Thursday, January 27, 2011

Garlic-Studded Pork Tenderloin with Mojo

When I saw this recipe with the word "mojo," I couldn't help but think of Austin Powers. When I was in college, I watched those movies more than any human should. Luckily, this recipe does not contain any of Austin's mojo. Thank my lucky stars. Mojo is a Cuban garlic, oil, and cilantro mixture that is put on top of meat. Where has this been my whole life? I stumbled upon this recipe in another cookbook I got from the library entitled "The Best American Recipes: 2005-2006." When I told my husband that I was making pork tenderloin for dinner, his face fell slightly. He's not a big fan of pork. He's a beef-eater, and I am, too. Well, upon tasting this pork, he exclaimed, "I might actually like this better than beef." I replied, "uyhakbadgoiah;hska" since my mouth was full but I couldn't believe my ears. The problem with pork is that more often that not, it is overcooked. When pork gets overcooked, it is too dry and gray. This pork was moist (don't you just love that word) and flavorful. Thank Culinarionius (see fudgy brownie post) that I found this recipe. It's my new favorite pork recipe and will be made time and time again.
Garlic-Studded (need I say more) Pork Tenderloin with Mojo
source: The Best American Recipes 2005-2006 original recipe by Sara Perry from "Everything Tastes Better with Garlic" Sara, I couldn't agree more...

Mojo (pronounced mo-ho):
2 1/2 T minced garlic
1/2 t firmly packed grated lime zest
3 T fresh lime juice
1/4 t firmly packed orange zest
2 T fresh orange juice
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 T fresh cilantro, minced

1 large pork tenderloin, about 2 pounds
2 t oregano
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Let me start by saying that I wasn't paying attention to the recipe as I was rushing out the door to administer a fifth grade writing exam, so I didn't do the recipe the right way. I'll tell you how I made it since it turned out so amazing.

Combine the mojo ingredients. Put the pork tenderloin in the mojo and flip to coat the pork. Let it sit in the fridge until you're ready to cook it. Mine was in the fridge from about 9:30-4:30.

Take it out and realize that you weren't supposed to marinade the pork in the mojo. Wipe off the majority of it with a paper towel. I did do this, but I think the mojo-marinated pork was awesome- still wipe it off though. At the high heat, the massive amounts of garlic will set off that blasted smoke detector.

Preheat the oven to 450.

Prepare the rub for the pork. Combine the oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Rub it on the pork.

Cut some slits in the pork.

Stuff the slits with garlic. The original recipe used slits of garlic from a clove of garlic, but I was all out of cloves, so minced had to do.

Put the pork on a roasting pan and cook for 25 minutes.

Prepare some more mojo. Unless you prefer to have salmonella sauce to go over your pork once it comes out. Trust me though... You're going to want to have some fresh mojo to go over your pork. It is so delicious.

Now, this picture below is mainly to show off the ultimate juicer. Who needs a Juice Tiger to do a Garth Brooks' Juice Diet (watch "So I Married an Axe Murderer" for that reference) when there is this handy juicer. It is amazing! Every last ounce of juice comes out of the citrus. Once the mojo is made, put it aside until the pork is ready. You'll want this room temperature.
When the pork comes out, stick a thermometer through the side into the thickest part of the meat. The temperature gauge should read 140-145.

Let it sit 5 minutes longer.
Slice it. Just so you know- the pork will be slightly pink in the middle. That's fine! It's better that the pork be slightly undercooked and slightly pink than overcooked and the color of my late grandma's grey hair. You'll be okay. Drizzle the mojo over the pork on your plate. Devour.
The only thing I would do differently is cook this on a charcoal grill. In a month or two, this meat may just fall under the "grilled goodness" category. Correction- this will fall under that category.
My husband's one word to describe this pork recipe: perfection


  1. Reading through the recipe you have "1/2 olive oil" in the mojo portion of the recipe. I'm assuming it's a 1/2 cup olive oil? I'm excited to try this recipe -- want to try it as early as tomorrow. Anxious to hear from you.

  2. It is 1/2 c olive oil. Sorry! I post at night after my kids have gone to bed, and my mind is already thinking it's bedtime. You're going to love this recipe. It is delicious!