Friday, March 11, 2011

Pork Tenderloin

Posted by Chris Beason | Friday, March 11, 2011 | Category: |

This was my first attempt at Pork Tenderloin. I went to the grocery store last week and was looking for pork chops. I saw that the pork tenderloins were buy one get one free. Not only have I never made one, I've never eaten one before either and since it seemed like such a good deal, I figured it was time I learn how to cook one, well actually two.

I went to the seasonings aisle and found a Hawaiian marinade, which I have used before with pork. I figured I would roast the first one and the second one I would freeze to be a little more adventurous with maybe next week.  With that said, keep in mind I'm more of a casserole, meatloaf, one dish meal kind of cook.  My original plan, before I found the tenderloin, was to make pork chops and a few sides to go with it. I roast meat maybe once or twice a year.  More specifically, a turkey for Thanksgiving and maybe for Christmas.

So here I was with:
1 1/4 pound Pork Tenderloin,
1 Seasoning Packet of Grill Mates Hawaiian Luau Marinade

The packet will tell you what to add a little differently than what I did. Since I'd used it before and it was good, I just added what I did the last time I used it. 

In a gallon size Ziplock bag I put in the contents of the seasoning packet, 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Orange Juice, 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil and 1 tablespoon of Honey. Yes, I added oil twice. I used a tablespoon to measure the oil and pour it in the bag, and then used the same tablespoon to measure the honey. The honey slid right out of the spoon into the bag. Once everything was added I squeezed the bottom of the bag to mix everything together. Then I put the tenderloin in the bag, zipped it shut and rolled it around to coat the meat. 

I've heard some people say to prick the meat with a fork or a knife and I've heard some people say don't because it will lose it's juiciness. I didn't poke my meat with anything. I took it straight out of the package and put it in the bag. 

The tenderloin set in the refrigerator for about an hour before I took it out to get ready to roast it. I have a roasting guide in my Better Homes & Garden Cookbook that I referred to for roasting time and temperature. It said to put the tenderloin in a foil lined pan on a rack to keep the meat out of the juice while it is roasting. This was my first obstacle. I couldn't see roasting a little piece of meat in a big turkey roasting pan and I didn't have a rack that would fit in the baking pan I was going to use. So I got creative.  I lined my pan with foil and then took 2 smaller sheets of foil, crumpled them up, carefully un-crumpled the foil balls I had made and then folded them into a little foil pad to set the tenderloin on. 

I put the fattiest side up so that while it's cooking the fat will drip down on the meat keeping it moist. When I roast a turkey I always put the breast side down (even though it's common knowledge you roast a turkey with the breast up) and when it's done the breast is always juicy. 

Next the roasting instructions said not to worry about preheating the oven. Turn the oven on 425 degrees and roast for about 27 to 29 minutes per pound. As you know, my tenderloin is about 1 1/4 pounds so I figured I would roast it for 35 minutes.  After roasting it said to put a tent of aluminum foil over the pan and let it stand for about 20 minutes.  While it's standing it will continue to cook. 

After I'd waited the 20 minutes for it to stand, I pulled off the aluminum foil. It looked great! I didn't understand why I needed a rack because there wasn't any juice in the bottom of the pan. It looked done, so I cut into the meat, but the middle was still red. I poked it with the end of the knife to see if it would bleed, but nothing happened. No juice came out so I couldn't tell if it was clear or not. The instructions said to use a meat thermometer to tell you when it's done. My next obstacle. Since I haven't used my meat thermometer in a while, I had no idea where it had gone. 

I decided it probably needed to bake at least another 10 minutes and then stand another 20 minutes and then I would check it again.  I had already told my husband that dinner would be ready in about 30 minutes and it was already 20 minutes later. Well, fortunately I was smart enough to bake the Honey Cornbread Muffins while the tenderloin was standing. So lets talk about that for a minute.  They were so good and so easy!

In a 4 cup glass measuring cup I put 4 tablespoons of butter (it had been sitting out so it could get soft) and 1 tablespoon of honey. I used the same tablespoon from before so the honey still slid right out. Using a fork I mashed the butter and honey together and then dropped the butter in a muffin pan.

I put the muffin pan in the oven to melt the butter while I mixed the cornbread.  Using the same measuring cup I dumped in a package of Jiffy Cornbread Mix, 1 egg and 1/3 cup of milk like the package said to do and mixed it up with a fork. 


The package said for maximum crown to let the mix sit for 3 to 5 minutes and then stir before pouring into the muffin pan.  The great thing about mixing it in the measuring cup is that you can pour it from the cup into the pan.

The muffins baked for 15 minutes. Don't they look good?  

Okay, now back to the tenderloin.  No, back to my husband. I put the tenderloin back in the oven and told my husband it would be about another 20 minutes. The growl from his stomach came out of his face and with a smile I said, "would you like a cornbread muffin?" as I jumped right over that obstacle with ease! Now back to the tenderloin. 

After baking it another 10 minutes I pulled it out and put back on it's foil tent while I spent the next 10 minutes deciding how I was going to decide when this thing was going to be done.  I looked through my drawers of kitchen utensils again. I found a candy thermometer.  That could work right?

Perfect! It read 160 degrees as clear juice ran out from around it. I think my next purchase will be a meat thermometer. 

The meat was so juicy and moist and the marinade had soaked all the way through making it sweet with just a little hint of the spicy red chili pepper in it. As you already know if you read my last post, the baked squash was wonderful! Only one cornbread muffin had met it's fate of being eaten before it's time so there were still plenty more to go with our supper. The outsides of the muffins were sweet and crunchy and the insides were moist and buttery. 

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