Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pork Tenderloins

I've tried a number of ways to cook up pork tenderloin and to often for no reason at all, they dry out. I've monitored time and temperature close, but all to often I get a dry, sort of tasteless meat. So I finally hit on a foolproof way -- braising. But not a long braise. I have done this in a crock pot and it works, but that takes 6-8 hours. Recently I had two tenderloins in the fridge and nothing else readily available. But I wanted to cook it in less than 40 minutes. So I decided to try something, and it worked well.

  • 2 Pork Tenderloins
  • 3 cups of water (Other liquids can be used, but the first time I did this I used water.
  • 3 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • Salt and Pepper
Prep and Cook:
  • Open the tenderloins and rinse, pat dry.
  • Trim the silver skin from the tenderloins
  • Season well with salt and pepper on each side
  • Slice onion in about 1/4 inch thick slices. Break up and salt and pepper them.
  • Mix the water and soy sauce.
  • Sear in a frying pan with a little oil about 43 minutes per side. You are after a nice brown crust.
  • Add the onion and water mixture and cover
  • Braise for 30 minutes -- this is not a boil, but more a simmer so watch the heat.
  • Cook to about 155-160 internal temperature.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes.
  • While it's resting reserve a 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and strain the cooked onions from the liquid.
  • Put a little cooking liquid on the serving platter. This helps warm the platter and also provides a little juice for the meat.
  • Slice against the grain in about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick slices. Fan on the serving platter.
  • Cover with about a 1/4 cup of cooking liquid and the cooked onions.
  • Serve and enjoy
The addition of the cooking liquid doesn't do much to keep the meat moist. If it's not moist when you slice it, it's too late. The danger is overcooking. While you are braising, if you cook it to 180 or higher, it's going to be dry. if you find it that high, you do have an alternative. I'll discuss that in a moment.

You can use other liquid. I have done this with Chicken Stock and Apple Juice and like it. I have also use a number of spice mixtures, but found I like to keep it simple and the taste of the pork stands out. I've also used sliced apples instead of the onion, but you won't have anything left to spoon over the meat, the apples tend to break way down. What works well there it to reduce the cooking liquid into a pan sauce while the meat is resting. A little added butter and it's silky and smooth.

If you do find the braise heated the meat to 180 or over, you can save it, but it's not going to be quick. Take the pan and put it in a 225-250 degree oven. Let it continue to braise for about 90 minutes. The temperature of the meat actually goes above 200 and the meat shreds nice. It is a little dry, but it will taste well. Because this time while the meat is resting in a little of the braising liquid. Take the rest of the liquid and add chili powder (3 Tbs), Worcester Sauce (1 tsp), brown sugar (2 Tbs), garlic (1/2 tsp), powdered mustard (1/4 tsp) and whisk in while the liquid is reducing by about half. Yes, what you are making it a BBQ sauce. Shred the meat and put it back in the sauce. It sounds weird because a picnic shoulder would do this much better. But remember you are trying to save a dry tenderloin and this way works fairly well.

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