A well-cooked pork tenderloin is one of my favorite things. There is just something so tasty about that very lean little tube of dark meat. Cooked just right, it is moist and tender enough to cut with a fork.
It has been a while, though, since I prepared pork tenderloin. The issue is that they are usually sold as two large loins per package. And since it’s just Steve and I now, that’s just too much meat for us. Even with some creative repurposing of the leftovers (as in this delicious cold pork tenderloin salad), by the end of its refrigerator life, I still have some left. And by that time, we are often just a smidge tired of eating it repeatedly.
I can find single loin packets, but those are almost always pre-seasoned. Obviously, creating my own dishes gives me a lot of pleasure. So, it’s not that I disdain ready-seasoned meats, per se. It’s just that it takes all the fun out of it for me.
And then I stumbled on a single-packaged, unseasoned loin at our local store so I had to snatch it up. It was organic and all natural, which made it a bit pricier. They probably figured at the higher price per pound, it would be a harder sell to add too many pounds, so a single loin would move faster. It worked for me!
Preparing pork tenderloin with a coffee rub is a delicious way to achieve a richer, darker, more robust bark on the meat. It also leaves a wealth of goodies in the bottom of the pan that can be coaxed out with a little bit of butter to provide some amazing pan drippings to drizzle over the meat when serving. Between the rich, moist dark meat, the dark and flavorful bark, and the decadent drizzle of drippings, this recipe is a winner!
Making Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
What we have here is a simple, one-pan meal. Quick and easy to make. Minimum time on the stove top, with a transfer to the oven that will free you up to pull your sides together. In less than 20 minutes of cooking, you have yourself a gorgeous main dish.
First, mix the rub ingredients together. Then, take the loin out of the packaging and pat it dry. That helps the rub stick a little better to the meat.
Remove as much of the fat and silver skin from the pork as possible. As you can see, my loin was relatively well cleaned. But I still went back and removed that bit of fat and silver skin on the right.
Then pack the rub on every single surface until you can no longer see any exposed meat.
The rub recipe produces about a 1/2-ounce amount of seasoning. I used all but less than a teaspoon on this one-pound pork tenderloin. The key is to add the salt a bit at a time while mixing the rub, testing between each addition until it is to taste. That way you can pack on the rub without worrying that the finished dish will be inedible from excessive salt.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the olive oil and part of the butter. Immediately add the pork tenderloin.
Sear three sides of the meat, still at medium-high. About 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on your stove. I have a gas stove and it only took a minute on each side for me.
As soon as you flip the loin to the 4th side, turn off the burner and transfer the pan to the pre-heated oven. If you sear the 4th side on the stove top, and then transfer to the oven, you risk over-cooking that side and drying out the meat.
Roast the loin for about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145° F. Remove the pork from the oven and transfer it to cutting board or serving dish and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, return the cast iron skillet to the cook top, add the remaining butter over medium-low heat, and stir the melted butter in the pan to deglaze some of the drippings.
Then slice the pork tenderloin into 1-inch rounds, drizzle with the pan drippings, and serve.
We paired ours with a beautiful leek that Steve grilled outside while I put the finishing touches on the meat. I used one deliciously tender and tasty leaf from the leek to garnish my pork tenderloin.
Look at that beautiful bark!
With just barely a hint of pink in the center, the meat was tender, very juicy, and oh so flavorful! The coffee, with the other spices, gives this tenderloin a rich and robust flavor that is so very gratifying.
All this deliciousness from an easy, one-pan dish that took no time at all to prepare.
So, next time you are craving some pork, give this recipe a try. You may just decide this is your favorite way to prepare a pork tenderloin.
- FOR THE COFFEE RUB
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon loose brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- FOR THE TENDERLOIN
- 1 pound trimmed pork tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoon sweet butter, divided
- ½ ounce coffee rub
- Prepare the rub and set aside.
- Remove the pork tenderloin from the package and pat dry. Trim off any excess fat or silver skin, then coat the entire surface of the tenderloin with the rub, packing it in gently, until no meat is exposed.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and one tablespoon of the butter, then immediate add the tenderloin.
- Using cooking tongs, rotate the meat to sear three sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Turn the loin onto the fourth side and immediately turn off the burner. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the loin for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.
- Transfer the loin to a serving dish or cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in the skillet with the pan drippings over medium-low heat. Stir the butter to deglaze the pan and to create a small amount of pan sauce.
- Cut the loin into 1-inch rounds and drizzle the pan sauce over the meat before serving.