Brushed with tangy Dijon mustard and coated with aromatic herbs, this pork tenderloin is the most delicious pork you will ever eat. The center is delightfully moist, and the multi-herb crust is crispy and caramelized.
The presentation is guest-worthy-gorgeous, but easy enough for a busy weeknight.
The pork is glazed with a tangy blend of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and oregano, then blanketed with a blend of fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme. After a quick trip to the oven (20 minutes max), the pork is ready to serve alongside a fluffy rice medley, roasted potatoes, buttered carrots, steamed asparagus or a mixed green salad.
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Tips for making perfect pork tenderloin
Use pork tenderloin, not pork loin. Pork tenderloin and pork loin are two different cuts of meat. The tenderloin is a slender cut that’s about 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
Pork loin looks more like a roast and is about 5 inches in diameter. Aptly named, pork tenderloin is more tender than the loin and, because of its smaller size, cooks in a fraction of the time.
Trim your tenderloin. Be sure to remove and discard the silver skin. The silver skin is the shiny white connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the tenderloin, and it doesn’t dissolve during cooking. It’s tough, chewy and not fun to eat. Thankfully, it’s also easy to remove.
To remove the silver skin, use a sharp knife to get underneath it, then run the knife down the length of the connective tissue to separate it from the meat. Repeat as needed until all of the silver skin is removed.
Trim excess fat, too. This isn’t a game changer, but since we’re cooking the pork quickly, the fat won’t have time to fully render or melt. That means it also won’t add much moisture or flavor to the meat.
Choose fresh herbs over dried. Since pork tenderloin cooks fast, you don’t have to worry about fresh herbs scorching in the oven. In this dish, the commingling of fresh rosemary, parsley and thyme is aromatic and floral and works exceptionally well with the Dijon-glazed meat.
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How to cook pork tenderloin
First, you need to get your oven nice and hot. The goal is to sear the outside of the pork without overcooking the inside. Pork tenderloin is lean. Fat keeps meat moist. Without fat marbled throughout the meat, your pork tenderloin will dry out quickly. So, hot and fast is the ideal cooking method.
Note that one tenderloin might cook faster than the other. This recipe calls for two pork tenderloins, which is enough meat to serve four to six people.
In my situation, one was finished at 18 minutes and the other at 20. The two tenderloins were slightly different sizes — barely detectable, but enough to affect the cooking time.
Since pork tenderloin is lean, it’s easy to overcook. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the pork reaches 145 degrees, but not higher. At 145 degrees, your pork will be pink in the middle, and pink pork is fork-tender and undeniably juicy.
Since temperatures continue to rise once you remove the meat from the oven, pull your pork tenderloin from the oven when it reaches 140 to 142 degrees. The meat will reach 145 degrees within 5 minutes of sitting on the counter.
And don’t dive right in. As tempting as that pork may be, let it rest before slicing. This will allow the flavorful juices to redistribute throughout the meat. You want the moisture in the meat, not on the cutting board.
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Recipe: Perfect herb roasted pork tenderloin
Servings: 4 to 6.
- 1½ pounds pork tenderloin, about two 12-ounce tenderloins
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Using a very sharp knife, remove and discard the excess fat and silver skin from the tenderloins (the silver skin is the shiny, silver-white connective tissue on the underside of the tenderloin).
- Transfer the pork to the prepared pan and season with salt and black pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and oregano. Brush the mixture all over the top and sides of the pork.
- Press the fresh rosemary, parsley and thyme onto the top and sides of the pork.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 140 to 142 degrees.
- Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing crosswise just before serving.