(Moist) Pork Tenderloin

January 23, 2009  •  Fruit, Meat & Poultry, Technique

Having spent last night at the Stock Show in the 2nd row where the dirt and dung gets kicked into your hair and your beer and the bulls look like they might come right through the fence into your lap, I should be posting something relevant to “beef, it’s what’s for dinner”, but instead I’m going with “pork, the other white meat” today because I needed to cook this for a photo shoot.

Pork tenderloin seems to get the best of many of my clients and friends, but it really couldn’t be simpler to cook. There are only two secrets to keeping it moist and tender: one, consider brining (soaking it in a salt water solution) for a few hours before cooking it, and two, NEVER cook it past 145 degrees. I know our government food protectors say to cook it to 165, but trust me, that will give you a piece of shoe leather!
I like to begin with a dry or wet rub or a marinade to give the otherwise mild meat some flavor. This one uses garlic, lime zest and juice and honey to give it some zippy flavor.

After letting it marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, I ditched the excess marinade and put the meat on a rack to roast so it can caramelize evenly all over.

I roasted it at 375 degrees until it just barely crept past that magical 145 degrees – that took about 35 minutes as I recall. If you don’t have one of these instant read thermometers, get yourself to the store today and buy one! And make sure to calibrate it according to the directions on the back (or at a minimum periodically test it in a glass of ice water which should read 32 degrees).

After the meat is cooked, let it rest (I wrap it in foil to keep it warm) for 10 minutes before slicing it – that lets all the juices redistribute and prevents them from gushing out onto your cutting board when you slice it. And that, my friends, is how you keep a pork tenderloin moist!
(Check out Buzz in the ‘burbs this coming April for the full Caribbean menu that this tenderloin was a part of.)

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