Nina’s Tips & Techniques: Pork Tenderloin
Does pork have to be cooked well done?
It does not! For a long time it was recommended that pork get cooked well done to eliminate the risk of trichinosis, a parasite that was formerly common in pork. However, trichinosis has been bred out of pork and we can now enjoy pork as it was meant to be eaten; medium-rare to medium. Hooray!
Whenever I cook pork tenderloin it comes out super dry. Am I doing something wrong?
Pork tenderloin is a very lean piece of meat. When meat lacks fat it can dry out easily in the cooking process. I like to sear pork tenderloin on all sides and then lower the heat so it cooks gently the rest of the way through. I also love basting lean meats with a little butter or olive oil and some aromatics. This helps tenderize and flavor the meat. Finally, it is crucial that meat, especially lean meats, get to rest after they are cooked and before they are cut. I’ve seen so many TV Chefs say things like “sear the meat to seal in the juices,” but that is really a cooking myth. Searing adds flavor as the proteins brown, but it does not seal in juices. RESTING will keep the juices in though – so do it! Resting allows time for the juices inside the meat that are moving around really fast during the cooking process to slow down and for the cell membranes in the meat proteins to firm up and retain them. This keeps your meat juicy and delicious! Rest 5-10 minutes before slicing – this is the step to make sure you never skip!