Don’t even think about halving this recipe. I know …you’ll be grilling enough meat to feed what seems to be a small army. You may have just four at your table tonight. Not to worry. This Herb Grilled Pork Tenderloin is delicious sliced down for sandwiches the next day or two.
The prep is easy but you do need to plan ahead since the pork must marinade for at least 3 hours. I usually start marinating the night before or, at the very latest, first thing that morning. The longer you marinade, the more flavorful and tender your grilled pork will be.
It is essential that you use fresh ingredients, especially the herbs. It really does make a difference in the final dish.
Use a gallon sized zip-lock bag to hold the pork along with the marinade. It really is the best way to surround the meat with the liquid. Just be sure to place the bag in a baking dish before placing in the fridge …you never know if that bag might spring a leak!
Ina Garten features this recipe in her Back to Basics Cookbook. She states that that it works well on the grill or in the oven. If you must, go ahead and use your oven. But, I highly recommend the grill for this. The smoky flavor, combined with the lemon and herbs, is simply delicious.
Be sure to keep track of time when grilling. Depending on your grill and the size of each tenderloin, the total grill time will be anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. The best way to achieve the perfect “slight pinkness” is to check the internal temperature when you think it may be done. Insert your digital thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. When it reaches 137° …remove from the heat. Place in a clean baking dish and cover tightly with foil for 10 minutes. The meat will continue cooking and reach the desired internal temp of 140°.
Even though it’s not in any way necessary, I like to grill some lemon as an embellishment for the final dish. Be sure to brush the sliced lemon with some oil before placing them on the grill. If you won’t be enjoying all of the pork tenderloins for tonight’s dinner, just slice what you think you will need at the moment. It is better to wrap the leftovers as a small roast rather than slices. Also, keep in mind …if you double wrap, the grilled pork can be frozen to be used in a month or two. It is delicious heated up as it is or you could make up some pan gravy to change it up a bit.
herb grilled pork tenderloin
Adapted from Ina Garten's Back to Basics Cookbook
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 - 6 lemons)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 - 6 cloves)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 pounds pork tenderloin
- kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl or a 16-ounce glass measuring cup. Trim the pork tenderloins and place them in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Place the bag in a large baking dish or pan. Pour the marinade over the tenderloins and turn to coat all surfaces. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
When ready to cook, build a charcoal fire or preheat the gas grill.
Brush the cooking grate with oil to prevent the pork from sticking. Remove the tenderloins from the bag and place them on the prepared grill leaving the herbs that cling to the meat. Discard the marinade or heat to boiling to serve with meat (see note). Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt and pepper.
Grill tenderloins, turning a few times to brown all sides, for 15 to 25 minutes (depending on the heat of the grill and the size of the tenderloins) until the meat registers 137° at the thickest part. Transfer the meat to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Carve in diagonal slices of 1/2 inch to 1 inch in thickness, depending on your preference. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be pink (which is fine) and the thinner part will be well-done.
Serve warm or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the plate. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, such as sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme. Optional grilled lemon can be added.
NOTE: Marinade can be used to serve with the grilled meat but MUST be cooked thoroughly to kill bacteria. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for a full 10-15 minutes.
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