Apple Cider-Brined Pork Tenderloin
Cider-Brined Pork Tenderloin
I’m not gonna lie, this apple cider-brined pork tenderloin with roasted apples and carrots is ridiculously delicious! It is truly the best pork tenderloin I’ve ever had.
We all know how well apples go with pork chops, but brining this tenderloin in apple cider takes it to another level. And leftovers are amazing the next day. Yum!
And tossing the apples and carrots in lemon juice before roasting them makes for a tangy and sweet side that goes so nicely with the pork. And you can serve with mesquite asparagus or these fancy green beans.
Sometimes we find the long tenderloins and sometimes they are cut into smaller medallions. Either cut works well.
I like to use a meat thermometer to make sure they are cooked to the right temperature. I prefer my pork cooked to medium (150 degrees F) and then let it rest.
Can You Make Apple Cider from Apple Juice?
Yes! Instead of buying apple cider (which can be pretty expensive), you can make it with gluten-free apple juice.
What you need to made the apple cider from apple juice is:
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp honey
- 3-4 whole cloves
To make the apple cider, add all the ingredients to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The juice should concentrate down to 1 cup and darken. Strain the liquid and discard the cloves.
I like to make the apple cider the day before this is on the menu for dinner. That way I can prepare the brine and the pork can marinate over night.
If you have apple cider, you can skip this step and prepare the brine (still do it the night before).
Preparing the Apple Cider Brine
You will need apple cider, a cinnamon stick, whole black peppercorns, whole coriander seeds, crushed red pepper, crushed garlic cloves, kosher salt, and ice.
All of the ingredients (except ice) will be added to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt has dissolved.
I usually put the ice in a pyrex measuring cup and pour the hot brine onto the ice. Once the ice has melted, and the brine is cool, it will be transferred into a large Ziploc bag with the pork tenderloin.
Marinate it overnight in the refrigerator. A good tip is to put the ziploc bag into a dish to give it some stability while in the fridge, like a baking dish.
Cooking the Pork Tenderloin
There are actually two different ways that we have cooked the pork tenderloin over the years.
Originally, we seared the pork on all sides and then transferred it into the oven. Then baked it at 425 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. I like mine cooked to medium, about 150 degrees. Then let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Recently, we have just put it straight in the oven and cooked it for 30 minutes, turning it once at around the 20 minute mark. It is also cooked on a grill pan at 425 degrees F. Then letting it rest about 10 minutes before slicing. Letting it rest helps it retain all that juiciness.
Or you could cook it on the grill. I haven’t done this because we don’t have a grill outside, but I’m sure it would turn out lovely.
Apple Cider-Brined Pork Tenderloin | Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
This is a delicious pork tenderloin brined in apple cider and served with roasted carrots and apples.
Apple Cider Brine
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 cups ice
Pork & Roasted Apples, Carrots
- pork tenderloin
- 4-5 large organic carrots
- 2 organic Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apples
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Make the Brine The Night Before
Make the apple cider from apple juice.
Add all of the brine ingredients except for the ice to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Once the salt has dissolved, remove from the heat and add the ice.
When the ice has melted, pour the cool mixture into a large Ziploc bag. Rinse and dry the pork tenderloin, then add to the bag. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
Cooking the Pork, Carrots and Apples
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium high heat on the stove top. Drizzle the skillet with a little olive oil. Remove the pork tenderloin from the brine (discard). Sear the tenderloin so that all sides have a brown crust.
Place into the oven on the bottom rack and cook for about 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees for medium rare, but we prefer it around 150 and cooked to medium.
Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, peel the apples and carrots, and then slice. Toss with lemon juice and olive oil. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with some salt. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 25 minutes, tossing once, until everything is nicely roasted.
- Make the cider brine the night before so the pork tenderloin can marinate overnight.
- Some of the coriander seeds and peppercorns may stick to the pork. So make sure to remove them before grilling so you don’t get a strong flavor of the seeds when biting into your pork. Not so tasty.
Recipe By Hugh Acheson & Adapted from Food & Wine