Help me rock some pork tenderloins
August 15, 2019 5:23 PM   Subscribe

We love pork tenderloins at our house. And I would make them more often, but except for using the meat in stir-fry and in this recipe, I don't know exactly what to do with them. Your ideas gratefully accepted and links to recipes much appreciated. Appropriate kitchen equipment, access to even esoteric ingredients, and reasonable cooking skills all assured.
posted by DrGail to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Last night my housemate chopped one up and threw it in the Instant Pot for 15 mins with potatoes, carrots, and a bottle of BBQ sauce, and I am hear to tell you it was darn tasty. I also like to roll them in a dry rub and put them on the grill.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:44 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

How about breading them?

First bring it to room temperature, then cut it into serving sized pieces. Put them in a bowl and drizzle them with olive oil so they are shiny with oil and then add bread crumbs and salt and pepper and whatever spices work for you. A bit of oregano and onion powder is good, or sage and onion. Roll them around until they are coated in the crumbs.

Bake 'em at 375* on an oiled baking sheet until the exterior breading is nicely browned. Don't turn them.
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:55 PM on August 15

Coat tenderloins in cornstarch, then sear on all sides in an oven safe pan. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 cup apricot preserves, 1/2 cup chopped figs, 1/4 cup bourbon, and a tsp paprika to pan. Whisk to form a sauce. Put pork back in pan, turn to coat in sauce. Bake at 375 til done. Remove from oven, place pork on platter and loosely tent with foil to rest. Add 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar to sauce; whisk to combine. Slice pork and serve with sauce.

We’re obsessed with this and eat it about twice a month. You can use different preserves, dried fruits, and varieties of alcohol if it suits you, too.
posted by pecanpies at 6:02 PM on August 15 [8 favorites]

We do a thing were we cut them into serving sized medallions, pan sear/cook and then a 'sauce'? Of sauteed shallots in a dijon pesto base. If you think dijon mustard and pesto together sounds weird i have to tell you its fantastic. Add a side veggie, some rice or quinoa if you like and its a very nice meal.
posted by supermedusa at 6:04 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]

I like to throw together a rub with salt, pepper, minced/crushed garlic, rosemary, and a wee bit of oil. Rub it on whole tenderloins and roast. Particularly tasty with a dark green, squash, or sweet potato as a side.
posted by rhiannonstone at 6:18 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

I'm sad to say I can't find it now, but I swear I once came across a cooking diary, if not a recipe, for a Turducken-adjacent tenderloin preparation. Pork tenderloin inside a beef tenderloin, that kind of thing. I can't remember what the third tenderloin could be (lamb seems the right size), but even if I dreamt it I think it could be made real with a bit of cash and a lot of thought, or vice versa.
posted by rhizome at 6:27 PM on August 15

Seconding pecanpies, and adding that just about any all-fruit jam works well in that context even without the figs, bourbon, and paprika (not to discount those ingredients).
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:29 PM on August 15

I prefer pork tenderloin when it's been marinated. This recipe for a mojo-inspired marinade worked very well for me for dinner and my cubano-obsessed best friend for secret late night sandwiches.
posted by Mizu at 6:33 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]

Get spices and do a porchetta/porketta. Bake it in a Dutch oven with some quartered potatoes around it, rolled in the scant olive oil.

I buy 4-pound tenderloins and cut them into a couple of pieces to cook this way. Love them!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:35 PM on August 15

My mother's been making this for a few years now, and it's always pitch-perfect.

Snowboarder's Pork Tenderloin

2 ½ pounds pork tenderloin (2 tenderloins)
½ cup Dijon style mustard
1 T pressed garlic (4-6 cloves of garlic)
¼ c best quality dry red wine
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
1 T dried thyme
½ bay leaf
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp sugar

Trim fat and silver skin from tenderloins. Rinse, pat dry and set aside.
Place all the other ingredients in a glass pan and whisk together well.
Place tenderloins in the pan, turn them to cover with the marinade, cover
the pan with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours or
overnight. Thirty minutes before you plan to cook them, remove from
refrigerator, to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400. Use a roasting pan with a rack; line the bottom of
the pan with foil and place the tenderloins on the rack. Roast the
tenderloins until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees - 20/25
minutes. Do not overcook the pork; the center should be pink when served.
Removed from the oven; let sit 10 minutes, then slice.
posted by knile at 6:40 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Seconding supermedusa's suggestion of pork medallions with a pan sauce, endless variations possible. I usually cobble together something with lemon and heavy cream or dijon mustard and apple juice. I don't have the recipe to hand, but my mom makes a lovely stuffed tenderloin with apples and raisins.
posted by Preserver at 6:43 PM on August 15

Get 8-10 thin slices of pancetta, and wrap them around the tenderloin in a single layer (it's fine if they overlap a bit.) Cut apples in slices 1/2 inch thick, and lay them in a roasting pan. Place the tenderloin on top of the bed of apple slices. Roast at 400 until cooked. Use a meat thermometer. About 25 mins.

