Why sous vide pork tenderloin
Pork Tenderloin is lean and tender when not overdone. Sous vide prevents overcooking every single time if you choose the right temperature. Lean cuts of beef, chicken and pork benefit the most from this gentle and easy cooking method and I will walk you through this recipe to prove that it's the best way to cook pork tenderloin!
What is sous vide
Sous vide sounds fancy but it's actually really simple. It's a method of cooking food in a temperature controlled hot water bath which sits at a steady temperature (your desired finished temperature) and thus prevents overcooking.
You seal your protein (meat, fish or vegetables usually) in a plastic bag with the air removed. Some folks like to use a vacuum sealer but I simply use a resealable, reuseable food grade zip top bag (Ziploc). Pushing the bag into the water before sealing the bag will push the extra air out. Once it is submerged almost up to the zipper, zip it shut (water displacement method) and voila!
Then you need the hot water bath. A home sous vide machine is a simple wand style heater that clips on to the side of a large pot or other heat safe container full of water. You fill the pot with water, set the temperature to the exact temperature you'd like your finished food to be (aka rare, medium rare, well etc) and the small machine heats and holds the water at the exact temperature.
There are two main benefits to this. First, your meat cooks to the desired temperature easily, without fail. Second, you can leave it sitting at the desired temperature for a long period of time once cooked. Say you're having a party and your guests are late, or you're enjoying happy hour a little longer than planned. You don't need to worry! Your meat is staying absolutely perfect for another hour, or two or three or sometimes even longer.
How do you pronounce sous vide (sous-vide)
It's easier than it looks, just say, "Soo Veed".
How long does pork tenderloin take
This recipe (and pork tenderloin in general) will take 1 hour but you can make it ahead and let it stay hot until you're ready to serve it. Because sous vide cooks at a lower temperature, meat usually takes longer than it would in a frying pan or BBQ. On the flip side, it can stay hot and ready without overcooking.
Can I sous vide from frozen
Yes! Just add an extra 30 minutes to this recipe if your pork tenderloin is frozen. Pork tenderloin is not a very thick cut compared to some meats. If you are cooking other meat from frozen in the sous vide method, multiply the recipe time by 1.5 to account for the thawing.
This is one more benefit to this cooking method, if you forget to take your meat out to thaw, it doesn't matter!
How to finish the dish
There are a few ways you can finish sous vide meat. It is delicious on it's own, simply slice and serve as is along side potatoes and veggies or on top of a salad (with feta and yogurt dressing, YUM!).
The other way is to brown it for an appealing finish and extra flavour. You can do this in a hot pan (quickly so you don't overcook it) or on a preheated grill or BBQ.
For this presentation, I gave it some appetizing grill marks on my grill preheated to it's hottest setting (approx 600'F). I then served it with some of my homemade blackberry BBQ sauce underneath. You can also brush the sauce right on while grilling and let it get sticky. For demonstration purposes, I didn't want to hide what it looked like so I served the sauce underneath and it was a hit.
Time and temperature chart
To make this even easier and to help with other sous vide recipes, I've made this sous vide time and temperature guide/chart. Feel free to print this and use this as a guide with other sous vide recipes! (copyright Sabrina Currie 2021) Check back again soon as I am constantly working to update this chart with more items to sous vide. If you have an idea you'd like to see on here, shoot me a message. Once you start cooking sous vide, it's hard to stop!
Thanks for reading along, as always, I look forward to your feedback. Did you try it? Did you like it? Did you have any problems? For fast support with recipe questions, follow me on IG or FB and message me there. I try to reply quickly with any urgent cooking q's 😉
Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin
- 1 lb Pork tenderloin
- 5-10 Thyme sprigs or ½ tsp dried thyme rosemary or savory are good substitutes
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 1 tbsp Olive oil for brushing
- ½ c Blackberry sauce (link to recipe and cheater version below)
- Fill your heat safe pot or container so that it's at least 6 inches deep, attach your sous vide machine and set to your desired temperature to preheat. 135' F is rare, 140' F is about medium rare and what these pictures show. If you like it more well done you can go up to 150'F. I do not recommend cooking it any hotter or your pork will suffer.
- Season your pork tenderloin generously with salt and pepper and top with thyme. Place meat into a sealable plastic bag and remove all air. To do this you can use a vacuum sealer or displace the air by submerging the bag in water slowly, until the bag is airless and sucked flat to the pork and itself, then seal.
- Clip bag to the side of your pot so it doesn't float into the sous vide machine. Set timer for 1 hour and walk away! This is a great time to take a rest or finish the other parts of your meal. After the hour, you can continue to let the pork hold at the same temperature for another hour or even 2 if you need, without compromise to the quality and doneness.
- When you're ready to finish your dish, preheat a pan or outdoor grill (BBQ) to high. Take the pork out of the hot water bath, remove the herb sprigs and pat dry with a little paper towel. Brush lightly all over with olive oil then place on pan or grill to sear. (Don't leave it too long on any one side, you simply want some browning or grill marks.) Turn until each side has some color then remove to plate and let rest a few minutes before slicing and serving.
- I served this with my Blackberry BBQ sauce underneath. You can make that or you can reduce the juices left in the cooking bag in a pan, add a little fresh chopped thyme and butter and drizzle that over too. Honestly, this is infused with so much flavour that you can enjoy it as is too.
- Tip: Try brushing your bbq sauce on before grilling to let it caramelize. It works great and tastes even better!
- Cheat: No time to make BBQ sauce from scratch? Take a cup of your favourite store-bought sauce and toss it in the blender with 1 cup of blackberries to kick things up a notch and impress your friends.