For me, pork tenderloin was almost always a let down. It came out (much like chicken breasts) overcooked and under flavoured. This recipe is the solution. It requires planning ahead but is well worth the effort. A brine the night before makes the tenderloin succulent. A marinade the day of adds an intense sweet and savoury flavour that pleases just about anyone. And, of course - being Canadian, it has maple syrup. Who doesn't love maple syrup?
This is the first in a 2 part series on pork tenderloin. These series have been really popular on the blog, and I understand why. You can double down on cooking in round one & reserve the left overs. These can then easily be transformed and voila! you have a tasty meal later on in the week with minimal effort. In my opinion, it's the way to go. That is ... if you have any left overs.
Tenderloins are paired up, matching thick to thin ends, forming tenderloin roasts to ensure they cook uniformly.
The first step in prepping pork tenderloin is removing the silver skin. It's a tough, chewy membrane and it can be a bit tricky to remove. If you've never done it before, there is a great instructional video here.
Throwing the tenderloins into a brine overnight at this point means they will be succulent after cooking and well seasoned. I understand we are all busy and many people won't have time for an overnight brine, but it really does make a considerable difference. If you can, plan the night before, take 10 minutes and chuck them in a brine - you'll be happy you did.
The other tip I have for tenderloins is to pair them up, two by two. I originally learned this from cooks illustrated and it's a fantastic tip. In the photo above I've prepped 6 brined tenderloins and tied two together in pairs, forming three 'loin roasts'. The reason for doing this is simple. If you look at your tenderloin, you'll notice a thick end and a thin end. Those differences in thickness means the tenderloin will cook unevenly. By pairing them up and matching thick to thin, you get a loin roast that is perfectly uniform along its length. That means it will cook evenly and you'll have a perfectly cooked tenderloin from end to end.
Marinaded and ready to go!
After brining and prepping your tenderloin roasts, the last step before cooking is marinading. Here I used a maple, garlic & ginger marinade that works amazing with pork. It's sweet & savoury and produced a fantastic caramelization on the pork that's added flavour. Of course, you could use any marinade you prefer. After marinading for the better part of a day, your tenderloins are ready for the oven (or BBQ!).
As you can see in the photo above, I use a thermometer. It really is the best way to gauge doneness and prevent over- or undercooking your meat. My cooking improved substantially once I adopted this tool and I highly recommend it. Overcooked pork is often dry and chewy (and unfortunately what a lot of us associate with pork), don't make this mistake - pork should be succulent and juicy.
While roasting your pork, you'll use that marinade to make a glaze and sauce for the pork. When the pork hits 115 F, take it out of the oven and slather it with your sticky, sweet and savoury glaze. Throwing it under the broiler produces a crispy and caramelized crust we all love. And by using your thermometer to make sure the roast reaches 140 F the centre of the tenderloin roast will be succulent and juicy.
I promise you won't be disappointed with this one, my family loves it. The pork is sweet and sticky. The garlic and ginger add a zing and savoury kick that balances it all out. I hope you guys enjoy!
Next post we'll be using the left overs from your pork loin roast to create meal #2!