Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Guess what? You just found your new favorite way to prepare and cook pork for dinner. This recipe, care of Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate Meals, results in superbly tender, flavorful meat with minimal effort, really. The secret here is the method of preparation — and a bit of patience as you let the marinade do its thing. The actual cooking will take less than 10 minutes!

While tenderloin is usually roasted and sliced into medallions, Rapone instead transforms the cut of meat into more of a steak. "For this recipe," she explains, "the method of butterflying and marinating the pork really makes it special. Butterflying helps the pork cook quickly and evenly, and the marinade makes it really flavorful throughout." It's a tactic that Rapone swears by: "We love this pork with cilantro-lime cauliflower rice for a light, lower-carb, and quick dinner."

Hungry yet? We figured, so let's get to it.

Gather your ingredients for the grilled pork tenderloin

For this tasty dinner, you'll need a pork tenderloin, limes, garlic, a neutral oil like vegetable or canola, agave nectar, and kosher salt, plus chopped cilantro if you'd like for garnish.

Feel free to play around with the seasonings once you have the method down. "For Greek, sub lemon for the lime, honey for the agave, and add fresh oregano to the marinade and as a garnish," Rapone offers, adding that a Thai-style version could use brown sugar instead of agave and also include fish sauce and ginger in the marinade.

Prepare the marinade

First, let's make the marinade. Place a gallon-sized plastic bag on a rimmed plate or baking sheet, or into a shallow dish (to prevent messes, you're welcome). Zest and juice the limes straight into the bag. You'll also throw in some roughly chopped garlic, some oil, the agave nectar and, finally, a teaspoon of kosher salt. Now close the bag and gently shake it around to make sure everything is well combined.

Cut and marinate the pork

Now it's time to make that big, thick tenderloin into multiple thin, tender cuts of pork. Place the tenderloin on a cutting board and, using a very sharp knife, trim away all excess fat and any pieces of silver skin. Now "butterfly" the tenderloin by cutting across it lengthwise, slicing almost all the way through but stopping about ¾ inch away from the edge of the meat. "Do not cut all the way through it," Rapone says adamantly.

Next, unfold the sliced tenderloin (as if it were a book) and use a mallet (or something heavy, at least) to pound the meat to an even thickness, making it between a ½ inch and 1 inch thick.

Now use that sharp knife to cut the butterflied and pounded pork tenderloin in half, and then cut those halves in half again. This will give you four evenly-sized pork "steaks." Add them to the marinade in the plastic bag and seal it shut, then use your fingers to move the meat around to make sure it is evenly coated. Marinate the pork in the fridge for 30 minutes, flip the bag over and give the pork a toss, then return it to the fridge to marinate for another 30 minutes.

Grill and serve the pork

About 15 minutes before you are going to grill the meat, remove the pork from the fridge, leaving it in the bag. Prepare the grill by heating it on high (or with charcoals aglow) for 10 minutes, and then scrape the grates clean with a grill brush. Next, finish the grill prep by using tongs and paper towels (or a dedicated grill brush) to apply a bit of oil to the hot grill grates. Finally, reduce the heat to medium, and consider your grill ready to go.

Remove the pork from the marinade bag and blot the meat gently with a paper towel, being sure to remove any garlic pieces. "They will burn on the grill and don't taste great when that happens," Rapone warns. Right before cooking, evenly sprinkle both sides of each piece with a bit more salt.

Place the pork on the prepped and heated grill and close the grill's lid, letting the meat cook for 3 minutes on the first side, or until it can easily be flipped and has good grill marks. Grill the pork on the other side for 3 more minutes with the lid closed, then check the temperature. Once the internal temperature has reached a minimum of 145 F, remove the pork from the grill. Allow the meat to rest 5 minutes before serving (this allows it to come to a safe temperature, as it will continue to cook even once removed from the heat), then garnish it with cilantro and enjoy!

Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin Recipe
4.9 from 31 ratings
Rather than roasting it whole, here, you'll take that lean tenderloin and transform it into juicy, flavorful "steaks."
Prep Time
Cook Time
grilled pork on plate with rice
Total time: 1 hour, 21 minutes
  • 4 limes
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 (1 ¼ to 1 ½-pound) pork tenderloin
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. Open a 1-gallon plastic bag and place on a rimmed plate or baking sheet. Zest and juice the limes into the bag.
  2. Rough chop the garlic and add it to the marinade, then add ¼ cup oil, the agave, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Close the bag and mix everything around with your hands.
  3. Place your pork tenderloin on a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, trim excess fat and any silver skin. Butterfly the tenderloin by cutting horizontally, stopping about ¾ inch from the edge (do not cut all the way through). Open the tenderloin like a book. Use a mallet or heavy object to pound the meat to even thickness, about ¾ inch.
  4. Cut the flattened pork in half, then half again, yielding four even-sized "steaks." Add the pork to the marinade and seal the bag.
  5. Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the pork to marinate for 1 hour, flipping the bag halfway through.
  6. About 15 minutes before you are ready to grill, remove the pork from the fridge. Heat your grill over high heat for 10 minutes, clean and oil the grill grates, then reduce heat to medium.
  7. Remove the pork from the marinade and blot dry with a paper towel, removing any garlic pieces. Sprinkle both sides with the remaining kosher salt.
  8. Place the pork on the grill and close the lid. Grill for 3 minutes on the first side, or until meat can easily be flipped and has good grill marks. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes on the second side (lid closed), then check the temperature. Once the internal temperature has reached 145 F, remove from the grill.
  9. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
Calories per Serving 475
Total Fat 32.6 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 96.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Total Sugars 8.6 g
Sodium 616.4 mg
Protein 31.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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