Yet growing up, I don’t remember ever eating it — and my dad raised hogs. When I moved out on my own, I would see recipes for pork tenderloin, but get frustrated when I went to buy the meat. I’d never bought meat from a grocery store before — a topic for an entirely separate blog post — and the way tenderloins were packaged threw me.
A typical recipe calls for a 1 lb. tenderloin, but I could only ever find it in one of two ways: 1 lb. tenderloins pre-marinated or sealed in a “pork broth solution,” or huge packages of 3 or more pounds. Surely those big packages weren’t the right cut, were they?
It was only later that I realized the larger packages at standard grocery stores were actually multiple tenderloins packaged together. A couple years later, I moved to a neighborhood with a Trader Joe’s, which does sell plain 1 lb. tenderloins.
The bigger packages aren’t necessarily a bad thing. This recipe is easy to scale if you’re feeding a crowd. Or, make a second batch of marinade in a separate bag, and throw it into the freezer. Put the extra batch in the refrigerator the night before you want to serve it, and it will marinade as it thaws.
Avoid the versions packaged in a marinade or broth solution. It’s way more sodium than you need, and not that great.
This recipe is best on the (outdoor) grill, but it works well in the oven, too. When I’m grilling, I like pairing it with whatever seasonal vegetables I can throw on the grill, maybe some sweet or fingerling potatoes, and cinnamon applesauce. If I’m indoors, I swap in steamed green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or whatever else I have on hand.
Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from Cooking Light
Yield: 3-4 servings
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 lb pork tenderloin
Preheat grill to medium-high, or preheat oven to 400°.
Remove pork from bag and discard marinade. Lightly season meat with salt and pepper.
If grilling, place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill for 20 minutes. If using the oven, roast for 35 minutes. Cook until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand 10 minutes before slicing thinly.