5 Ingredients or Fewer

Von Diaz’s Pork Tenderloin Pernil Style

April 25, 2021
25 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Von Diaz is sitting on the secret to not-at-all boring or dry pork tenderloin. In an ode to her mother, a working parent who always preferred her meats light and lean, Diaz seasons and marinates tenderloin like pernil, a Puerto Rican dish that's traditionally made with pork shoulder and roasted low and slow for several hours. Bonus: Because tenderloin can cook much faster and hotter and stay tender, you get to pernil in under 30 minutes. Adapted slightly from Coconuts & Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South (University Press of Florida, 2018). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Von Diaz’s Pork Tenderloin Pernil Style
  • Pork Tenderloin Pernil Style
  • 3 pounds pork tenderloin (around 2 to 3 small tenderloins)
  • Adobo for Pork (below)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Adobo for Pork (for 3 pounds pork tenderloin, scale up or down as needed)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime, lemon, or sour orange juice
  1. Pork Tenderloin Pernil Style
  2. Cut a series of deep holes throughout the tenderloins with a paring knife and rub it down with the adobo, pushing the seasoning into the holes. Let marinate for 30 minutes on the counter or up to overnight in the refrigerator. (The longer you can wait, the more delicious it will be!)
  3. When you’re ready to roast, heat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easiest cleanup.
  4. Place the tenderloins in the center of the pan, leaving space for air to circulate between each piece, and put the pan on the center rack of the oven. Roast until the internal temperature is 145°F in the thickest part, about 30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes to evenly brown the outside. (If your pork hasn’t browned by the time it hits 145°F inside, you can give it a quick blast under the broiler for more browning.)
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and set the tenderloin on a carving board to rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the lemon juice into the baking pan and carefully mix it into the pork juices, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour the pan juices into a small bowl and adjust the seasonings to taste.
  7. Cut the pork into 1-inch slices and transfer to a serving dish. (It will taste best and won’t dry out if it’s still slightly pink inside, so if you see that, it’s a good thing!) Serve with the reserved pan juices.
  1. Adobo for Pork (for 3 pounds pork tenderloin, scale up or down as needed)
  2. Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor and blend into a smooth puree, scraping the sides halfway through to incorporate fully. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle or mash the mixture to a paste on a cutting board with the side of a knife.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

