Learn how to prepare the perfect pork tenderloin using a variety of different cooking methods.
There are a variety of methods to consider when learning how to cook pork tenderloin. Sometimes referred to as the "filet mignon" of pork, the tenderloin is cut from the uppermost portion of the loin. Pork tenderloins are relatively small, averaging between 1 and 2 pounds. They can be cooked as a whole roast, stuffed or unstuffed, or cut crosswise into thick slices (known as medallions) and cooked on the stove top or grill.
Because its meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and, according to America's Pork Checkoff Program, contains substantially less fat than other pork cuts, pork tenderloin has become a consumer favorite. Read on to learn the various methods for how to cook pork tenderloin.
Be sure to store prepackaged, fresh pork tenderloin in the refrigerator and cook within 3 days of purchase. Raw meat that will not be used immediately should be stored in the freezer in heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer bags.
Properly defrost pork tenderloin either in the refrigerator or microwave.
Before cooking the tenderloin, trim off the thin skin, called the "silver skin," with a sharp kitchen utility knife. From here, the meat can be cut in several different ways:
Brining, the process of soaking meat in a salt solution before cooking, helps pork retain its natural moisture. Without brining, this moisture can easily evaporate when cooking, leaving this cut of meat quite dry and tasteless. Before roasting, grilling or sautéing, brine pork tenderloin in a mixture of hot and cold water with coarse salt and sugar for at least 6 hours, then pat dry on paper towels. For an extra boost of flavor, coat the tenderloin with a dry rub of black pepper and spices, such as garlic powder, cumin, rosemary, sage and oregano.
Because it is tender, pork tenderloin may be cooked with dry heat methods, such as grilling, broiling, sautéing, pan-broiling or roasting.
Though not the preferred method of cooking pork tenderloin, moist heat braising and stewing can produce a remarkably flavorful roast, as long as the cooking time is kept to a bare minimum and the right ingredients are added.
After seasoning and browning on the stove top, braise the tenderloin in the same skillet in the oven, adding beer, honey, dried fruit and spices. Pork tenderloin may also be stewed in the same amount of time as it takes to roast or braise.
Stew cubes of pork tenderloin after browning them with onions, garlic and hot cooking oil. Toss in chopped carrots, potatoes and celery, broth and dried tarragon. Then allow the pot to simmer, covered, for approximately 30 minutes
Since pork tenderloin is lean, it tends to dry out if overcooked. Proper cooking times for the tenderloin vary. Chefs take extra care not to cook the meat past the medium doneness stage to ensure the meat remains moist and flavorful. According to The Daily Pork, when roasting a whole tenderloin at an oven temperature of 425 F to 450 F, a roast weighing between 1/2 and 1 1/2 pounds should be done after about 30 minutes.
According to Tyson, pork that reaches an internal temperature of 145 F is safe to eat. After removing the roast from the oven, allow it to rest on a cutting board or warm platter for at least 15 minutes before slicing. During this resting period, the temperature of the pork will rise as much as 10 degrees.