Brining pork is a breakthrough. It was by pure laziness that this pork tenderloin spent a full 24 hours in a salty sugary brine and it was totally worth it. l had planned to make this dish on a weeknight and hoped to brine the pork while I ran a few errands; maybe an hour or two tops. I got everything ready and tucked away in the refrigerator; headed to a chiropractic appt and upon returning home lost all motivation to cook. Instead we ordered Indian food from GrubHub. I figured the pork would be just fine the next day. Not only was it fine, I would argue it was far superior after 24 hours than just an hour or two.
Start with the brine the day before you plan to make this dinner. Trust me, it's worth the wait. In a non reactive dish large enough to fit your pork tenderloin, combine 4 cups of water with 1/4 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Submerge the pork tenderloin and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
After the pork has brined overnight, remove and discard the brine. Rinse the pork well to remove any excess salt and pat dry. Trim away any fat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and heat two tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe pan over medium high heat. Season the pork with freshly cracked black pepper and brown in a hot pan on all sides. Remove to a plate and wrap in tinfoil.
In the same pan, saute two cloves of minced garlic and a tablespoon of minced ginger until just starting to brown. Add the zest and juice of one orange. Stir in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/4 cup of bourbon. Return to heat and stir well to combine. Why do I remove the pan from the heat before adding the bourbon? I have a gas range with exposed flame and bourbon is flammable. I'm not interested in burning my eyebrows off or setting off the smoke alarm, disturbing my neighbors!
Wash and peel one small bunch of carrots. You can certainly use peeled ready to eat baby carrots, but I love the elegant look of a whole carrot when plating this dish.
Add the pork back to the pan, turning to coat evenly in the glaze. Add carrots to the pan coating with maple bourbon glaze. Move pan to preheated oven and roast until carrots are tender and pork is cooked medium to medium well; 145 degrees in the thickest part of the roast. Rest the pork before slicing and serve with any remaining glaze.
Brining for a full 24 hours seems like a lot of extra work but it results in an incredibly tender pork that almost melts in your mouth. The sweet, salty, slightly spicy glaze works well with the carrots. Serve with a starch for a complete meal.
Brined Pork Tenderloin with Maple Bourbon Glazed CarrotsBy Land of Noms, January 24, 2015
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of salt
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 small bunch of carrots, washed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup of bourbon
- cracked black pepper
- In a non reactive dish large enough to fit the pork tenderloin, combine 4 cups of water with salt and brown sugar; stir until salt and sugar are dissolved
- Submerge pork in brine and cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 24 hours
- When pork has been brining for 24 hours, remove and discard brine, rinse pork tenderloin well and pat dry
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and heat olive oil in an oven safe pan
- Season pork with fresh black pepper and brown on all sides, remove from pan and wrap in tin foil
- In the same pan, saute garlic and ginger until just starting to brown, add orange zest and orange juice
- Stir in maple syrup and cayenne pepper
- Remove pan from heat and add bourbon, return to heat and stir well, bringing glaze to a simmer
- Add pork back to the pan and turn to coat with glaze, add carrots coating with glaze
- Move pan to oven and roast 20-30 minutes or until carrots are soft and pork is medium to medium well, 145 degrees in the thickest part of the roast
- Rest pork tenderloin before slicing and serve with any remaining glaze
Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!