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Roast pork tenderloin recipe – with five-spice powder

Here is the best roast pork tenderloin recipe seasoned with Chinese five-spice powder that is juicy inside with a well-seared crust.

Roast pork tenderloin tends to be dry, but there is a full-proof method to guarantee that it turns out juicy. You can achieve it by using the reverse sear method.

Five-spice powder is the traditional Chinese seasoning that comprises the five most commonly used spices in Chinese cooking, but it is seldom used for roasted pork tenderloin. So I tested it, and the result of this roast pork tenderloin recipe is phenomenal, with a juicy and remarkably tender texture of tenderloin.

The flavor is heightened by pairing with a garlic and butter sauce serving on the meat pieces, cut medallion.

Let get into the details.

Here is the best roast pork tenderloin recipe seasoned with Chinese five-spice powder that is juicy inside with a well-seared crust.

How to Roast pork tenderloin to perfection

Pork tenderloin is not loin. It is a cut of pork that is relatively small, about a pound each. Therefore most of the roast pork tenderloin recipe suggests roasting the whole tenderloin without cutting it. It is the leanest cut of pork, with only 120 calories and 3g of total fat for every 3 ounces of serving. As such, it is as lean as a skinless chicken breast. 

1. Season and marinate in advance

Tenderloin is exceptionally tender, as the name tenderloin implies.  It has a nearly melt-in-the-mouth texture and virtually without any tendon.  However, since it is low in fat, it is easily overcooked and becomes too dry, which I will discuss in detail in the following sections.

Here are the steps:

  • Remove the silver skin on the surface that is tough, chewy, and tasteless.
  • Lightly pound the tenderloin with the spine of the cleaver to further tenderize the meat.
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 
  • Next, sprinkle one large tablespoon of the Chinese five-spice powder to cover the entire pork tenderloin. Make sure to rub and massage the spice mix into the meat and let it adhere firmly.
  • I also like to rub one tablespoon of mashed garlic into the meat.   You may use a teaspoon of garlic powder as the alternative.
  • Drizzle sufficient cooking oil on the pork tenderloin to cover the entire surface.
  • Set aside to marinate for half a day.

Note. 

  • The saltiness will be just right if you use one teaspoon of salt (5g) for every pound of meat.
  • You can increase the amount of the five-spice powder to two tablespoons should you prefer a more intense flavor.
  • I recently experimented with an alternative flavor by adding some garam masala and chili powder besides the five-spice powder. ‘The combination yields an incredible flavor. You can purchase five-spice powder at most Chinese grocery stores, and garam masala is available in all the Indian grocery stores. Give it a try.
  • You need to marinate the pork tenderloin for at least two hours to let the spice’s flavor penetrate the center.

What is five-spice powder?

Chinese five spice powder is a mix of five spices-  cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, and cloves.

It is sold in almost all Asian grocery stores. If you intend to make it yourself, toast all the ingredients without oil until aromatic, follow by grinding it with a spice grinder. Lastly, let it pass through a fine wire mesh strainer to remove the larger pieces. 

Here is the quantity of each ingredient:
– 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
– 5 star anise
– 1/2 tsp cloves
– 5 pieces cinnamon bark
– 1 tbsp fennel seeds

2. Roast the pork tenderloin at low temperature

I use the reverse sear method for this roast pork tenderloin recipe. That means the meat is roasted in the oven at low temperature until it is just cooked, followed by browning the surface with a cast iron pan.

Here are the steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F.
  • Place the pork tenderloin on the oven rack.
  • Brush with more oil on the surface.
  • Place the pork tenderloin on the middle rack and roast it until the internal temperature reaches 60°C/140°F.  It will take about thirty minutes.
  • Remove the tenderloin from the oven, let it rest for fifteen minutes.

Note:

  • The purpose of roasting the pork tenderloin at low heat is to cook the center of the meat while not overheating the surface.  Take your time. Roast as slowly as possible!
  • The precise time for roasting depends on the oven and the position of the rack.  It is crucial to get the internal temperature to reach 60°C/140°F, the recommended temperature to cook pork.  Once the internal temperature has reached this mark, remove the meat immediately. You can do this easily by using a kitchen thermometer. Now we have a piece of tenderloin that is barely cooked. The next step is to sear the surface to create a nice brown crust at high heat.
  • Let the meat cools before proceed to sear. If you sear it immediately after roasting, the internal temperature will increase and dry up the meat. 

3. Reverse sear the pork tenderloin

Since the heat is from the outside with the conventional roasting method, the center will overcook when you get a perfectly brown exterior, causing the juice to squeeze out and become dry. This problem does not happen with the reverse sear method.

