Illustration for article titled Pork Fillet Is The Perfect Pork For BeginnersPhoto: Claire Lower

When it comes to main course proteins that “everyone” should cook, fried chicken is perhaps the most popular, at least in the US. However, it’s not the easiest meat to master, nor is it even my favorite (although I love that labneh-marinated bird). That, my friends, would be the pork tenderloin.

Illustration for article titled Pork Fillet Is The Perfect Pork For Beginners

Pork tenderloin is the perfect cut for people learning how to cook meat. It’s inherently tender, fairly cheap (if not the cheapest), and has an extremely favorable low-effort-high-reward ratio. It’s the perfect protein during the week.

Tenderloins – not to be confused with the larger, milder pork loin – are pretty small, about a pound or so, which is enough for 2-4 people, depending on how much non-meat stuff you serve with it. If you live alone, you’ll be happy about the leftovers: thin slices of cold pork tenderloin make excellent sandwiches.

As the name suggests, pork tenderloin is tender, but it’s also lean, which means you can cook it over if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there is an easy way to make sure this doesn’t happen. Just use a little method known as a “reverse sear”. When you’ve read my other two Blogs Pork tenderloin (which focused on the marinades), you know that all that reverse burn requires is to soak the tenderloin in a low temperature (250C) oven for about 50 minutes, or how long it takes to get 15 degrees below your target temperature, then finish with a sear on the stove to bring it to that temperature. You will need a kitchen thermometer, but anyone who cooks meat should have one. You can use this method for pork chops too, but I like the ease of cooking one large cut rather than several smaller ones. (Although there are some large pork chops, the ones you find in most grocery stores are usually suitable for one person.)

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If you have the time, marinating a fillet will take it to amazing places, but you don’t have to. My favorite marinades are an ingredient – neither Miso or Shio Koji– but I slowly toasted it with salt, pepper and some MSG this weekend, then finished it in a lot of browned butter and it reigned. Whether you marinate or not, the procedure is the same.

Simple back-seared pork tenderloin with browned butter


  • 1 pork tenderloin (about a pound or a little more)
  • Whatever you like marinades or graters or seasonings
  • A few teaspoons of olive oil (if you haven’t used a marinade)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter

Marinate your pork if you want and remove the marinade by wiping or patting with paper towels. Preheat your oven to 250 ℉. If you haven’t used a marinade, drizzle some olive oil over the pork, rub it around, and season it generously with salt and pepper (and some MSG if you have it). Place the fillet in a frying pan and cook it in the oven until it has an internal temperature that is 15 degrees below the desired quality of your pork. (I always cook mine at 135 ° C, so I remove the fillet from the oven when the thermometer reads 120 ° C, which takes about 50 minutes, so I turn it at 25 ° C.)

Take the fillet out of the oven and set it aside while heating your butter in a pan over high heat. Once the butter is really frothy, add the fillet and brown on all sides. Flip it over about every 30 seconds until you get a good color. The butter turns nice and brown with the pork. Transfer the fillet to a plate or platter, pour the browned butter on the pork and let it rest for five minutes before serving.