Pork is easily my meat of choice. It is so versatile and used throughout so many cuisines. It is also very economical and comes in so many different cuts, you’d be hard pressed to run out of ideas for this viande.
It is certainly a staple in my house. And one of our favourite cuts is the tenderloin. When cooked perfectly, it is juicy, full of flavour and accompanies any side dish like a seasoned professional.
But lets go back to the cooked perfectly part. When not cooked perfectly, it is either underdone and leathery; or overcooked, dry, and void of taste.
So how do you cook the perfect tenderloin, you ask? Perusing my Cook’s Illustrated bible, I stumbled upon the best way to cook a pork tenderloin. The first time I followed their recipe — and I mean REALLY followed it — it worked like a charm. And I’ve been cooking perfect pork tenderloins like a pro ever since.
1 1Lb pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp butter or oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 425°F. This is key. The oven needs to be hot enough to cook the loin in a short period of time. While you are waiting for your oven to reach the right temperature, heat the butter or oil in an oven safe pan on med-high heat.
While you are pre-heating the pan, take your loin and remove the silver skin with a sharp knife. This is the part that looks like fat that generally runs about half the length of the loin. It is tough to eat and should always be removed. Once removed, generously season one side of the loin with salt and pepper.
Once the oil is hot, place your loin seasoned side down. DO NOT TOUCH IT. In order to ensure even cooking and the development of a delicious browned tasty exterior, I repeat, DO NOT TOUCH IT. You will know when to flip the loin once you can see a white to light brown colouration begin to happen about 1/4 inch up from the bottom side of the loin. This takes about 5-10 minutes depending on the power of your stove element.
Once you see the colouration, generously salt and pepper the uncooked side, flip in and place it in the preheated oven.
Set your timer for 20 minutes. No more, no less. Don’t open the oven. Don’t pull the loin out and cut into it to see how it’s doing. Just leave it in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes of roasting, remove the pan from the oven. Place the loin on a cutting board and cover it with foil. Then let it rest for 10 minutes. No more, no less. This is key as it allows all the juices to set into the meat.
Once the tenderloin has rested, slice against the grain and you will see a beautiful tenderloin with the perfect rose centre and juices flowing. Accompany with the best brussel sprouts and you have an easy one pan meal for any occasion.