Best Pork Marinades: How to Flavor Pork Chops, Pork Tenderloin and More
On its own, pork naturally holds a good amount of flavor. But did you know that a well-balanced marinade can ultimately amplify its flavor and even transform its texture?
Whether you’re grilling, air-frying, or sautéing your pork cuts, a zesty marinade can truly elevate your kitchen game. Today, we’re unveiling the real purpose of a pork marinade, the best marinade recipes for the most common pork cuts, and marinating tips.
Why Use Pork Marinade?
We’ll cut right to the chase—a “true” marinade usually consists of a dynamic blend of acid, such as vinegar or citrus, herbs, and spices that serve a dual purpose. First off, when you let pork bask in a proper marinade, you’re simply adding another layer of flavor to brighten up your dish. Secondly, when pork is marinated long enough, it can actually tenderize—making the inherent texture less chewy, more supple, and overall, more enjoyable to devour.
Brine vs Marinade: What’s the Difference?You may have come across a pork brine and wondered—does it serve the same purpose as a marinade? The short answer is no. A brine is meant to simply add moisture and juiciness with water, whereas a marinade actually enhances both the flavor and texture.
Best Pork Marinades
Now, let’s unpack the best pork marinades to add a burst of flavor to various pork cuts you may come across!
Pork Chop Marinades
If you ask us, there’s nothing quite like biting into a crisp, juicy pork chop! Here at Coleman Natural, our boneless pork chops are as tender as it gets. If you let these succulent cuts bask in a mouthwatering marinade, your family might ask you to add another order of these to the cart, pronto.
One of our most coveted, tried and true marinades that yield a scrumptious caramelized crust on the grill is our eight-hour Balsamic Marinade, perfect for firing up these Balsamic and Rosemary Grilled Pork Chops. All you need to do is whisk together sweet balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, fresh rosemary, and extra virgin olive oil, then place your pork chops in this mixture for eight hours in the refrigerator. Once you pop these chops on the grill and take a bite, you’ll see why this fragrant, no-fuss marinade is a crowd favorite.
Now, if you choose to pan or air-fry pork chops, give our favorite zesty marinade a go:
Citrus & Garlic Marinade
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice and zest
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp salt
Directions: Whisk together all ingredients in a glass container, bowl, or sealable bag. Add pork chops and allow it to marinade in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours. Take the pork out of the marinade around 20 minutes before cooking.
If air frying, arrange pork chops in a single layer and cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for around 9-10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure to flip chops around halfway through cooking time. If pan frying, add pork chops to a hot pan and sear them until golden brown, around 4-5 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Firing up the grill? Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, and cook pork chops for around 4-5 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to ensure internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pork Tenderloin Marinades
One of the leanest pork cuts that carry a subtly sweet flavor is pork tenderloin. Adding a bit of salt and a hint of spice to pork tenderloin can certainly balance out the natural sweetness of this cut—especially when seared on a cast iron pan! If you’re looking for the perfect marinade for pork tenderloin, check this one out.
Hot Sesame Marinade
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp honey (or hot honey, if you can find it)
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Directions: Whisk together all ingredients in a glass container, bowl, or sealable bag. Add pork tenderloin and allow it to marinade in the refrigerator for up to four hours. Take the pork out of the marinade around 20 minutes before cooking.
Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Sear the pork tenderloin for one to two minutes, ensuring all sides are crispy and golden brown. Then transfer the cast iron skillet to a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and allow it to roast for around 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pork Loin Marinades
Sometimes, the most simple marinades can generate the most crave-worthy flavors, especially when it comes to pork loin. We also know that this specific cut of pork is a household favorite, especially since it can feed multiple hungry mouths at the dinner table.
To help save you time in the kitchen concocting marinades, we offer pork loin that’s already marinated and prepped for you! All you have to do is conveniently cook, using your preferred method. You can certainly choose our Original Marinated Pork Loin, fully seasoned with salt and water that can be cooked in the oven for 40-45 minutes. If you’re looking to jazz it up a bit, then you can select Garlic and Herb Marinated Pork Loin Filet, covered in an aromatic medley of garlic, onion, and spices! Or you can opt for our Salt and Pepper Marinated Pork Loin Filet, similar to our original, just with an extra kick from the black pepper.
We only use all-natural ingredients in our pre-marinated pork loins, so you don’t have to think twice about serving delicious food to your family and guests.
Top Tips for Marinating Pork
By now, you should be equipped with some simple yet delicious pork marinades–ones that can completely uplevel your dinners. But before you dive headfirst into the land of marinades, here are some helpful tips to consider.
Choose the Right Amount of Pork Marinade
In general, for smaller cuts like pork loin, chops, and ribs, for every pound, you’ll need ¼ cup of marinade. For bigger cuts, such as a pork roast, this will likely fluctuate—calling for a bit more marinade to cover the surface area.
Store Marinades in the Proper Containers
As we mentioned earlier, pork marinades usually call for a type of acid, which means you should refrain from using metal containers when whisking together marinades. Why? The acid in your marinade could cause a chemical reaction with the metal—which you certainly don’t want! So to be 100% safe, we suggest doing all of the mixing in plastic bags or airtight glass containers.
Ideal Marinating Times for Pork
Contrary to popular belief, there is a formula for marinating times for pork. Leaving your pork cuts drenched in marinade for a few days could leave you with overpowering flavors that could scare away your guests, or even make the texture too mushy, so it’s best to marinade with strategy. For example, pork chops should marinate for six to 12 hours, but never exceed two days. Pork loin can marinate for four to six hours, but pork tenderloin should marinate for two to four hours since it’s much smaller and will soak up the ingredients quicker.
Note that all pork should marinate in the refrigerator covered, and never left out on the counter at room temperature.
Pro Tip: To make sure the marinade is evenly distributed throughout your pork, it’s best to use your clean hands to knead or “massage” these ingredients into every little crevice of the surface area.
Don’t Rinse Away Your Pork Marinade
Once your pork is fully marinated, you might think it’s time to rinse it all off before cooking! However, it’s best to gently scrape off a thin layer of the marinade coating and leave the rest on. This can ensure you get the maximum amount of flavor.
Reusing Pork Marinades: Do’s and Don’ts
If you have leftover marinade, it might be tempting to reuse it for another dish, but this is a huge no-no. Raw meat can yield bacteria that can certainly contaminate your marinade, which could lead to unwanted foodborne illnesses.
Now you can use some of the marinade to “baste” your pork while it’s cooking, but outside of this scenario, it’s best to discard it.
Garner the Most Flavor with High-Quality Pork
To allow your pork marinade to shine and get the tastiest results, it’s best to start with high-quality pork cuts. At Coleman Natural, all of our pork products are 100% natural, exceeding the conventional standards of what USDA defines as “natural.” This means that we never use antibiotics, growth promotants, or artificial ingredients. To take it even further, our farming partners instill crate-free practices that meet American Humane Certified™ animal welfare standards.
When it comes to trying a new pork marinade recipe at home, turn to Coleman Natural for nutritious American-made products you can trust.
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