Pork Tenderloin is a special meat cut of pork, created by cutting the psoas major muscle, spine (central) and lumbar vertebrae. This is a tender pork cut as because these muscles have been involved in posture instead of locomotion.
The National Pork Board in America has regulated several circulars amongst the Americans stating that “Pork is a white meat” and the tenderloin is one of the tender most, leanest and healthier cuts of pork. This meat cut can be easily cooked and this is the reason why it regularly features in most of elegant buffet dinner parties and casual dining across the United States. Stuffed pork tenderloin is a very popular entrée in many banquets around United States.
This meat cut is widely utilized throughout the world, but they are banned in certain food cultures. People following the kosher or kashrut diet and Islamic food culture usually abstain from indulging in pork related products. The pork is also not welcomed in certain Indian food cultures and in United States, pork products are altogether banned in school districts, specifically those operating in Chicago.
Features of Pork Tenderloin
- This meat cut is created such that it measures about 1 foot in length and has a width of about three to six inches.
- Pork tenderloin usually has a cylindrical shape and has narrower ends in comparison to other pork cuts.
- This pork cut is usually sliced and made into medallions, which are known as pork medallions.
- This cut of meat has very less fat and no bone and usually weighs ¾ to 1 ¼ pounds, which is enough to serve three to four diners.
Methods of Preparation
- Various preparatory methods are adopted for cooking pork tenderloin. It is either grilled or roasted as a whole and is served after carving on oval or oblong platter. If roasted whole, the meat is trussed, which means the meat is tied together to retain its characteristic shape and for getting cooked evenly on all sides.
- If cut as a medallion, then it is steamed or sautéed or sometimes a combination of these two cooking methods are performed. Cooked medallions are usually fanned on a plate.
- The flavor of this meat is enhanced using different types of marinades, fresh herbs and spice rubs. The spice rubs are created from cayenne pepper, dried chilies and cumin. Marinades are mostly created using glazes of sweet fruits or from salty teriyaki sauce. Rosemary, thyme, sage are some of the herbs used in the preparation of the meat and these herbs also get roasted with the meat.
- The cooking temperatures vary as per the cooking method but following the expert recommendations it can be confirmed that this pork cut is best to be eaten if it has attained a cooking temperature of 155 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit prior to serving. Culinary experts recommend that while cooking pork tenderloin, it is very important to keep a watch on the meat because prolonged exposure to flame or heat may result in a drier and tougher meat.
- Pork tenderloin tastes best when served at room temperature or hot, which makes it a perfect choice for potluck parties, and picnics. It is also good to be used in sandwiches.
Pork Tenderloin Recipe Variants
- Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – This sandwich is created by battering and breading the thin slice of pork meat. The breaded meat is deeply fried and served with hamburger bun along with ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles.
- Pork Medallions with Madeira – This is a very unique preparation involving pork tenderloin medallions, which is cooked along with butter, Madeira wine and parsley. The pork is normally served after seasoning with herbs.
- Mango Pork – The pork medallions are combined with mango puree and mango cubes to make this dish. The mango pork is usually served with hot cooked rice or pasta.
- Peanut Pork Kebabs – The pork tenderloin is marinated in peanut mixture overnight before broiling or grilling on skewers.
- Stir- Fry Chile Pork – This pork preparation is made by stir –frying the pork medallions with ginger, garlic and tomato paste. The dish is usually served hot after garnishing with herbs. It can be teamed with freshly steamed rice or freshly cooked noodles.
Flavor Profiles for Preparing Pork Tenderloin
- Nutty – Nuts are always a value added addition to prepare this meat variant. The tenderloin can be smeared with Dijon mustard and coated with nutty mixture of pecans and other nuts before roasting.
- Asian – Almost all kinds of Asian sauces can be used in the preparation of tenderloin. Hoisin sauce is usually used as a glaze, soy-citrus sauce is used as a marinade, dipping sauce or glaze. Tandoori style paste can be used for coating the tenderloin or it is also best to glaze it with any regular sweet Indian chutney before roasting.
- Italian – Rosemary and garlic are ideally used in any kind of pork meat.
- Latin – Chiles, garlic powder, cumin can be used as dry rub for making the pork tenderloin. Verde sauce, mole, adobo style garlic-citrus marinade are considered best for marinating the meat.
- Caribbean – The pork meat can be glazed with a sweet sauce (prepared by combining equal parts of rum, brown sugar and Dijon mustard)before roasting.
- Fruity – Tenderloin or other pork meat cuts always gel well with most of the fruits found on earth. Peaches, cherries, blackberries, apples and pineapples are always best to cook the tenderloin. These fruits can be used as a glaze or they can be added to the pan while roasting the pork tenderloin.