Yucatan Pork Tenderloin

Photo by: aargersi

by aargersi

over 2 years ago

This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with White Wine.

molly's kitchen's Testing Notes:

Aargersi's brilliantly colored pork tenderloin is a perfect catalyst to a weeknight taco bar. The lean tenderloin benefits from a long (and flavorful) brine that keeps it moist even after a spell over high heat. The thick achiote paste crust that develops has the effect of a spice rub. I piled the sliced pork on corn tortillas with smashed avocado, raw sweet peppers, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice, and chowed down. Note: Using the stovetop method, the tenderloin took 35 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 155.

We love the Yucatan - everything about it and in particular the food. We cook a lot of things that we first learned there. This pork is cooked with achiote which you can find readily in powder or paste form here in Texas - in other areas you may need a Latin American market - or of course on Amazon!

I made this for tacos, and grilled it, but you can choose to just eat it sliced with some beans and tortillas, pineapple or mango, onion, cilantro. And if you find yourself without a grill (perish the thought) you can sear it in a heavy iron skillet. You are going to brine this pork so make sure to start a few hours before mealtime!

Serves 4

  • 1 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seed
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups ice plus 2 c water
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • tortillas, cilantro, onions, avocado, jalapenos - whatever toppings / sides you like
  1. Toast the cumin and coriander in a large pot. After a few minutes, when it is nice and fragrant, add the 2 cups of water, sugar, and salt. Bring it to a simmer and turn off the heat. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved, then add the ice. Put the pork in a bowl or tupperware, and pounr the brine over. It should be completely submerged. Put it in the fridge and brine at least 2 hours, and up to 10.
  2. When you are ready ... heat the grill to high then back it down to medium (we have a gas grill - if you are using charcoal you will have to get the grill hot then scoot the coals a bit). Dissolve the achiote paste in the orange juice - I find the easiest way to do this is to zap it in the microwave a bit first.
  3. Get grilling - take the pork out of the brine and get most of the seeds off. Dump the brine - you are done with it. Brush your grill with oil and put the pork on. Start brushing it with the achiote OJ - flip after a couple of minutes and brush again. Keep brushing anf flipping until your pork is done - mine took about 15-18 minutes or so. Internal temp should be 155 but I go by feel. Rest the pork for at least 10 minutes. The loin is going to be a gorgeous deep orange color.
  4. That's it really - slice it up and fill up some hand made corn tortillas with pork and onion and cilantro, and drink an ice cold beer, if you are so inclined!!!

Nutrition Info:


  • 230 calories
  • 5g total fat
  • 2g saturated fat
  • 74mg cholesterol
  • 1542mg sodium
  • 21g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 15g sugar)
  • 25g protein


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