Pork tenderloin is a specific cut from a pig’s loin. The loin is located between the shoulder and the leg, above the side ribs and belly. It is the meat cut along the spine of the pig. Because these muscles are not primarily used by the pig for movement, the resulting meat is tender as well as lean. A typical tenderloin measures about a foot in length and between three to six inches in diameter.
This cut is normally cylindrical in shape, narrowing into a tip at one end. When sliced, the resulting cuts are called pork medallions. These medallions are typically prepared by sauté or a combination cooking method of sauté and steam. When roasted whole, trussing, the act of tying the tenderloin, is recommended to shape and cook evenly. Pork tenderloin also cooks well on a grill. As with most meats, cooking times will depend on your cooking method. Most authorities recommend that pork reach an internal cooking temperature between 155degrees F to 160 degrees F (68 C to 71 C) prior to serving. Careful watch of cooking methods is important with pork, as prolonged exposure to heat or flame will result in tough and dry meat.
Various preparation methods call for the use of spice rubs, marinades, or fresh herbs to enhance the pork tenderloin’s flavor. Some people prefer spicy rubs made from dried chilies, cumin, and cayenne. Others will enjoy a marinade of salty teriyaki sauce or sweet fruit glazes. Many people are fond of fresh herbs, like sage and rosemary, as they roast nicely with the tenderloin.
Although pork tenderloin and other pork products are widely enjoyed throughout the world, they are banned in certain cultures. Those who participate in a kashrut or kosher diet will not partake in pork, nor will those who follow Islam. Some Indian cultures ban the consumption of meat altogether. In the United States, certain school districts have also banned pork products, as seen in the Chicago area.