Raw Pork Tenderloin
Cooking,  Food Preparation,  Meat,  Pork

Pork Tenderloin Explained- Prep, Serving Size & Cooking Tips!

Pork tenderloin is a succulent tender cut of meat that can make any meal an instant hit when done right. However, many people shy away from trying this cut of pork as they are unsure how to prepare it, and how to cook it to perfection.

So what is a Pork Tenderloin? The pork tenderloin is a long thin muscle that runs along the inside of the pork loin ribs of a pig. There are 2 pork tenderloins per animal, and they weigh approx. 20 – 24 ounces each. These muscles are the most tender cut of meat from the pig, and can be cooked in a variety of ways to produce delicious meals.

In this article we aim to tell you everything you need to know about the pork tenderloin, so that you can be confident enough to go out and try this amazingly versatile pork cut for yourself, and really impress your next dinner guests.

Pork Tenderloin AKA Pork Fillet

The pork tenderloin, also referred to as ‘Pork Fillet’, is a lean and tender pork muscle that resembles a long slim tube shape. The muscle is solid and round, but does taper down flat at one end.

Due to the being tucked away behind the rib cavity of the animal, this muscle gets very little use during the life of the pig, and so results in being extremely tender. In fact it is the most tender cut of pork that you can get from the animal.

Being a very lean muscle, it can be easy to overcook the meat, and potentially dry it out. However, the versatility of the cut allows it to be used in a wide variety of dishes that will always be a hit with your diners when cooked right.

Don’t Worry! You’ll be pleased to know that it is not difficult to cook it to perfection, and we will cover that later in the article.

Pork Tenderloin Muscle

Is Pork Tenderloin the same as Pork Loin?

No! Although it is common for people to make this assumption, they are very different cuts of meat. The pork loin runs the full length of the back of the pig, and is where you get the pork chops, pork roasts, pork loin steaks etc.

Pork Loin Is Much Bigger Than The Tenderloin

How Much Does A Pork Tenderloin Weigh?

The average pork tenderloin will weigh around 1 1/2 lbs (24 ounces) each, depending on the size of the animal at the time of slaughter. Sometimes they can be as small as just 1lb, or as large as 2lb if taken from a larger pig bred for bacon.

Unless you are buying fresh from an independent butcher or meat market, you will generally see the tenderloins sold as a pair in a vacuum sealed pouch.

When buying them vacuum sealed, be sure to prepare for the slightly off putting smell that may arise from the package when opened. Vacuum sealing meat allows the meat to remain fresher for longer, however being secured in an airtight pouch with it’s own juices, does create an odor. Once opened, allow the meat to ‘air out’ for about 15 minutes, and the odor should disappear.

How Much Pork Tenderloin Per Serving?

Firstly you will need to decide if the pork is being served as a main dish, or as a starter. Also bear in mind how much other food is on offer to go alongside the dish.

As a rule of thumb, you want to allow about 8oz of meat per adult serving if it is providing a main meal. If the tenderloin is on the smaller side, then it can be easier to say half a tenderloin per portion, and if it is on the larger side, then 3 servings per tenderloin.

If you are serving it as a starter, or part of a larger multi course meal, then you would be able to squeeze out an extra serving per tenderloin, and offer a smaller portion. This is also true if there are children or small eaters as part of your guest list.

The lean and tender pork fillet will feed 2 – 3 people

Pork Tenderloin Preparation

Although the tenderloin is the most tender part of the pig, it can be spoiled by a lack of simple preparation.

There is a thin silverskin membrane that runs along the top of the muscle, and this need to be removed prior to cooking as it is tough and chewy.

Many people who have tried pork fillet and not been impressed, have probably been served an untrimmed tenderloin!

Removing the silverskin membrane only takes a minute, and only requires a sharp knife. Once completed, the hardest part of the meal prep is done.

If you are buying your tenderloins from a butcher or meat market, then ask them to remove the silverskin for you, they will be happy to do it. If you are buying them from a grocery store, the following video will guide you through the easy process of doing it at home yourself.

How Should You Cook Pork Tenderloin?

As mentioned earlier, the pork tenderloin is a very versatile cut of meat that can be prepared in a variety of ways to create many delicious meals.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin

A nice and simple way to serve your pork tenderloin is to roast it in the oven.

Due to the small size of the muscle, it can be cooked and ready to serve in as little as 25 minutes.

Simply remove the meat from the refrigerator about 30mins prior to cooking to allow the meat to reach room temperature. This will allow the meat to cook more evenly once place in the oven.

Season the pork with your favorite herbs or spices, or even coat with a mustard and breadcrumb coating. The possibilities are endless!

Sear the pork in an high heat ovenproof skillet until browned on all sides. This takes about 6 minutes

Preheat your oven to 400oF / 200oC and then place the uncovered skillet in the centre of the oven.

Cook for approx. 10 – 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145oF / 63oC when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. This temperature will ensure the pork is cooked enough to kill any harmful bacteria, whilst remaining succulent, moist and tender.

Let the pork rest for 5 mins before slicing and serving.

The pork will still have a pink tinge to the meat and that is perfect!!

Stir Fry & Fajitas

Due to the lean and tender nature of the tenderloin, it makes it the ideal cut for making stir fry and fajita dishes.

Simply cut the pork into thin strips and coat with your favorite spices.

Pan fry in a high heat skillet and add your favorite vegetables.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Kebabs

Pork Tenderloin Makes Delicious Grilled Kebabs

The pork tenderloin is a fantastic cut of meat to use on the backyard grill.

Whether cooking them whole or cutting them up to make delicious kebabs, they will be ready in no time and be an instant hit with all the gang.

Can Pork Tenderloin Be Cooked Pink?

Absolutely!!!! In fact this is how you get the perfect pork tenderloin.

As was mentioned earlier, for the perfect results, and to enjoy your pork at its finest, you don’t want to overcook it!

Gone are the days when you have to cook pork into a dry and inedible offering, USDA new guidance has come out to say that pork is perfectly safe to eat so long as it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 145oC and rested for at least 3 minutes.

For more information about eating medium rare pork, read our article: Medium Rare Pork Is Safe to Eat!

Using a digital food temperature probe will allow you to ensure you remove the meat from the heat at just the right time to prevent overcooking. They are inexpensive and will change the way you cook forever.

Following this guidance will give you a new appreciation for just how moist and flavorful pork can truly be, and I can assure you, once you try it, you will never again go back to overcooking it.

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