Pork tenderloin is one of my go-to meals when I want something simple to prepare. It’s also one of my go-to meals for special occasions, because it’s delicious and elegant.
(I first posted this recipe more than two years ago, but it’s worth a re-post because it’s so simple and so successful.)
Originally, I was just going to salt and pepper it and rub it with a little olive oil, but I always have to remind myself approximately how long it takes to cook a tenderloin, and when I googled for that I ran across this recipe from Ellie Krieger on Food Network for Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub.
Now, doing a lot of thinking (i.e., measuring and multiple steps) is what I was trying to avoid, but since this recipe uses one teaspoon of all the spices, that speeds things up a little bit. Also, I like that there’s no sugar in the rub. Yay for low carb! (And Paleo, and Whole30!)
I also nixed the fresh garlic, because this would have added time to peel, chop, and fry. And with all those flavors in the spice mix, I really didn’t miss it one bit.
Also, I don’t trust any meat recipe that calls for a specific number of minutes. The secret to perfectly done meat of any kind is knowing what temperature it needs and hitting that. (I highly recommend using a digital meat thermometer like this one.)
And lastly, she didn’t specifiy how much salt to use. I took a guess and missed the mark, so I’ve remedied that here.
So here is my simplified version of Ellie’s recipe…
QUICK PORK TENDERLOIN WITH SEASONED RUB
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander (you could omit if you don’t have this)
1 t. dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/8 t. table salt (Use up to twice as much if you like things salty.)
1 to 1.25 pounds pork tenderloin
olive oil for coating pans
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
In separate bowl mix the seasonings: garlic powder through salt. Stir until all the ingredients are well combined. Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin with a dry hand; cover the entire tenderloin. If you have some seasonings left, continue to sprinkle it until it’s all gone. Then pat the pork all over so the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin. (If you have other dinner prep to do, you could also let this sit at room temp for up to 15 minutes. That will add to the flavor and tenderness.)
TIME-SAVING NOTE: If you want to cut the prep time down further, you could skip the searing step, cooking it in the oven for the entire time. This is what I usually do. Jump right to the paragraph with the asterisk.*
Heat a nonstick skillet, over medium-plus-one-notch heat. Generously dribble olive oil in the pan and give it a minute to heat up. Then place the tenderloin in the pan; let it sit for three minutes and check the color on the underside. If it’s nicely brown, rotate and do the next side the same. If not, let it sit for another minute and check again.
Repeat until all sides are nicely browned. We’re just looking to sear the outside; not cook it through. (That happens in the oven.) This may be two or three sides, depending on the shape of your cut.
* Grease the bottom of a 9×13″ (or so) baking pan with olive oil and place the tenderloin in it. Place the pan in the oven.
Approximate oven time will be 15 – 25 minutes. But don’t go solely by the clock; use a quick-read thermometer to check the interior temp at 15 minutes, and then as needed till it reaches 143-145 F.
When the thermometer reads about 143-145 F, pull the pork from the oven. Please note: Most sources will tell you it’s not safe to eat at this temp, but the temp will continue to rise as the meat sits. If you wait till the recommended 160 F to pull it, you will have dry, chewy pork. (Note the photo above is not of this recipe, and is probably pinker than it will be at 160 F.)
Once removed from the oven, let the pork rest in the pan — thermometer still inserted — until the temp reaches 158-160 F. This will be approximately five minutes.
Cut in slices 1/2″ to 1″ thick. Do not slice until just before serving. This is best served right when it hits that 159-164 F mark, so if possible, time the rest of your meal around this.
Here is Food Network’s nutrition info:
Total Fat: 9 grams;
Saturated Fat: 2 grams;
Protein: 30 grams;
Total carbohydrates: 2 grams;
Sugar: 0 grams
Fiber: 1 grams;
Cholesterol: 92 milligrams;
Sodium: 221 milligrams