Mexican Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is the perfect protein – low in fat, quick cooking, hell they are even portion controlled so you can easily scale up or down.  Grilled, roasted, pan sautéed in medallions, stir fried in strips or cubed in stews there is just nothing this piggie cannot do.  I am not a huge fan of pork chops as I find they dry out and can become tough really easily.  Same can be said for pork tenderloin if you aren’t careful but an easy way to hedge against that is to marinate the pork, which will not only give it flavor but often help tenderize the meat and make it less tough (especially if there is acid involved as there is in this recipe).  Again you should view this as a method not a fixed list of ingredients.  For fiesta friday I made this with lime juice and chili powder but you could easily turn this italian with balsamic vinegar and garlic or greek with lemon juice and oregano.  Basically if you have some acid, ingredients that add a good flavor punch, some oil and a plastic baggie you are good to go.  Also please don’t be a snob about the gallon plastic bag – it’s not Pinterest worthy or stylish but it gets the job done, actually ensures that all of the meat gets marinated and what is better than disposable??

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I served this alongside last week’s quinoa salad which was delicious but it would also be great with an avocado and onion salad, chopped up and thrown into tortillas for tacos or quesadillas or sliced thinly on a taco salad.

Mexican Marinated Pork Tenderloin (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  easy street
Special Equipment:  plastic gallon sized baggie, meat thermometer

  • 1 pork tenderloin (or 8, honestly you can increase this to as many as your baggie can hold)
  • the juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced finely
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (I had guajillo on hand but any kind or generic will do)

Put pork and all the ingredients in a plastic baggie, close the top pressing out as much air as possible and squishing everything together.  Marinate for 45 minutes to up to 2 hours.  You could do it for longer if you needed to but the lime juice can start to break down the proteins in the pork after too long and it will get mushy.  Sweet spot is about an hour – you can leave it at room temp in the baggie to marinate since you don’t want to throw a cold tenderloin on the grill anyway.  When you are ready to cook, heat a grill or grill pan on high and when hot pull the tenderloin out of the baggie, shake off excess marinate and throw on the grill.

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Grill for about 15-20 minutes depending on how big a tenderloin it is, turning every 5 minutes to get char on all sides.  A meat thermometer should read about 140 degrees.  Take off the grill and let rest under tin foil for about 5 minutes then slice and serve.

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Mexican Marinated Pork Tenderloin

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Print

Special Equipment:  plastic gallon sized baggie, meat thermometer

  • 1 pork tenderloin (or 8, honestly you can increase this to as many as your baggie can hold)
  • the juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (I had guajillo on hand but any kind or generic will do)

Put pork and all the ingredients in a plastic baggie, close the top pressing out as much air as possible and squishing everything together.  Marinate for 45 minutes to up to 2 hours.  You could do it for longer if you needed to but the lime juice can start to break down the proteins in the pork after a while and it will get mushy.  Sweet spot is about an hour – you can leave it at room temp in the baggie to marinate since you don’t want to throw a cold tenderloin on the grill anyway.  When you are ready to cook heat a grill or grill pan on high and when hot pull the tenderloin out of the baggie, shake off excess marinate and throw on the grill.  Grill for about 15-20 minutes depending on how big a tenderloin it is, turning every 5 minutes to get char on all sides.  A meat thermometer should read about 140 degrees.  Take off the grill and let rest under tin foil for about 5 minutes then slice and serve.

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