Deliciously tender pork tenderloin is easier to make than you think! Flavor-infused in an Asian-inspired marinade, roasted to perfection, and served with a tasty sauce, this Asian pork tenderloin is perfect for a weeknight meal or as the centerpiece dish for a gathering!
I used to think pork tenderloin was simply a dry cut of meat.
Flavorless and dry compared to other cuts of pork.
And then I decided to give it chance and tried roasting it...and it was flavorless and dry.
I had roasted it too long and I didn't season it enough...so it confirmed my original impression.
Then, with years passing and more knowledge acquired and much more cooking experience under my belt, I decided to try again.
And thank goodness I did because I think I got it!
Tender roasted pork tenderloin, infused with Asian flavors and served with a delicious soy honey garlic sauce...it's an easy entree you're going to love!
Much like beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin is a strip of meat that doesn't have much fat marbling, but is incredibly tender. The key, however, is to cook it properly because it is easy to make this tender piece of meat dry and tough and unpleasant to eat.
Note about purchasing the pork: Pork tenderloin is quite often sold in a pack of two. I learned this the hard way the first time I made it, thinking the two pieces was actually one and wondering why it literally split apart while it was roasting. Now I know!
This is not always the case, however, but just as a point of reference if it isn't obvious on the packaging, a single pork tenderloin will weigh approximately 1lb./454g. So if you purchase a pack and it says it is 2lbs., it most likely contains two pieces.
Pat the pork tenderloin pieces dry with paper towels and then trim off any excess chunks of fat or the layer of silverskin membrane if it has not already been removed. It is worth the effort to remove the silverskin because it is tough to chew through, which doesn't make for a nice eating experience.
Next, take a fork and poke holes all over the tenderloin. Poking the holes will allow the marinade to soak more into the meat.
Speaking of the marinade, combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon mirin (or cooking wine), 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 2 cloves of garlic (minced or grated), and 1 teaspoon grated ginger in a bowl and mix well. Place the pork tenderloins and the marinade in a zippered storage bag, squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours (overnight is best).
On roasting day, all it takes is a 400F/200C oven and about 30 minutes of roasting time (with a meat flip halfway through) to get these pork tenderloins to perfection! I place the tenderloins on a rack in a pan so that the heat can circulate all around the meat, but if you don't have a rack, that's okay, too.
While the pork is roasting, it is the perfect time to work on the tasty sauce which is simply 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon mirin (or cooking wine), 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 1 minced garlic clove, and ½ teaspoon tapioca starch for thickening (cornstach is okay). Combine all the ingredients in a small pot or saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Adjust the flavoring as desired and voila...your tasty sauce is ready!
Serving the Pork Tenderloin
The pork is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145F/63C. It is important not to overcook the tenderloin as doing so will most definitely make it dry to eat. As with most meats, it's good to let them rest for about 10 minutes to let the juices absorb back into the meat, during which time the internal temperature will continue to climb slightly.
I slice the tenderloins at a slight angle into (roughly) ½" thick medallions. You can drizzle the sauce over the meat before serving or have the sauce on the side.
What Do You Serve With It?
This Asian pork tenderloin goes well with plain white rice, but even more perfect is my Savory Ginger Garlic Coconut Rice. If you're looking for vegetables, some simple leafy stir-fried Asian greens is always a good choice, or you could make a salad and drizzle some Orange Honey Mustard Dressing. For a more refreshing side dish to the pork, Fresh and Simple Apple Coleslaw, Pickled Daikon and Carrots or Cold and Spicy Cucumber Bites are always nice options.
Aside from the time spent allowing the pork tenderloins to marinate, this recipe is quick to prepare and cook and is perfect for serving for dinner any night of the week. And if you were like me years ago and thought roast pork tenderloins are dry and flavorless by definition, this recipe is going to pleasantly change your mind!
Roast Asian Pork Tenderloin
- 2 pieces pork tenderloin, approximately 2 lbs. total
- Combine soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free), mirin, honey, dark soy sauce, minced garlic, and grated ginger in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Pat pork tenderloins dry with paper towels. Use a sharp knife to trim away any excess fat or silverskin membrane. Poke all over several times with a fork.
- Place pork tenderloins and marinade into a zip-top bag, making sure meat is well coated.
- Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and seal. Marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours; overnight is best.
- Preheat oven 400F/200C.
- Place pork tenderloins on a rack in a foil-lined pan.
- Roast tenderloins for 15 minutes. Prepare Sauce (instructions below) while tenderloins are roasting.
- Flip meat over and roast another 15 minutes.
- Meat is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145F/63C.
- Tent foil over the pork and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice into thick medallions. Serve immediately with sauce.
- Combine 3 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons mirin, 2 teaspooons soy suace, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 garlic clove (minced), 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, and ½ teaspoon tapioca starch in a small saucepan or pot and heat over medium heat.
- Stir well to combine and heat until mixture starts to bubble. Simmer for 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Spoon sauce over pork tenderloin medallions or serve in a dish on the side.
- Many pre-packaged pork tenderloins contain two, but read the label to be sure.
- If only roasting one tenderloin, reduce marinade ingredients in the recipe by half.
- One pork tenderloin will weigh approximately 1 lb. (454g).
- Be sure to trim any silverskin membrane from the tenderloin as they will be tough to chew after the tenderloins are cooked.
- Pork is done with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145F/63C. Do not overcook.
- Use tamari for a gluten-free substitution for soy sauce and omit dark soy (unless you find a GF version).
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
- Dark soy sauce is very strong in flavor and also adds color to whatever you add it to. Use it sparingly if adjusting the sauce to your taste.
- Sauce is optional.