I’ve always loved pork ever since I was a kid. My mother, who was not the cook (nor was she ever really interested in it), would often make it for Sunday dinner. The problem with that is she would make a pork and beef roast together in the same pan, roasting them both for the same amount of time. I know, I know, it boggles the mind doesn’t it. But I did say my mother wasn’t the cook now didn’t I (all apologies to my wonderful mother).
I never really had a flavorful, juicy pork tenderloin roast until I was much older and that only came about through trial and error in learning how to roast it. Pork can be fabulous when it is roasted properly or it can taste like the Sahara Desert – there really is no in between.
Pork tenderloin roasts are easy to find. You see them all the time in the grocery store wrapped in vacuum packaging. You can get them plain or pre-marinated. I find most people shy away from these roasts because they hardly have any fat. You may find a thin layer of skin on one side, but all in all it is very lean meat almost reminiscent of boneless skinless chicken breasts (which most people tend to overcook as well).
My mother believed that meat needed to be completely cooked through. And some people like their meat that way. Not me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want my meat raw but I’ve found, especially with pork tenderloin, that many cooks think the pork is done when the meat is white completely throughout. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pork tenderloin can be slightly pink in the middle and the meat is still thoroughly cooked. The internal temperature should be between 140 – 145 degrees in the thickest part of the meat when you take it out of the oven. Don’t forget some carry over cooking will occur when the meat is resting.
With the technique I use I don’t even need a meat thermometer. As a matter of fact, I haven’t used one to test the doneness of these roasts in years. I simply roast the pork tenderloin at 375 degrees for one hour. Period. After an hour I take it out of the pan, cover it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then I slice and serve it. That’s all. It comes out perfectly every single time!
I prep the roast by taking it out of the vacuum packaging and drying it thoroughly with paper towels. There is a lot of gel-like substance in the package and I want to make sure the roast is completely clean and free of it. Then I season it, skin side up, with salt and pepper, brush it lightly with some olive oil (I mostly used garlic infused olive oil) and then add some sort of dry herb that goes well with pork. The herb in the picture below is dried thyme. I place the roast on a rack in a small roasting pan and roast it for an hour, and voila – I get a juicy roast every single time.
I haven’t had a dry pork tenderloin in years. This technique is so easy to do and yet, as you can see by the picture, the roast looks so elegant and good (and juicy). So follow my little trick for these small tenderloin roasts and you will be successful every single time!