Saturday, January 14, 2012

Perfect Pork Tenderloin

My house smells so good right now.  I just finished cooking roasted pork tenderloin, and now I am making BBQ sauce for pulled pork.  So why all the pork???

Well, I was having a dinner party tonight, unfortunately sickness has wreaked havoc.  So the dinner party has been rescheduled, but it leaves me with some pork to cook.  I decided to cook the original pork tenderloin for dinner for Jay and myself.  However, even Jay and I can't eat all the pork I had planned.  So for the other tenderloin, I am making pulled pork.  This way we can enjoy two different meals, and it won't feel redundant. 

Today's recipe is for the roasted tenderloin. (I will post the BBQ pulled pork tomorrow.)  Cooking pork tenderloin is super simple and relatively healthy.  The ones I have purchased are actually certified by the American Heart Association for low in fat.  The meat is plain, meaning not soaked in a marinade.  I have cooked the ones pre-marinated and they are fine, but sometimes I find them a bit salty.  By doing my own marinade, I can control the sodium and quality of ingredients.

As I said, it is really simple, but needs just a bit of prep time.  It is best to marinade the meat for 3 hours or overnight.  I chose overnight, and it really is worth it.  The meat really absorbs the flavors.  Most of the ingredients you will find right in your pantry or fridge.  The only thing I had to buy was the fresh herbs.  I have made it with dried herbs, but the fresh ones really do lend to a brighter flavor.

I also decided to cook the pork this morning, clean up the kitchen, and then I will just re-heat it for dinner tonight.  It also makes great cold pork sandwiches.  Here's how I did it:

First in a bowl mix the following ingredients.  Place the pork into a large plastic storage bag, pour the marinade over it, & mush it around. (Yes, mush is a technical cooking term.)  Refrigerate overnight, or at least 3 to 4 hours.

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic
3/4 c. lemon juice, about 4 to 5 large lemons
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary leaves

2 pork tenderloins, about 1 1/2 lbs each

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Then in a pan that can go into the oven, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and heat over medium heat.  Sear the tenderloins on all sides, you will get a nice golden brown color.

Place into the oven, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes per pound.  I used a thermometer that is oven safe.  I pulled them from the oven when the thermometer reached 165 degrees.  Move to a platter and cover with foil.

Side note:  According to USDA, pork needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees before being removed from the heat source.  You can look at the chart here.  Personally I like my pork well done, so I cook it to 165 degrees.  You can choose at which temperature you choose to cook it to.

By allowing the meat to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, the juices will redistribute.  Then when you slice it, the pork will be moist and tender.

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