27 Reviews

Lois B. May 21, 2023
Made the Adobe herb mixture and put it in the tenderloin as the recipe suggests. Instead of roasting at 400°, I put in vacuum sealed bag and cooked 4 hours using the sous vide technique. The well seasoned pork melted in my mouth. I made a gravy out of the drippings. Yum!
Susan D. April 5, 2023
I prefer to grill the tenderloin, 7 minutes one side, 6 the other side, and 5 minutes resting with the grill off. It browns nicely that way.
Pamela T. May 14, 2022
I made this for dinner earlier this week and we thought it was great. I had a single tenderloin that weighed nearly two pounds so I decided to use the full amount of adobo since I wanted to ensure it had plenty of flavor. The pork marinated for about 12 hours and It might have been a tad too salty, so if in a similar situation again I would slightly decrease the salt. However, hubby and I didn't find it objectionable and loved the flavor profile. The roasted pork was juicy and tender, too. I thought this was a simple, but elegant recipe.
Pamela T. May 14, 2022
Oops, quick footnote. At the end of roasting I browned all sides using my grill pan on the stovetop to achieve the color I wanted.
Terry November 16, 2020
Just had this for dinner and it was fantastic! Followed the recipe pretty much as written, and don't think I'll make any changes when I make it again. And so easy!
[email protected] April 15, 2020
Anyone having trouble with browning? I'm trying cooking in cast iron skillet to promote and it's not working.
Brenda April 2, 2020
Made this yesterday for lockdown leftovers. Could have cut the cooking time by about 10 mins. I think. Good flavor, but not much in the way of pan juices with the dry roasting. I left the lemon juice on the pan for a bit to let it moisten before scraping and it still didn't seem like a lot of juice so I added a frozen chicken broth cube. If I make it again, might add the broth to the pan while it roasts.
Charles C. January 6, 2019
NEEDS SKIN! The ONLY solution I see here (because you MUST have the crispy skin!) is to take the skin from a chicken leg/thigh or breast (or whole damn chicken) & THEN follow the recipe...ME? I'll stick with real Pernil
sherry L. December 6, 2018
I made a 1 pound tenderloin. I made the puree with mortar & pestle. I used a little less salt & fresh lime juice plus all the other ingredients. I put at least 2 holes on each side of the tenderloin. I rub the whole tenderloin and wrapped in plastic wrap and put into a plastic bag and refrigerator for 2 days. My husband loved every bit. Almost ate the whole thing but saved some for lunch today. I will make again.
Ann November 14, 2018
Unlike everyone else, I had mixed feelings about this recipe. I marinated the meat for about 9 hrs. and it was certainly very flavorful. But 30 minutes was too long, particularly for the narrower end of the tenderloin, and my oven doesn’t run hot. I would check the meat at 25 min. Also there was really very very little juice from the meat. We love lemon, so I simply added that in anyway, but I really couldn’t taste any flavor from the pork. Tasty but not Genius.
Kaite November 14, 2018
Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite pieces of meat. We cook with it often and have accumulated several recipes that we rely on. I stumbled across this one and was instantly intrigued. My husband is from Venezuela and talks about his love of pernil, so I knew I had to try this. The marinade was so simple and quick to put together. We used lemon juice but my husband wants to do sour orange next time as his father would use that. I left the pork marinating in the fridge for almost 16 hours. It cooked up beautifully and was so moist and flavorful. I made the sauce and gently scraped the golden bits from the foil. I also added some chicken stock that I had left over from cooking barley as the acidity of the sauce was a little too strong for my taste. My husband said it was delicious and was exactly how pernil should taste. We had plenty of leftovers so I sliced thin pieces to use for Cuban sandwiches this week!
Karen L. November 11, 2018
we loved it! my husband doesn't love pork tenderloin (he likes more fat in his meat!) and LOVED THIS! we served it with a green salad with poppyseed dressing. it was great because of savory and sweet! we had no trouble using foil.
Mary J. November 9, 2018
What did you serve with this?
Kristen M. November 9, 2018
In the photos on the article page, we served this simply over grits with a side of sauteed (but not long-cooked) collard greens, as a nod to some of the Southern dishes that Von talks about in her cookbook Coconuts & Collards, but she also mentioned it would be delicious served with sweet plantains.
Herself November 7, 2018
Any thoughts/aversions to cooking this on the grill?
Kristen M. November 7, 2018
Only aversion is that if you cook it directly on the grill grates, you wouldn't have the delicious pan juices to make the sauce with! (Though you could cook it in a flameproof pan or heavy-duty foil on the grill instead.)
tastysweet November 7, 2018
Was just thinking if we line the pan the pan with foil, won’t it be a bit difficult to scape down after adding the lemon juice?
Barbara November 7, 2018
I thought the same thing
tastysweet November 7, 2018
Thanks Barbara. Thought maybe I was the only one.
Elisa November 7, 2018
I thought the same thing, but truly there wasn't much left in the pan so i just swirled it with the lemon juice and drizzled it from foil. It was very delicious!
Kristen M. November 7, 2018
Hi all—it's pretty easy to do this on the foil (Von and I do it in the video above, if you want to see it done), though I could see with some very lightweight or recycled foils, you could risk tearing it. That said, I've skipped the foil and it's only been a bit more work to clean, since most of the stuck-on bits come up when you deglaze with the lemon juice.
tastysweet November 7, 2018
Thanks Kristen. I think w/o foil will be the way I go when I do make this.
EO November 8, 2018
Try Reynolds Wrap heavy duty NON-STICK foil.
tastysweet November 8, 2018
I have the nonstick but have not seen the HD non stick. What store do you get yours?
tastysweet November 8, 2018
Was in the store today and behold.....HD Non Stick right in front of my eyes😉
Emily B. November 8, 2018
I made this tonight using plain ole’ Reynolds foil and the sauce came together just fine. There was one edge where the drippings were burnt (thanks, uneven stove) but I just avoided that section when I mixed it. I also used apple cider vinegar in place of lemon juice because that’s what I had, and it was really tasty.
Dawn E. November 9, 2018
It did, and as expected, the foil didn’t stand up the the scraping. I’d omit it and spray the pan nect.