I have mentioned before that a "meat and potatoes" menu has never been de rigeur in the KB Kitchen. Hungarian influences lean more toward chicken or pork as a protein. This is a ridiculously fast and easy way to prepare pork tenderloin. If you are used to searing the meat and finishing it in the oven, this method may sound odd, but it works! Or, if you have tried making a pork tenderloin and ended up with dry, tasteless results, then get ready for a treat! This recipe / technique comes from America's Test Kitchen. Ideal if you watch the 6 minute video here and come back to peek at my Tips. Pork can be combined with so many sides, it can be a different meal every time!
- Be sure to purchase a 3" deep, 13 x 9" aluminum roasting dish. At my grocer's, this comes in a pack of two. I use and clean one of these quite a few times before it bites the dust.
- You'll need some kitchen twine, cut into lengths that will fit around the pork.
- Adjust the top oven rack to 4-5" from the broiler element. This is important, so measure it if you can't guess.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Review my Tips!
2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins
Remove the silver skin as demo'd in the video. Fold the thin tip of each tenderloin under about 2 inches to create a uniformly shaped roast. Tie tenderloins crosswise with kitchen twine at 2-inch intervals, making sure folded tip is secured underneath. Trim excess twine close to meat to prevent it from scorching under broiler. (see video)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp baking soda
Mix salt, oil, and pepper in small bowl until salt is evenly coated with oil. Add baking soda and stir until well combined. Rub mixture evenly over pork. Place tenderloins (bottoms up for the first part) in the aluminum pan, evenly spaced between sides of pan and each other.
The oven has been pre-heated to 325 F, and now turn the oven to broil. Immediately place meat in the oven on the rack that was set to be 4-5" from the broiler. Broil tenderloins for 5 minutes. Flip tenderloins and continue to broil until golden brown and meat registers 125 to 130 F degrees - using an instant read digital thermometer is ideal for this. (See Tips re internal temp.) This part should take 8 to 14 minutes. Remove aluminum pan from oven, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes - resting stage is important. Remove twine, slice tenderloins into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and serve.
Notes and Tips...
- Purchasing pork tenderloin - my grocer sells these in packages of two. I tend to reach for the one where the price is right and don't pay too much attention to whether it weighs exactly 1 lb (500 g) - it might even weigh a bit more. With side dishes, this can serve 3-4 people. Sometimes the pork you buy has a sticker on it indicating that it has been "enhanced" by being injected with a salt solution. if this is the only kind of pork available to you, then reduce the salt in the rub to 1 - 1.5 tsp.
- Kitchen twine - The video shows the chef tying the tenderloin at 2" intervals to achieve a uniformly shaped roast. That may be nice, but I am a bit lazy about this and use the twine only to tie under the thin tips.
- Internal temperature - If you have made pork tenderloin before, you may be used to cooking until an internal temp of 140 F is reached, and surprised to see instructions to pull it at 125-130 F. All meat continues cooking while being tented, and in this case, ATK says that the intense heat of the broiler results in a much bigger carryover cooking effect. Never ignore the resting period for any roasted meat, and in this case that 10 minute tented rest will give you optimal and safe results. (See below.)
- Medium rare - though you may not be used to this, slightly pink, medium rare pork tenderloin is ideal. It is soft, juicy and almost melts in your mouth. Say bye-bye to grey, dry, chewy pork - the results you get when you feel pressured to aim for "well done". Sadly, misinformation about how long pork must be cooked persists - see below.
- Variation - add a tsp of curry to the rub for a more exotic flavour.
- Pork Resources - pork is an important industry in Ontario and Canada. Several great websites exist with tips and mouthwatering recipes. Put Pork on Your Fork, Ontario Pork, Canada Pork.
The esteemed Nathan Myhrvold, author of Modernist Cuisine, seems dismayed that "the 'safe' temperature for cooking pork is one of the most misunderstood - and distorted - aspects of food safety." (Source) It seems that there remain people - and even misinformed cooks and chefs - who believe that pork consumption comes with risks. I use the term "remain" because the distorted ideas are a hangover from a time of legitimate concern. In the early / mid part of the last century, pork was linked to trichinosis - a parasitic disease now very rare in the developed world. "improvements in pork farming and processing practices have virtually eliminated Trichinella contamination in commercially produced pork in developed countries... First, most commercial pork is frozen to kill the parasite. Second, and perhaps more surprising, Trichinella is very easy to kill with a low heat." (Source)
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