How to Cook the Perfect Pork Tenderloin
Whether you’re planning on cooking up a juicy pork tenderloin for your weekday meals or preparing a pork loin for a crowd, it’s helpful to know the best ways to cook these pork cuts and explain why they are different from one another. We’re going to cover the best methods for cooking pork loins and pork tenderloins, as well as how to determine when each one is done.
The Difference Between Pork Loin & Pork Tenderloin
While these pork cuts sound similar, they aren’t the same thing. That’s right—loin is not just a shortened form of tenderloin!
Both cuts can create delicious meals, but knowing the differences between the two will allow you to choose the proper cooking methods so you end up with a perfectly cooked piece of pork that is tender and juicy. A pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that is extremely tender and holds up well to the higher heat and quicker cooking methods.
The pork loin, also known as a center-cut pork roast is sold bone-in or boneless. This cut is mostly lean, but often contains a layer of fat along the top. The pork loin is sometimes cut into steaks, known as pork chops or filets. However, this loin can also be kept whole and cooked low and slow.
How to Cook a Delicious Pork Tenderloin
A grilled pork tenderloin is perfect for balmy summer nights…but once you taste the results of this method, you may find yourself making it your go-to method no matter the time of year. Since it cooks well over high heat, it’s well-suited for methods like roasting and grilling. No matter which method you choose, the trick is to cook the lean tenderloin until it reaches 145ºF while preventing it from becoming overdone and dry. It is okay for it to be slightly pink on the inside.
You’ll also want to ensure that you start by removing the silverskin, a thin layer of connective tissues that remains chewy after cooking. The silverskin will be a different shade than the rest of the tenderloin and it only appears on one side of the meat. After you’ve located it, use a sharp, skinny knife to cut just under its surface—just make sure to cut away from you for safety!
Cooking Pork Tenderloin in the Oven
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to put a delicious meal on the table, look no further than an oven-roasted pork tenderloin. While this method seems suspiciously simple, it produces a tenderloin that’s juicy in the center and delightfully crispy on the outside.
To start, preheat your oven to 400ºF and prepare your tenderloin. Rub the exterior with olive oil and then add your preferred seasonings, whether that’s simple salt and pepper or a blend of orange zest and rosemary.
Once your tenderloin is seasoned, place it on a baking dish and pop it into your preheated oven, uncovered. If your tenderloin is the standard one pound, begin checking the internal temperature after 25 minutes. When your meat thermometer reads 145ºF, remove the dish from the oven and allow the tenderloin to rest for five to ten minutes before cutting.
Cooking Pork Tenderloin on the Grill
A grilled pork tenderloin is perfect for balmy summer nights…but once you taste the results of this method, you may find yourself making it your go-to method no matter the time of year.
Start by rubbing your tenderloin with vegetable or canola oil and seasoning with salt and pepper, a dry rub, or a glaze similar to that used in this Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Island Salsa. While the meat soaks up the seasonings, heat your grill over high heat.
Once the surface is hot (after about ten minutes) add the tenderloin directly to the grill rack. Cook for approximately five minutes then flip and cook the remaining side for another five minutes. Once both sides have developed a nice char, turn the heat down to low and cook for an additional five to ten minutes. Remove the tenderloin once the internal temperature reaches 145ºF.
How Long to Cook Pork Tenderloin
The amount of time pork tenderloin takes to cook depends on the cooking method. If you roast a tenderloin in the oven, it will take between 25 and 35 minutes. Cooking this cut on the grill will lead the meat to be done in about 15 to 20 minutes.
So What About Pork Loin?
While pork tenderloin is typically cooked whole, pork loin may be cut in a variety of ways. However, both whole pork loin and pork loin filets can be cooked in similar ways.
How to Cook Pork Loin in the Oven
If you’re starting with a Coleman Natural marinated pork loin filet, preparing dinner is a snap! To start, preheat your oven to 400ºF and remove your loin filet from the package. Since these cuts are already marinated, you don’t have to worry about salt or other seasonings.
Place the filet in a baking dish and bake it for 30 minutes. After this half hour has passed, insert a meat thermometer to check whether the filet has reached 145ºF. If so, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest. If it’s still not showing the optimal temperature, cook for five more minutes and check the temperature again. Repeat this until it’s cooked to perfection.
If you’re looking to make your pork loin even more special, try out this recipe for Bacon Wrapped Honey Roast Pork Loin.
How to Grill Pork Loin
Another option is to grill your pork loin for a crispy crust, juicy interior, and a bit of a smokey flavor. Start with an already marinated pork loin filet, or add your own marinade or rub.
Once your meat is well-seasoned, heat one side of your grill to medium-high heat. Place the loin filet directly on the grates on the hot side of the grill, cook for five minutes, turn, and cook for another five minutes.
After the meat is well-seared, move it to the cooler side of the grill, and cook for twenty minutes before checking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. If the temperature has not yet reached 145ºF, continue grilling. While smaller pork loin filets may be properly cooked in half an hour, larger loins can take over an hour on the grill. This is why having that meat thermometer is crucial to the process!
Air-Fryer Pork Loin Filet
While whole pork loins are a bit large for the air fryer, Coleman Natural’s pork loin filets are perfect for this appliance! Cooking one of these filets in an air fryer produces meat with a crispy crust and a juicy interior…and allows for easy cleanup!
First, heat your air fryer to 400ºF. Then it’s time to prep your pork—you can start with a pre-marinated filet or add flavor with an Italian-style pork coating. Once your meat is properly seasoned, it’s time to pop it in the air fryer for 25 minutes. At this point, insert a meat thermometer to see if the meat has reached 145ºF. If it has, remove it from the fryer. If it’s still not up to temperature, allow it to cook for a few more minutes then check again.
Start With High Quality Pork
No matter whether you’re firing up the grill for an Asian Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Sauce or heating the oven to roast a savory pork loin, you want to start with delicious meats you can trust. Coleman Natural produces a wide range of natural fresh pork products, including pork tenderloin, garlic and herb marinated pork loin filet, and boneless pork chops.
So when it comes time to try out a new pork recipe or cooking method, turn to Coleman Natural for products you can feel good about.
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