Dark golden brown, crusty & salty outside. Tender and juicy through and through. Maybe a velvety mushroom & red wine sauce, slathered over a perfectly cooked pork tenderloin. It’s a meal we all want to eat. Sadly, the baked pork tenderloin we all usually get is gray in color. Has a limp, flappy texture. And is dry as a bone. Well say goodbye to crappy pork.
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A few years ago, I made a Pork Tenderloin Marsala for the first time, for the simple reason that I didn’t have any chicken handy. And while Chicken Marsala may be more the common, the wine flavored mushroom sauce goes really well with a perfectly cooked piece of pork tenderloin.
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Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite things to cook. It is tremendously versatile, works great with all kinds of other ingredients, and is one of the leaner healthier meats available. That said, to fully appreciate it, it needs to be cooked well, and there are some specific do’s and don’ts that will ensure insure a tasty, tender, and moist pork tenderloin. Below, and in the video, I explain how to cook a pork tenderloin, and I think you may be surprise with how simple and quick it is. Hope you find this cooking technique helpful, and enjoy you pork tenderloin!
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This mushroom stuffed pork tenderloin is one of my absolute favorites. The meat is very tender (that’s why it’s tenderloin), and goes really well with the mushroom filling (pork and mushroom is a great combo). I'll show you how to sear the pork off in a pan, which gets the outside nice a crispy and flavorful, and also gives you some great pan drippings that you can use to make a great pan sau
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I love to cook pork tenderloin, and one of my goto options is to cut pork medallions from a whole loin. In this recipe video, I show you how to portion out medallions, sauté them, and serve with white wine sauce. The dish reminds me a bit of filet mignon, but of course is a bit lighter and healthier. Another great thing about pork, is the options are nearly endless. It’s easy to add differe
Pork Tenderloin is one of the most versatile cuts of pork and lends itself to hundreds to great recipes & cooking techniques.
The tenderloin itself is cylindrical “snake shaped” cut of meat, that runs down the back of the pig. It does very little work, which is why it is so tender – it is the pig equivalent of beef tenderloin. And like filet mignon steaks that are cut from the beef tenderloin, pork medallions are cut from pork tenderloin.
How do you cook pork tenderloin?
The three most common ways to cook a pork tenderloins are:
- Whole Roasted: The tenderloin is essentially un-touched; but likely rubbed with spices/seasoning and/or marinated, and then roasted whole.
- Cut into Medallions: The tenderloin is cut into 1 – 2 inch thick “steaks” which are then quickly seared off. This is a great preparation for “fine dining” or an elegant dinner at home. It’s also perfect for making a pan sauce to go with the pork.
- Stuffed Pork Tenderloin: Because pork is a fairly mild flavor, paring it with other ingredients is a great option, and stuffing the tenderloin is a great way to do that. Stuffing is usually done by butterflying the pork tenderloin, stuffing & re-wrapping.
How long do you cook pork tenderloin?
Like pork chops, pork tenderloin is a fairly lean cut of meat. And the lack of fat, means it can dry out quickly if over cooked. So the most important thing - is to not over cook it! Unfortunately, there is no universal time that going to get you to perfectly cooked through piece of meat. The exact time is going to depend on the size of the pork tenderloin, the exact temperature of the oven, as well as how you are preparing the pork (stuffed, butterflied, whole, etc).
For a standard whole roasted pork tenderloin, searing first on the oven, and then moving into a 400 degree oven, the cooking time should be between 10 - 20 minutes in the oven. But since that's just a general guide, you should make sure you do the following:
- While you can brine pork tenderloin, brining tends to make pork more tender; and since the tenderloin is already very tender, I don’t think it’s worth doing.
- Let the pork tenderloin come up to room temperature before cooking, and season it before starting to cook.
- Start out with high heat, on the stovetop to quickly sear the outside of the tenderloin and develop a flavorful crust.
- Once seared, you can move the whole (ovenproog) pan into the oven to ensure the tenderloin gets cooked through, without burning the outside – I generally like a 400 degree oven.
- The best way to make sure your pork tenderloin is well cooked is to use an instant ready meat thermometer. Unlike days of old when pork had to be cooked to near incineration (to kill any nasty critters) these days you want to cook your pork tenderloin to about 140 -145 internal temperature. That will keep the tenderloin from drying out and getting tough on you.
- With some practice, you’ll be able to do that just by look & feel; but until then, use the thermometer