South Your Mouth · Jun 3, 2014

Perfect Pork Tenderloin

OK, don’t freak out on me. But I cook pork tenderloin and loin medium, leaving a tad of pink. It’s perfectly safe! If you don’t believe me, read this article. People have been overcooking pork forever, mostly due to the old USDA guidelines. They've finally updated them! The new recommended temperature is 145 degrees – a whopping FIFTEEN degrees lower than before. That’s a huge difference.
“Our consumer research has consistently shown that Americans have a tendency to overcook common cuts of pork, resulting in a less-than-optimal eating experience,” said Pamela Johnson, director of consumer communications for the National Pork Board. “The new guidelines will help consumers enjoy pork at its most flavorful, juicy – and safe – temperature.”
I've been cooking it to 150-ish for quite some time based on the Food Network recommendations which are usually lower than the USDA. I figure Food Network knows more about what tastes good than the USDA.

If you don’t want to try it this way or if you prefer yours well done, by all means, cook away! I’ll post the temperatures below so you’ll have a guideline for perfectly cooked pork!

Now, about the recipe! I love Asian inspired marinades with pork! And the leftovers are perfect for fried rice the next day!

Perfect Pork Tenderloin
2 pork tenderloins
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sesame oil*
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Rinse tenderloins under cold water. Pat dry and add to a gallon-sized zip-top bag or sealable container; set aside.

To make the marinade, combine garlic, ginger, pepper, brown sugar, soy sauce and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and mix well. Whisk in sesame oil and vegetable oil until mixture is emulsified (oil isn't separated from the liquid). Pour marinade over tenderloins and refrigerate 8-12 hours.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange tenderloins in baking dish and pour marinade over tenderloins. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Combine ingredients for glaze and brush over both tenderloins. Return tenderloins to oven and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until cooked to your desired temperature (per Food Network recommendations):

Medium rare - 145 degrees
Medium - 150 degrees
Well done - 160 degrees

Remove tenderloins from oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

*If you don’t have any sesame oil or don’t feel like buying it, the marinade will still be delicious but I promise once you've cooked with sesame oil you’ll fall in love with it and find yourself adding it to all sorts of things (grilled or roasted vegetables, stir-fry, marinades, sauces, etc.). Just use it sparingly as it’s pretty strong. Refrigerate to store to extend the shelf-life.

This recipe was featured at the Weekend Potluck!

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