's how we like it.

                                                      My favorite simple way to make it interesting is to mix about half a cup each of olive oil and Chinese hot chile oil (the red stuff, NOT sesame oil) and fresh-ground black pepper and maybe some dried herbs in a big mixing bowl, then marinate the whole thing in that for a couple of hours, turning it as needed to season it evenly, then roast as above. Or, given decent weather, cook it on the gas grill. Goes really well with flavorful greens, such as kale or Chinese broccoli, and either steamed rice or a pilaf.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                        Chris Kimball be dagnabit-ed! I'm so glad to see more people cooking pork like this. And love the marinade.

                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                          YMMV, but I've never undercooked a pork tenderloin - they're so narrow it's almost impossible.
                                                          I agree with roasting to 140 - 145, then resting under a foil tent. Perfect pink, great for reheating.

                                                          BTW we just rediscovered a fabulous recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin (or loin) which always gets rave reviews:
                                                          Bless the Chron for not charging for archived *recipes*.

                                                        2. regardless of how you cook it, the key to pork tenderloin IMHO is NOT overcooking it. I don't find that a meal built around a pork tenderloin generally has a centerpiece, but it balances well with other foods. To me the second key point is not how it is cooked but what is served with it. One of my favorite combinations is a very simple tender slathered in a mix of plum preserves and spicy mustard, Dijon or Pommery/Meaux, with snow peas stir fried in butter and oyster sauce served with saffron rice. Sometimes I do the same with a rub on the pork instead. As long as I keep its simple it works. When I make it more complicated, like stuffed with herbs, goat cheese, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes, not so much; that needs a loin. Oh, and I do them in the skillet, on the grill and, even in a 350 oven. Just as long it is not overcooked!

                                                          1. We take the juice of 6 limes, the zest of 1 lime, 3 jalapenos seeded, a bunch of cilantro and place in a large ziplock bag, you can add a little white wine. Marinate for 45 minutes then grill to an internal temp of 165. Let rest 10 minutes then slice as medallions. We also slice red potatoes,
                                                            brush lightly with oil and grill at the same time. We make a boat out of aluminum foil and place either brussel sprouts or asparagus in the boat, add the juice of 2 lemons, lemon pepper and white whine (chardonnay) seal and steam on the grill with the pork and potatoes. Place the veggies on last and all should cook together for a simple but tasty meal hope this helps John

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: vein1

                                                              Sounds like your one of those "Well done pork" people. I know my mother told me to make sure pork was done also. You might try it at 151 or 152 degrees though before the rest. It will just be slightly pink and with brining, you will be even happier with pork tenderloin. Just add some salt or soy sauce to your existing marinade.

                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                If we use soy sauce how much would you recommend? We will try your temp and see how it comes out

                                                                1. re: vein1

                                                                  You've got a terrific "flavor profile" going there; I wouldn't add the soy sauce. In addition, pork tenderloin is so tender it doesn't really need marinating. I think you're on the right track by just adding flavor to it. I can cook one on the grill in about 15 minutes, approx. 4 minutes a side.

                                                                  1. re: vein1

                                                                    For 45 minutes to an hour, you could add all you want. I wouldn't use salt or soy sauce if you were gonna marinate for hours. In fact, the reason I suggested adding salt to what you had was the marinade you described had no oil. With oil which is far more typical of marinades, the salt wouldn't help much. it would mess with the osmosis action of a brine.

                                                                    Brining actually brings more moisture and of course salt deeper into the meat. If you want to further flavor your brine by adding "the juice of 6 limes, the zest of 1 lime, 3 jalapenos seeded, a bunch of cilantro and some wine", I think that would be fine. As C. Oliver says, that is a whole lot of flavor. Eventually, it will be too much flavor. When? ...don't know.

                                                                    Again I brine with soy sauce and brown sugar because I like the flavor even more than with just salt. In fact I have been thinking of brining with soy sauce and maple syrup.

                                                                    If you try the soy sauce, I recommend using just soy sauce and brown sugar on one tenerloin and the soy sauce and all that other stuff on the other tenderloin. Might as well learn something while you're at it.

                                                                    As far as how much soy sauce, I use however much it takes to cover the meat once the air is removed from the bag. Usually a few ounces so that would be about 6-7 tablespoons.

                                                                    1. re: vein1

                                                                      vein1, let's make sure I was clear about my recommendations:
                                                                      #1: I wouldn't add soy cause the flavors you're using are great and soy would detract IMO
                                                                      #2: Pork tenderloins don't need to be brined. They're already tender. Putting some flavoring (dry or wet or a combo) on them is all that's needed. IMO

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        brine (or a marinade for that matter) will not tenderize meat, so that fact that its already tender has nothing to do with it, at least for me. i love doing a quick brine for pork tenderloin. the reason? its so low in fat, and cooks so quick, that it is easy to dry out. extra moisture brought in by osmosis is good insurance against drying out.

                                                                2. Ina Garten's recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in... is really good. If you end up with leftovers, it is really good in a sandwich the next day.