When I’m in the mood for pork, I usually run to the grocery store, buy whatever’s on sale and build a recipe and a meal around that particular cut. The best buys are most often extra large pork loins and broad shoulders. Two cuts I can do plenty with. Occasionally, the plain, petite tenderloins hit the sale rack and when they do I grab a few of those. Until about three years ago, though, I never bothered with the tenderloins. I found them a challenge to cook to the recommended internal temperature without having them turn out dry and blah. Then some brilliant person realized that pork could be safely eaten medium-rare and all became right in my pork-loving world. Now I rock the blushingly pink pork tenderloins all sorts of way. My favorite fix is and probably always will be my Appetizer-Style Banh Mi. The marinade I created for that finger food coupled with the quick cooking time keeps the meat moist and flavorful. It’s so good in fact that I frequently make just the pork portion of that recipe and serve it over vermicelli noodles. Yum! My current runner-up is this spice-rubbed tenderloin recipe I’m sharing with you today. The seasoning mix I pulled together in this instance strikes a nice balance of sweet, savory and smoky. When browned on the stove top, the spices create an inviting crust on the tenderloin that adds tons of flavor and helps seal in the juices. Finishing the tenderloin in a hot oven, monitoring the temperature towards the end and letting the pork rest for a few minutes, ensures a perfectly cooked piece of pork every time.
Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin Recipe
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1- to 1 1/2-pound pork tenderloins
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine first 7 ingredients (through cayenne). Remove silver skin from pork and pat dry. Coat tenderloins with spice mixture. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Place pork in oven and roast, uncovered, until internal temperature registers 145 degrees F, about 18-22 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan juices drizzled on top. Makes 6 servings.