Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri

Grilled Pork Tenderloin sliced on a cutting board With Chimichurri
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A slightly smoky, brown-sugar smudged dry rub ensures that this grilled pork tenderloin comes off the coals with a gorgeous, lightly sweet crispy crust. Sliced up and served with a big bowl of homemade chimichurri for drizzling and dipping—you’ll be hearing raves for days. 

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pork Tenderloin (But Were Afraid to Ask): 

We’re here for you, pork recipe newbies! Something about cooking with pork is really intimidating to even the most experienced home cooks, so if the thought of cooking a pork tenderloin makes you nervous, don’t worry—you’re in good company! Grilled steak? No prob! Perfectly crisp chicken thighs? Sure thing! But cooking a piece of pork is a kitchen project that makes so many people go all jelly-legged. This is our best pork tenderloin recipe for newbies, because we’ve kept it really simple. Just a perfectly grilled pork tenderloin with chimichurri sauce—so much flavor, so little effort. Here’s a little pork tenderloin 101 to get you started: 

  • What is pork tenderloin? A pork tenderloin is cut of pork that is pretty much exactly what it sounds like—a very tender cut of the larger pork loin. A whole pork tenderloin is actually an entire, single muscle (not a slice of a muscle, as most other cuts would be).
  • OK, so then what’s the difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin? You’re probably guessing the answer to this one, but the term ‘pork loin’ refers to a much larger cut of pork, whereas the tenderloin is a small, very specific, very tender part of the larger ‘loin’. 
ingredients laid out pork tenderloin chimichurri, paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar

Our Pork Tenderloin With Chimichurri Starts With (Surprise!) A Simple Spice Rub.

Because we serve this easy pork tenderloin recipe with a generous bowlful of gloriously rustic homemade chimichurri sauce, we don’t bother with a marinade. Pork tenderloin is lean, but very meaty in flavor and prized for its inherent tenderness, so all it needs is a light, careful touch and to not be overcooked. We use this simple pork rub recipe to flavor the meat, and also to give it a lovely delicate crust (thanks, sugar!). Here’s what you’ll need to make this dry rub for pork tenderloin: 

  • Brown sugar. Light or dark—doesn’t matter which. Just don’t skip it! The sugar will caramelize when it meets heat and give your grilled pork a lovely crust. It’s just a little sugar, so this grilled pork tenderloin recipe is still WAY low-carb, gluten and dairy-free. 
  • Salt & black pepper. DUH. 
  • Paprika. It’s totally fine to just use regular old off-the-shelf paprika, or if you have Spanish paprika (pimentón) on hand, you could use that for a little extra smoky flavor. 
  • Garlic powder. This stuff gets such a bad wrap, but we love it and we will always defend it! We use it ALL the time for occasions just like this, when fresh garlic just doesn’t work as well (chunks of fresh garlic would just burn and fall off). Garlic powder, we’ve got your back. 

How To Cook Pork Tenderloin

This is where the nerves kick in, right? But, trust us, you can do this! The secret to succulent, juicy tenderloin is this: pork loin meat is considered done when it reaches an internal temp of 145°F. For years, the USDA demanded a pork internal temp of 160°F. Finally, in 2011, the guidelines were adjusted to reflect more recent research. At 160°F, that beautiful tenderloin will start to dry out, so your memories of botched pork experiences may stem from the olden days when people were essentially told by the USDA to overcook their pork. Now, we know better! 

The bottom line: whether you’re cooking your pork tenderloin on the grill, or in the oven—our easy pork tenderloin recipe includes instructions for both methods—just remember that a 145°F pork tenderloin temp means DONE, so pull it off the heat! The USDA says you should let it rest for at least three minutes after you remove it from the heat (and we suggest that, too). After that—dig in!

Is Pork Tenderloin Healthy?

Yes! Pork tenderloin is exceptionally good source of lean protein—in fact, it has fewer calories per ounce than skinless chicken breast. Simply grilled and served with Chimichurri—a perfect, zero-carb sauce for pork tenderloin—this easy pork tenderloin recipe is just about as healthy as they come. Add a salad and you’ve got yourself a meal that is not only keto and Whole30 approved, it’s also friendly to just about any dietary restrictions you can think of. Dairy free? Check! Gluten free? Check! Soy free? Check! This means it’s a great one for a dinner party—as long as there aren’t any vegetarians in the crowd, you should be golden. 

Grilled Pork Tenderloin sliced on a cutting board with a knife with Chimichurri

Tools You’ll Need: 

Tools will vary a bit depending on whether you’re going to make grilled pork tenderloin, or cook the tenderloin in the oven. Either way, it will be delicious, and for both methods you’ll need an instant-read meat thermometer, a cutting board and a sharp knife

More “Other White Meat” Recipes To Try: 

Give that chicken a break—it’s time pork had a moment to shine! And now that you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll probably want to show of those pork-cooking skills. Here are a few pork recipes we can’t get enough of: 

Grilled Pork Tenderloin sliced on a cutting board With Chimichurri

Love Me Tender: 

Snap a photo of your grilled pork tenderloin with chimichurri and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri

Serves 10

Ingredients

2.5 lbs pork tenderloin
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 cup homemade chimichurri sauce

Method

  1. In a bowl whisk together brown sugar, salt, paprika, pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Rub the tenderloin with the seasoning until evenly coated.
  3. Cook the tenderloin:
    Oven: Preheat oven to 400° Place rack in the middle. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in oven safe skillet (or cast iron skillet). Add tenderloin to the pan and cook until it is evenly browned on all sides (5-6 minutes). Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 more minutes, flipping the meat once halfway through. Bake until the internal temperature reads 145° F.
    Grill: Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill pork, turning occasionally with tongs, until charred and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloinreads 145, about 20 minutes. (For larger tenderloins, bake in a 400º oven for 15 to 25 minutes more, until desired internal temperature is reached.)
  4. Transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for at least three minutes.
  5. Slice and serve.