Pork Tenderloin – Preparation, Cooking Tips And Ideas

The pork tenderloin is one of the most popular cuts of meat because it is very flavorful, easy to cook, and versatile.

Pork Tenderloin - Preparation, Cooking Tips And Ideas

This lean cut of meat is often served as part of a complete dinner, especially during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But you don’t have to wait for special occasions to enjoy this tasty cut of meat. You can cook pork tenderloin everyday for a quick weeknight meal.

Preparing a pork tenderloin is simple, and cooking it takes just minutes.

In fact, there are several different methods for preparing pork tenderloin, depending on whether you want to sear it, braise it, grill it, bake it, roast it, or even smoke it. How do you know which method to use?

Read on for more information on this versatile meat. 

Pork Fillet

The pork tenderloin is a lean and tender muscle found within the loin area of the pig. This particular muscle is located just behind the ribs where it is protected by the rib cage.

When the carcass is opened up, the tenderloin is often removed for consumption. It is usually sold whole or sliced into steaks.

Due to being tucked away beneath the rib cage, this muscle receives very limited use during the life of a pig, and so this results in an exceptionally tender piece of meat.

Because of this, it is considered one of the best cuts of pork for cooking. It is also one of the easiest cuts to cook because there is no bone to worry about breaking.

Being a very lean muscle, this cut can also dry out easily if overcooked.

A good way to avoid this problem is to sear the outside of the pork tenderloin quickly over high heat, then finish off under low heat but we’ll look at this in more detail later. 

Is Pork Loin And Tenderloin The Same? 

There are many misconceptions about what constitutes a pork tenderloin.  First off, there is no such thing as a “pork chop.

“A” chop” is actually just a portion of a larger piece of meat. For example, a boneless pork loin roast is usually sold as a single large chunk of meat.

This is called a “roast,” and it contains both the shoulder blade and tenderloin sections. 

When you buy a whole pork loin roast, you’re getting everything that makes up the entire section of meat. You’ll find the bone, fat, muscle, and connective tissue.

As already mentioned, pork loin runs the entire length of the back of a pig, and is where we get most of our pork chops, pork roasters, pork loin steak, and bacon.

There are several types of pork loins, including Boston butt, rib end, center cut, and picnic ham. Each type of loin offers something unique. 

The Boston butt is often used for making pulled pork sandwiches because it has a lot of marbling throughout. Rib ends offer a nice flavor, but tend to be leaner.

Center cuts are great for cooking because they come from the middle part of the loin. They are typically quite fatty, and therefore add a lot of flavor to dishes like ribs.

And finally, the picnic ham is the least expensive option and includes the shoulder blade section.

So, next time someone asks you what kind of pork they want, remember that they could be asking for anything from a pork chop to a pork roast to a pork loin steak.


The average pork tenderloin weighs around 1 lb 12 oz (1 1/2 pounds). This amount is based on the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

Unless you are buying fresh from a local butcher, you will most likely find the tenderloins sold in pairs in a vacuum sealable bag.

In general, the tenderloins will come vacuum sealed, meaning they have been packaged with a plastic film over the entire surface of the meat, allowing oxygen to escape.

When purchasing a vacuum sealed tenderloin, make sure to check the expiration date. If you buy one that is expired, you run the risk of having bacteria grow inside the meat.

If you do open up the package, be prepared for the slightly off-putting smell that might arise. Once opened, allow the tenderloins to ‘air out’ for about 15 minutes, then place them back into the original packaging.

If you plan on cooking the tenderloins immediately, you don’t need to worry about the odor, however, if you’re planning on storing them for later use, you’ll want to ensure they have not gone off. 

How Much Per Person?

Pork Tenderloin

The amount of pork tenderloin per serving varies depending on whether it is intended as a main meal or as a starter.

A main meal typically contains around 8oz of meat per serving, while a starter usually serves less than 4oz.