The edges of the pancetta dry out and get crispy like bacon. But it keeps the tenderloin more moist, and adds a bit of salt and spice to the meal. The apples soak up some of the fat and are amazing.
posted by thenormshow at 6:49 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

I've done the above many times with a tenderloin of about 1-1.5 lbs.
posted by thenormshow at 6:57 PM on August 15

Pork is an excellent sous vide candidate.
posted by hankscorpio83 at 6:58 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]

There's an Italian called Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers, a pan+oven dish. Adapting it to medallions of pork tenderloin should just be a matter of adjusting the timing. Here's the Cook's Illustrated version, without their paywall, which uses red (etc.) sweet peppers instead of cherry peppers in vinegar, which is a more traditional special ingredient. Yum.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:01 PM on August 15

You just rub them with coarse salt and cracked black pepper, and grill them or roast them in the oven.

Then you carve oblique medallions and serve them with tabouli and/or rice and/or farro and/or sauteed bok choy and/or potatoes and/or parsnips and/or... anything.

Later, you dice the remainder and put it in salad, or fry it a bit for fake-carnitas for tacos/quesadillas, or green chili.

Or cold for sandwiches.

Pork tenderloin is one of the Elemental Meats, it requires nothing and enables everything.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:24 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]

Oh, after they come off the grill, or out of the oven, you rest them for five minutes or so. I usually grill, so I cover them with foil & put them in my microwave (I don't turn the microwave on, it's just an enclosed chamber where they won't get cold from a draft).

Juices collect in the bottom of the resting platter. What becomes of those juices is... private.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:29 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Pork is really good served with roasted pear fyi. A nice balsamic vinegar pan sauce marries the pork and pear perfectly.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 7:35 PM on August 15

My go-to lately has been a fairly classic Pork Katsu preparation.

1. Cut tenderloins on the bias, about 2 inches thick or so. You don't need to be exact, but the thicker your cuts are, the bigger your cutlets are going to be.
2. Pound flat, to about 1/4 inch thickness. A meat mallet or perhaps a frying pan will do for the smashing. In either case, use plastic to protect the meat while taking out your aggressions on it. Like a ziploc bag or something.
3. Coat pieces lightly in flour.
4. Dip cutlets in an egg wash. (Which is really just a few scrambled eggs.)
5. Use the egg-glue to stick bread crumbs to the pork. Proper Japanese panko is probably best, but any tasty bread crumbs will do.
6. Fry the cutlets in a pan, both sides, using a little more cooking oil than you think you need. It's done when it looks golden brown and delicious.
7. Season with salt right after pulling it out of the pan. (You can skip this if your bread crumbs are already loaded with salt.)
8. Serve with whatever. Classic sides include finely shredded green cabbage, pickles of some sort, and (of course) rice. If you're going for authentic, add a drizzle of this stuff to your pork:
posted by Citrus at 8:03 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

I make roast pork tenderloin with apples and onions on the regular. Super delicious and usually you have apples and onions around, so it doesn’t require any special shopping ahead. Plus the apple-onion stuff is fantastic on rice.
posted by pocams at 8:16 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Here’s a grilled option with an easy, tangy marinade.
posted by zepheria at 8:17 PM on August 15

I make pork tenderloin in the sous vide. Most popular marinade is jalapeño jelly. I dump the liquid from the cooking bag into a skillet that I've heated some onion/shallot/garlic/whatever. Add herbs and a cup or two of chicken stock (blesphemy and I don't care) and some cornstarch, depending on how much meat I have and what I want to smother in sauce. Simmer till the sauce is thick. Sear the meat, either as medallions or the whole tenderloin.

Serve with home made unsweetened applesauce and rice, beets, roasted squash, or whatever we got from the CSA.

