I bookmarked this recipe around Thanksgiving and I’m not entirely sure why. The original recipe is for a turkey breast, which I’ve never cooked and really have no intention of ever cooking, since we’ve don’t have small Thanksgiving get-togethers. Still, the ease and sound of the rub made the recipe too good to pass up.
Given that an entire turkey breast made for 2 adults and a toddler would yield entirely too many leftovers that I’d probably freeze and then completely forget about, I decided to go another route. I’d planned to make this with a turkey tenderloin. However, neither the butcher nor the regular grocery store had a turkey tenderloin (or really anything involving turkey besides ground turkey), so I just used a pork tenderloin.
Pork tenderloins are one of my favorite proteins for many reasons: they’re quite mild, so they are very much a blank canvas and work with a multitude of flavors; they cook pretty quickly; they’re lean and healthy; one tenderloin is pretty much the perfect size for us, with my husband eating a bit more than me and my son eating a bit less. The main benefit for me, though, is that the vast majority of the time, I sear the tenderloin in my cast iron skillet and then, before putting it in the oven to finish up cooking, I throw whatever our sides will be right into the same pan (in this case, sweet potato wedges and brussels sprouts). They need about 5 minutes longer to cook than the tenderloin, which means you can remove the tenderloin and let it sit for that amount of time before slicing into it. Also? Only one pan to clean.
I halved the rub recipe and still had a little extra, but it’s easier than trying to figure out how to scale the recipe down to 40% or something. Plus, you can always use the extra rub on whatever you are cooking alongside the pork or save it for next time (assuming it hasn’t touched the raw pork, obviously).
We all really liked this rub. It was a tiny bit spicy, a little smoky, and the tang from the lime gave it a nice balance. I love allspice in pretty much any application, so it’s no surprise that it was probably my favorite flavor on this pork tenderloin. It’s definitely more of a background flavor than a predominant one, but it’s definitely there and makes this all the better.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Zesty Dry Rub
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Preheat the oven to 425.
Rub the pork tenderloin on all sides with the olive oil and lime juice. Mix the remaining ingredients into a small prep bowl, and then rub the mixture all over the pork tenderloin.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tenderloin. Sear on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place the whole pan in the oven to finish cooking the tenderloin, about 12-15 more minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers at 160.
Rest for 5-10 minutes under a foil tent before slicing.