How to Cook the Perfect Pork Tenderloin

It’s crunch time.

Summer’s winding down quickly, which means we have limited time to take advantage of a few things:

Summer cocktails, of course (have you tried the Bourbon Slush yet?)

And all things grilled.

Summer is the time to throw any and everything on the grill and see what you come up with, from beer can chickens and brats to sizzling steaks and veggie sides.

Or, if you’re like me, a nice pork tenderloin.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: while most early 20-somethings are trying their hardest to master the requisite roast chicken, I was on a mission to perfect pork.

See, in the early days of my catering career, I served a lot of pork. I’m talking back in the days when it was just me, my red Volvo station wagon, and my home kitchen, serving dinners to small groups rather than lavish galas.

Why pork, you ask?

Because the often-looked-over pork tenderloin serves as a healthy main dish that won’t break the bank and is versatile enough to serve at home or at an elegant event.

And it’s totally do-able from your home grill, which is exactly where I started.

It also happens to taste delicious in a sweet potato biscuit, which was my preferred method of serving it.

But pork doesn’t always play out well. Finding the right technique to achieve a perfectly moist center without risking undercooking takes some experimentation. And even then, there’s a very fine line between juicy and dried out, and it’s all too easy to cross.

After some trial and error, I found that grilling is the best way to cook it, and the secret is all in the timing and brining.

Suffice to say, pork tenderloin was one of the first dishes I mastered.

And this is the recipe I used to master it.

If you’re looking for a new way to take advantage of that grill before the season ends, this recipe gets full marks from me.

Try it out, and let me know what you think!


Adapted from Pam Anderson's recipe which originally appeared in Fine Cooking. 

This is a no-fail recipe for perfectly cooked pork tenderloin – seasoned, juicy, and fully cooked.  The brine and glaze are key for adding extra flavor.

Pork Brine:

1 quart    water

½ c         kosher salt

½ c         sugar

2            pork tenderloins* – trimmed of excess fat and silver skin. Be sure to buy tenderloins that have not been treated and have not been soaked in any kind of salt/saline solution by the producer.

Honey Mustard Glaze:

2 T            olive Oil

2 T            Dijon mustard

2 T            honey

Whisk ingredients together.

In a medium bowl or container, mix salt and sugar with water. Submerge pork tenderloins in the brine and let stand about 45 minutes. Remove the pork from the brine, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.

Heat grill to medium-high heat (425° degrees).  Rub tenderloins with olive oil.

Put the pork on the hot grill grate. Close the lid and grill for 7 minutes. Turn the pork over, close the lid, and grill for another 6 minutes.

Turn off the heat (keep the lid closed) and continue to cook the pork for another 5 minutes. At this point, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the thickest end of the tenderloin should read 145° to 150°F. (If not, close the lid and let the pork continue to roast in the residual grill heat.)

Remove the pork from the grill and brush with honey mustard glaze. Let pork rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Cut across the grain into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately, with the sauce of your choice.

1 comment

  • Thank you for the recipe! This is my favorite dish that you have on your menus for home delivery!

    Brenda Steakley

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