Sometimes I just pat the tenderloin dry, salt and pepper it and maybe throw on some other savory dried herbs instead of the jalapeño jelly treatment.
posted by bilabial at 9:00 PM on August 15

This stovetop recipe sears whole tenderloins, lets them cook covered, and uses mustard and sour cream (although I usually substitute Balkan yogurt) to create something freakin' delicious and dead easy.
posted by maudlin at 9:32 PM on August 15

I am very sad that my local supermarket rarely has pork tenderloin, because back when I lived elsewhere, I frequently made this:

The butterflying, marinade, and grilling work together to make every bite of meat amazingly delicious. For sides I usually do roasted lemon/garlic potatoes, southern-style greens, and fried bananas or plaintains.
posted by LadyOscar at 10:28 PM on August 15

I like it with persimmons. I usually make this recipe, except sans risotto (plain white rice is just fine).
Also works with pear when persimmons aren’t in season.
posted by nat at 12:49 AM on August 16

I cut it into chunks, marinate it in a soy/ginger/garlic marinade, then thread the chunks on skewers, alternating with pineapple chunks and grill. Oh, and sometimes I add pineapple juice to the pork marinade.
posted by sarajane at 4:06 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]

Our favourite recipe, From Donna Hay:
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp roughly chopped rosemary leaves
1 tsp sea salt
Crush in a mortar and pestle, or in a small chopper.
Roll the pork in the rub.
Fry, bake, or grill until done.
posted by Enid Lareg at 6:25 AM on August 16

I've made this recipe from Food Wishes many times. Once you're comfortable with the technique you can try various fillings and it goes well many sauces.
posted by night_train at 6:33 AM on August 16

I have been marinating them in a soy sauce, garlic, orange juice marinade and then grilling, glazing in the last 10 minutes with a mixture of brown sugar and siracha.

I usually make the following with a pork loin cause it is cheaper but tenderloin would work too.

1 pound pork loin cubed into 1 inch pieces
a couple cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, large dice
1 poblano large dice
1 anaheim or other mild pepper large dice
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 11 oz can of chopped green chilies, with liquid
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
32 oz chicken stock.
cumin, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste (i used tapatio or cholula)

Brown the pork on all sides in a dutch oven. Add garlic, onion, fresh peppersand cook for 5-8 minutes. add potatoes and chilies. Add dry seasonings and stir, cooking for a couple minutes before adding diced tomatoes, chicken stock and a few dashes of hot sauce. Cook on low to medium low at a simmer until pork is very tender. 45 minutes or so.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, tortiallas - whatever suits you. Makes a tasty stew.
posted by domino at 6:38 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]

Pork Tenderloins with Spicy Fruit Sauce

For Marinade:
2 tb olive oil
1 ts salt [less]
1/4 ts pepper
1/2 ts ancho chili powder
1/2 ts cumin
1/2 ts coriander
2 pork tenderloins

For Sauce:
1 c tomatoes
1/2 c raspberry preserves
1/3 c onion
1 tb cilantro
1 tb lime juice
2 ts tabasco chipotle sauce
1/2 salt [less]
1/2 ts cumin
1/2 ts garlic [more]
1/4 ts pepper

• Mix marinade ingreds and spread on pork. Allow to marinate up to overnight in fridge.
• Heat oven to 400 and roast for 25 min. Mix together sauce ingreds, turn over tenderloins, and spoon sauce over pork.
• Bake 20-25 min. more, or until they reach 145 internal temp.
posted by dancing leaves at 6:56 AM on August 16

We cut it into slices about a half inch thick, pound out until about half that thick, egg bath, bread with combination of bread crumbs and hard pretzel crumbs (yay food processor), pan fry and then hold in low temeprature oven until all are done. Usually enough left over from a 2-tenderloin package to make sandwiches the next day.
posted by neilbert at 9:24 AM on August 16

Our go-to recipe for pork tenderloin is the ridiculously easy and insanely delicious Island Pork Tenderloin. We consider the salad optional, YMMV
posted by grateful at 11:23 AM on August 16

This is one of my fave all-round recipes and top pick for pork: Ginger Marinated Pork Tenderloin.
Ignore the weird intro where it says "1 serving plus leftovers for pork fried rice" - that is just peculiar (though the leftovers are great whatever you do with them).
posted by dotparker at 12:45 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]

Slit the tenderloin open, stuff with handfuls of fresh herbs and a smear of sundried-tomato paste, wrap it back together with bacon or pancetta. Then roast. Awesome with something green alongside.

Alternatively, slice thinly and marinade (about 1/2 hr) in soy, rice wine, ginger, garlic, and a little cornflour then stirfry with mange touts & sliced spring onions. Best with rice or other carby starch.
posted by Ilira at 2:29 AM on August 17

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