I swore off pork several years ago. Growing up, I HATED IT. It was bland, chewy, dry, and disgusting. Sorry, mom.
It wasn’t until recently that I finally came to terms with giving pork another shot. Pork tenderloin is one of the best cuts of pork out there (besides bacon of course). It’s juicy, tender, and really flavorful if you season and prepare the right way.
My pork rehabilitation journey all started with Costco’s pre-seasoned, sliced pork tenderloin. They come liberally rubbed in a blend of spices made with dried garlic, onion, crushed red pepper, parsley, salt and pepper. It’s so delicious, easy to cook, and perfect for weeknight grilling.
This inspired my own roasted pork tenderloin recipe (Costco’s got truly inspirational pork, guys) which is seasoned with a similar rub of dry spices and a little olive oil for the perfect golden finish. Fresh rosemary (I’m addicted), garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
There are a few ways you can prepare pork tenderloin: sliced into individual tenderloins or as a full roast. The full roast is the probably the most flavorful because it keeps the inside juicy and tender. You lose a lot of the juices if you pre-slice and grill for instance. Roasted pork tenderloin is also a little more fancy in terms of presentation, but just as easy (if not easier) to make for dinner.
How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in the Oven
For this recipe, I’m applying a similar technique to how I cook my steaks. A quick sear in a cast iron skillet, followed by finishing/roasting in the oven. Apply a generous rub of spices and olive oil and sear in a cast iron skillet for about 45 seconds a side.
The cast iron sear browns the pork’s exterior and helps create a slight crust of spices. The oven is much better at applying indirect heat to prevent burning. A 1-1.25 pound tenderloin will cook fairly quickly in the oven. I recommend about 15-18 minutes for medium rare.
Temperature For Pork
I recommend taking the tenderloin out of the oven when the internal temp reaches 145° F. This is considered medium-rare and the rarest you can safely consume pork. This is not like medium-rare steak, it renders a slightly pink center with white edges. 160° F is considered well done. This will leave you with a dryer, tougher and totally white center.
This is a great time to invest in an inexpensive digital thermometer. You can quickly stick the center of the tenderloin and know exactly where you’re at in terms of doneness.
Like steak, the rest period after you take the tenderloin out of the oven is critical. This is important for accurate temps and the redistribution of juices throughout the tenderloin. Be sure to remove from the skillet and set on a cutting board uncovered for 5 minutes. When the rest is up, slice into 1 inch thick slices and serve.
That rest period pays dividends. You have 5 minutes to pour a glass of wine or whip up a quick cocktail.Print
- 1–1.25 pound pork tenderloin roast
- Olive oil
Pork Dry Rub
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced (2–3 sprigs, leaves removed)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
- Rub tenderloin with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with the dry rub until evenly coated.
- bring a 12 inch cast iron skillet or oven safe pan to medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and let the skillet get hot first. Sear the tenderloin for about 45 seconds a side, rotating 4 times.
- transfer the skillet directly to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway through. Bake until internal temp in the center of the thickest part reaches 145° F. Remove from the oven, set on a cutting board and let rest uncovered for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve.
Temperatures for pork:
145° F – 150° F: Medium-rare
150° F – 155° F: Medium
155° F – 160° F: Medium-well
160° F +: Well
Keywords: roasted pork tenderloin