A starter might contain 2-3 portions of pork tenderloin, whereas a main meal could include up to 5 portions of pork tenderloins.

However, keep in mind that the size of the tenderloin does affect the number of people that can be fed.

For example, a large loin of pork tenderloin could serve 10 adults, whereas a medium loin of pork tenderloin would feed approximately 7 adults.


There are many ways to prepare this delicious piece of meat. Here are five tips to make sure that your next pork tenderloin dinner turns out perfect every time.

1. Remove The Silver Skin Membrane

This is the thin layer of skin that runs along the top edge of the tenderloin. You want to remove this skin as it is too tough and chewy.

To do this, simply run your finger down the length of the tenderloin where the skin meets the meat.

Then gently pull up on the skin, starting at the opposite end of the meat. When you reach the middle section of the tenderloin, just slide your fingers under the skin and carefully peel it off.

2. Trim Fat

If you buy your pork tenderloin already trimmed, then you don’t have to worry about trimming the fat.

However, if you bought your pork without any trimming, then you’ll need to take care of that as too much fat may compromise your recipe. 

Start by cutting away any excess fat around the edges of the tenderloin by running your knife along the sides of the tenderloin and pulling the fat away from the meat.

Next, slice away any remaining fat from the center of the tenderloin with a chef’s knife.

3. Season Pork

Once you’ve trimmed the fat, season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Try to use freshly ground black pepper, as this gives the best flavor.

Also, try not to overdo it when seasoning the pork. The goal here is to give the pork a nice balance between salty and sweet flavors.


It’s wise to take care when cooking pork as it’s a meat that dries out easier especially when overcooked. If you follow these steps you should get a moist and delicious result. 

1. Sear Pork

To sear the pork tenderloin, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and wait for the oil to get hot before adding the pork.

Cook the pork tenderloin for 3 minutes on each side. If you’re using a gas stove, turn the burner all the way to high and let the flame burn for about 30 seconds.

If you’re using an electric stove, turn the knob to high and leave it there for about 30 seconds.

2. Finish Pork

Once the pork has been seared, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Let the pork cook for 15 minutes, turning occasionally so that both sides are evenly browned.

After 15 minutes, check the internal temperature of the pork. It should read 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). If it doesn’t, continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

3. Serve Pork

When the pork tenderloin reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Slice the pork into medallions or slices and serve immediately.

4. Store Leftovers

You can store leftover pork tenderloin in the refrigerator for up to three days. Just wrap the pork tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a container.

Stir Fried/Fajitas 

Stir Fried/Fajitas 

The tenderloin is one of the most popular cuts of meat because it’s so versatile.

In addition to searing and roasting  you can use it for stir fries, fajitas, tacos, sandwiches, burritos, enchiladas, salads, soups and stews. Just make sure you buy it from a trusted source.

If you don’t know where to find it, here are some tips:

  • Look for packages labeled “lean ground pork loin.”
  • Check out local butcher shops, farmers markets and grocery stores that specialize in selling specialty meats like bacon, sausage and hams.
  • Ask your local Asian market about the best sources for pork tenderloin.


The pork tenderloin tends to be one of those cuts of meat that are often overlooked, especially since it takes longer to cook than most other meats.

But once you try grilled pork tenderloins, you won’t want to go back to grilling anything else.

These little guys take just minutes to prepare and are perfect for making kebabs.

You’ll Need:

  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lemon wedges
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Cut the pork tenderloin into 4 equal pieces. Season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the pork tenderloins onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the pork over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. While the pork is cooking, cut the lemon into quarters. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  5. When the pork is done, slice each piece into 3 strips. Thread the pork onto skewers. Brush the pork with the lemon marinade. Grill the pork for 6-8 minutes on each side, basting frequently with the remaining marinade. Serve hot.

These delicious kebabs are ideal for parties and BBQs.


Pork tenderloins are an excellent choice when you’re looking for lean protein. They have a mild flavor and they’re easy to cook.

Happy cooking!

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