Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pork Tenderloin

Have I mentioned my favorite recipe for pork tenderloin? Or rather, my new favorite technique for making juicy pork tenderloin? It's adapted from Jose Andres Tapas cookbook - perhaps I should send a copy to Kelsey?

Preheat oven to 250ºF. Cut a pork tenderloin into 4 roughly equal portions and roll in a bit of olive oil then sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper. Place in an oven-safe skillet or on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, turning pieces halfway through. The internal temperature should be at 140ºF. Yes, you saw that right - 140º. Not 160º or 165º. The meat may be slightly pink at the center, and it will be extremely tender and juicy. Sauce as desired.

So why do we normally cook pork until it's dry and flavorless? Presumably to kill off Trichinella spiralis and prevent trichinosis, an illness no longer prevalent in developed nations such as the U.S. However, US FDA Title 9 section 318.10 doesn't mention cooking pork beyond a temperature of 144º. Freezing pork for a period of days before cooking also is beneficial to warding off trichinosis. And my pork tenderloins always spend time in the freezer before I get around to cooking them.

Mr Minx and I really enjoyed our Saturday dinner of pork with a sauce of Mexican chorizo, red mole, and goat's cheese, with a skillet cornbread accompaniment. (It wasn't pretty - the sauce looked like runny chili - so I didn't photograph it.) And a big part of the enjoyment was the juiciness of the meat.