What’s so great about pork tenderloin is that it cooks up quick and is very tender and juicy. The average tenderloin weighs about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. The one I used was 1.33 pounds. So most often you will find two tenderloins in the package. For a larger family dinner, I cook both. For just the two or three of us, I cook one and freeze the other for later which makes buying tenderloin a little more economical for my family. Pork tenderloins are also often sold prepackaged in a marinade and as a rule, I do not buy this variety as I do prefer to season the meat myself and control the amount of salt and other additives used in my meal.
My absolute favorite way to cook a pork tenderloin is in my trusted cast iron skillet. Since pork tenderloin is a pretty lean cut of meat, it’s important not to overcook it. It can turn from a tender and juicy cut of meat to dry and chewy rather quickly, so I use a thermometer and cook it to only about 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat. New pork cooking standards issued by the USDA say that it’s fine for the pork to be a little pink inside, as long as it has reached the correct temperature in the thickest part of the meat. This new set of cooking temperatures was issued several years ago now and so it’s become the new standard with pork.
I start the pork on the cooktop and finish it in a pre-heated oven. Start to finish, the meal can be ready in about 25-minutes. It’s awesome for a weeknight meal.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pat the pork dry and cut off any large pieces of surface fat or silver skin covering the meat. Mix all the spices in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the surface of the pork on all sides.
- On the stove over medium-high heat, heat the skillet and add the olive oil. when the pan is hot, add the pork in the pan, curving it to the shape of the pan if it's too long. Cook the tenderloin 5 minutes to caramelize the top and then flip it and cook for another 5 minutes to caramelize the other side.
- Remove the pan from the cooktop and place it into the preheated oven and continue to roast for another 15 minutes.
- The pork is done when its internal temperature registers 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat.
- Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Cooking time is the same if you use one or both tenderloins.