5 Ingredients or Fewer

Von Diaz’s Pork Tenderloin Pernil Style

November  7, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland
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

Watch This Recipe
Von Diaz’s Pork Tenderloin Pernil Style
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.