Cooking a pork tenderloin can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure how long to cook it for. Overcooking can result in a dry and tough piece of meat, while undercooking can lead to foodborne illness.
But fear not, we’ve gathered some tips and tricks from around the internet to help you cook a 1.2 lb pork tenderloin to perfection. From searing to baking, we’ll cover different methods and cooking times to ensure your pork tenderloin is juicy, flavorful, and safe to eat.
So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!
How Long To Cook A 1.2 Lb Pork Tenderloin?
When it comes to cooking a 1.2 lb pork tenderloin, there are a few factors to consider, such as the cooking method and desired level of doneness. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
– Oven Roasting: For a standard 1.2 lb pork tenderloin, preheat your oven to 425°F and roast for about 15-20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. This high temperature helps the pork cook quickly and prevents it from drying out. Remember to let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
– Seasoning: Before cooking, season the pork with salt and pepper, and add chopped fresh herbs if desired. You can also rub it with olive oil and a spice mix for extra flavor.
– Searing: Some recipes recommend searing the pork tenderloin in a frying pan before baking it in the oven. This helps create a crispy crust and seal in the juices. Heat oil in a pan and brown the pork evenly on all sides before transferring it to a baking sheet.
– Thermometer: To ensure that your pork tenderloin is cooked to the right temperature, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F for pork.
– Resting: After cooking, let the pork rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes for a more tender and flavorful meat.
Preparing The Pork Tenderloin
Preparing the pork tenderloin is an important step in ensuring a delicious and juicy end result. Start by trimming any excess fat or silver skin from the meat. Then, season it with salt and pepper, and add any other desired herbs or spices. You can also rub it with olive oil to help the seasoning stick and add moisture.
If you choose to sear the pork tenderloin before roasting, heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, carefully add the pork tenderloin and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned. This step helps create a flavorful crust and seal in the juices.
Next, transfer the pork tenderloin to a baking sheet and place it in a preheated oven at 425°F. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Remember to use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature, as this is the most accurate way to ensure your pork is cooked to perfection.
Once the pork tenderloin is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful end result. By following these simple steps, you can cook a delicious and juicy 1.2 lb pork tenderloin every time.
Searing The Pork Tenderloin
Searing the pork tenderloin is an optional but highly recommended step that can add extra flavor and texture to the meat. To sear the pork, start by getting a heavy-bottomed skillet nice and hot over medium-high heat. A cast iron skillet is ideal, but any oven-safe skillet will do.
Once the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan. Then, carefully place the seasoned pork tenderloin in the skillet and let it sear for 2-3 minutes on one side, until a golden brown crust forms. Use tongs to turn the tenderloin over and repeat the process on all sides until it’s evenly browned.
Be sure to keep an eye on the heat to prevent burning or overcooking. If the pan starts to smoke excessively or the pork is browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly.
Once the pork is seared, transfer it to a baking sheet or oven-safe dish and roast in a preheated oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of the meat.
Remember to let the pork rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a more tender and flavorful meat. With these steps, you can achieve a deliciously seared and perfectly cooked 1.2 lb pork tenderloin that is sure to impress your guests or satisfy your cravings.
Baking The Pork Tenderloin
When baking a 1.2 lb pork tenderloin, there are a few steps to follow for the best results. First, preheat your oven to 425°F and grease a rimmed baking sheet or casserole/baking dish. Then, pierce the pork all over with a fork and rub it all over with oil.
Next, stir together your desired spices and seasonings, and sprinkle them all over the pork. Use your fingertips to pat the seasoning into place. Transfer the pork to your prepared baking dish and squeeze citrus juices all over the top.
Bake the pork for about 15-20 minutes until the center temperature reaches 145°F. Remember to spoon juices from the pan over the cooked pork during baking. Once it’s done, let the pork rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
To check if your pork tenderloin is fully cooked, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. If it reads at least 145°F, your pork is ready to be removed from the oven. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of your tenderloin, so it’s always best to use a thermometer to ensure that it’s fully cooked.
Checking For Doneness
Checking for doneness is crucial when cooking pork tenderloin to ensure that it is safe to eat and cooked to your desired level of doneness. The best way to check for doneness is by using an instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the pork tenderloin, making sure not to touch any bones or the bottom of the pan. The internal temperature should reach 145°F, which is the minimum safe temperature for pork according to the USDA.
When checking the temperature, be sure to take multiple readings from different parts of the tenderloin to ensure that it is cooked evenly throughout. If the temperature measures lower than 145°F, continue cooking for a few more minutes and check again until it reaches the desired temperature. Remember that the pork will continue to cook slightly as it rests, so it’s better to take it out a few degrees below your desired temperature.
It’s important not to overcook pork tenderloin as it can become dry and tough. By using an instant-read thermometer, you can ensure that your pork is cooked perfectly every time, with a juicy and tender texture. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to cook a delicious 1.2 lb pork tenderloin that’s safe and satisfying.
Resting And Serving The Pork Tenderloin
Resting the pork tenderloin is a crucial step in ensuring that it is juicy and tender. After cooking, cover the pork loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. This resting period allows the meat fibers to relax and reabsorb the juices that were squeezed out during cooking. If you skip this step and cut into the pork immediately, the juices will run out and you’ll be left with dry meat.
When serving the pork tenderloin, slice it into thick pieces against the grain. This will make it more tender and easier to chew. If desired, you can serve it with a pan sauce made from deglazing the pan with white wine and adding butter.
Remember to always use a cutting board with a “gravy groove” or a rimmed baking sheet pan to catch any juices that may escape during slicing. And if you plan to hold the pork for several hours in an empty cooler, wrap it tightly with foil to retain its moisture.
By following these guidelines for resting and serving your 1.2 lb pork tenderloin, you can ensure that it is cooked to perfection and enjoyed by all.