Reverse sear refers to the cooking method of roasting followed by searing the meat. This method will effectively brown the surface without worrying about overcooking the internal of the meat. That is why I pick this method for the roast pork tenderloin recipe.

Here are the steps:

  • Coat a large cast-iron skillet, wok, or grill pan with some oil.
  • Heat the oil to near smoking point, then place the pork tenderloin on it to sear the surface at high temperature until both sides are nicely brown.
  • Remove from the hot surface and let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before cutting into medallions.

Note:

  • Cast iron is one of the best materials to sear meat. However, since my cast iron pan is too small, I use my well-seasoned cast iron wok to sear the tenderloin. 
  • There is no need to use a lot of oil. The pork will not stick to the well-seasoned cast-iron surface. Oil with high smoking points such as peanut oil, palm oil, canola oil, and corn oil are all suitable.
  • It is important to sear the surface at high heat to create a nice brown surface with a crust. The entire process should be done over the near smoking point of the oil. The whole process should not be more than 2 minutes for each side, or the meat will start to turn dry. Sear as quickly as possible!
  • Once it reaches the desired color, please remove it from the hot surface and let it rest for fifteen minutes or more before cutting it.
Here is the best roast pork tenderloin recipe seasoned with Chinese five-spice powder that is juicy inside with a well-seared crust.

4. Make a garlic sauce as the topping

I recommend making a butter garlic sauce to serve with the five-spice pork tenderloin. The sauce is made with some butter, chopped garlic, scallion, and some red chilies. It serves purposes:

  • The flavor of these ingredients compliments the five spices.
  • In addition, it improves the presentation with a combination of yellow, green, and red.

Here are the steps:

  • Melt a tablespoon of soft butter in a small pan over low heat.
  • Add the chopped garlic, white section of the scallion, and some salt. Saute it until fragrant.
  • Add the green section of the scallion, mix and remove from heat.
  • Mix in the finely diced red chili (or bell pepper).

Note:

  • The whole process should be done over low heat to prevent the butter from burning.
  • Cut the scallion into short sections of half cm. You should saute the white section to release its flavor. The green section is like leafy vegetables and should be added last.

5. How to serve five-spiced roast pork tenderloin

  • Rest the tenderloin for at least fifteen minutes, then cut it into half to one inch thick slices,
  • Arrange the meat on the serving plate, and spoon the butter and garlic on top to garnish.

Other interesting pork recipes that you may want to try

If you like this roast pork tenderloin recipe, you will also want to try the following related recipe:

Have you ever try a bowl of pork belly served up-ended? This braised pork belly with taro has an intense flavor and therefore is best to eat with some Asian leafy greens such as bok choy or lettuce.

The Vietnamese pork chop is full of unique lemongrass flavor and hardly goes wrong. Its universal appeal has made it become one of the most popular items on the menu.

Bak Kut Teh is a typical meat dish in Malaysia. It is a meat and pork rib dish cooked in a broth flavored with various Chinese medicinal herbs. This article shows you how to make it at home from scratch.

Yield: 4 servings

Roast pork tenderloin recipe

roast pork tenderloin square 200

Here is the best roast pork tenderloin recipe seasoned with Chinese five-spice powder that is juicy inside with a well-seared crust.

Roast pork tenderloin tends to be dry, but there is a full-proof method to guarantee that it turns out juicy. You can achieve it by using the reverse sear method.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Ingredients A (for the pork)

Ingredients B (for the sauce)

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 stalks scallion, cut into short sections
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

Instructions

For the pork

  1. Lightly pound the tenderloin with the spine of the cleaver.
  2. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 
  3. Sprinkle one large tablespoon of the Chinese five-spice powder to cover the entire pork tenderloin.
  4. Rub one tablespoon of mashed garlic into the meat. 
  5. Drizzle sufficient cooking oil on the pork tenderloin to cover the entire surface.
  6. Set aside to marinate for half a day.
  7. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F.
  8. Brush the pork tenderloin with oil.
  9. Roast the pork tenderloin on the middle rack until the internal temperature reaches 60°C/140°F.  It will take about thirty minutes.
  10. Remove the tenderloin from the oven, let it rest for fifteen minutes.
  11. Sear the pork tenderloin at high temperature with a cast iron pan until both sides are nicely brown.

For the sauce

  1. Melt a tablespoon of soft butter in a small pan over low heat.
  2. Add the chopped garlic, white section of the scallion, and some salt. 
  3. Add the green section of the scallion, mix and remove from heat.
  4. Mix in the finely diced red chili (or bell pepper).

To serve

  1. Let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before cutting into medallions.
  2. Spoon the butter and garlic on top to garnish. Serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 705mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 30g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 5/17/2021

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