Island Spice Pork Tenderloin

Most of the time when I save recipes, I do it because I know without a doubt that we will love the result.  (This is why about 98% of the recipes I have saved are desserts.)  Sometimes, though, I save things more because I think, “Hmmm…interesting…that might be good.”  This recipe was definitely a case of the latter.  In fact, I put it on our menu back in November or December but the day came when I was planning to make it and it just did not sound good to me at all.  So back into the freezer went the pork, and it has been there all this time waiting for me to change my mind.  I finally decided that I needed to either use the pork or get rid of it, so I put the recipe back on the menu and decided I would make it no matter what.  Turns out, we were blown away by this meal.

The combination of spices may seem a bit odd, but the end result is a little bit spicy but also sweet, and incredibly flavorful.  Ben even deemed this his new favorite kind of pork tenderloin.  I was very surprised by how quickly it came together.  Most pork tenderloin recipes I make require marinating of some length, but this is just a simple spice rub made from pantry ingredients, and a glaze to go on top.  I halved the amount of glaze because the original amount just seemed like overkill.  I’m glad I did because this was just the right amount.  Just be sure to spread the glaze out very evenly over the top of the tenderloins.  I had a bite or two that seemed overly sweet because of too much glaze.  All in all, this is a fantastic preparation of pork that is quick enough for a weeknight and nice enough to serve to company.

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin
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For the spice rub:
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2½ lbs. total)
2 tbsp. olive oil

For the glaze:
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. (2-3 cloves) finely minced garlic
1½ tsp. Tabasco sauce

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Stir together with a fork to blend.  Pat the mixture over the pork tenderloins.

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the tenderloins in the skillet and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total.  Remove from the heat, leaving the pork in the skillet.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl until blended.  Spread the mixture evenly over the tops of the tenderloins.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 20 minutes, until an instant-read themometer inserted in the center of each tenderloin registers 140˚ F.  Loosely tent the skillet with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source: adapted from Pennies on a Platter, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

40 Responses

  1. This recipe look so simple to prepare and ingredients are easy to be found here Malaysia. I must try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Looks absolutely delicious!! My husband would love it!!

  3. Great looking pork loin. I like that you use cinnimon.

  4. Thanks for posting this! My husband always, always, always wants to cook pork tenderloin & I’m just not that crazy about it, but this one looks promising!

  5. This sounds positively delicious! Spicy-sweet dishes are quickly becoming a favorite in our house.

  6. I’ve made this recipe! It IS surprisingly delicious! (I got it off of Epicurious years ago.) I’ve enjoyed it over greens as a summer Caribbean salad.
    Thanks for reminding me how much I love this. I’ll have to make it again soon.

  7. You’re right, just reading the recipe, it sounds like it might be good. The ingredients are so simple, but I can totally see how they would come together to be delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. It does sound like a somewhat odd flavor combo, but sometimes those are the ones that are surprisingly the best. Glad you finally tried it so now we can too! Thanks!

  9. YUM! I can’t wait to try this one. I love sweet and spicy!

  10. gorgeous looking meat. Love how moist is seems to be.

  11. It sounds great, although I might have to cook mine a bit longer. Eating pink pork always makes me nervous! I prefer mine well done. Other than that, it looks amazing, thank you for the recipe!

  12. Annie,

    Have you ever tried this with plain pork chops?

  13. This looks delicious! I love pork loin and mashed potatoes. My husband would really love this, too. 🙂


  14. sounds great – i’m always look for new pork tenderloin recipes b/c tenderloin always comes out so juicy and we love it! we’ll have to try this one!

  15. Of course I’ve been here. Your site is beautiful! I love it.

    This pork tenderloin looks so juicy and flavorful. I know I would like it.

  16. I love this rub recipe because I have all the ingredients in my pantry. I’ve been looking for a good pork rub and glaze and I think I’ve found a good one! Thanks for sharing!

  17. That sounds like a great pork tenderloin. The spice combination didn’t seem weird to me, it has some of the same ingredients my jerk seasoning uses so it makes since to me. I’ll have to try this on the grill soon.

  18. I first saw this recipe on Epicurious a few years ago. There, it gets served as a salad — on top of romaine, with mango, red bell pepper, and avocado with a cumin-lime dressing. This spicy pork preparation is perfect in that salad! check it out!

  19. Annie – this is a fabulous recipe! I’ve always used the recipe from Back Home Again – marinate the pork tenderloin in bourbon, brown sugar and soy sauce then serve it with a sauce with mayo, dried mustard, vinegar and scallions. This is equally good if not better. We finished it on the grill. We’ll absolutely make it again.

  20. This made a fantastic meal! My husband, too, declared it his new favorite pork recipe, and my son ate seconds and thirds!!
    I paired the pork with steam-sauteed broccoli and a combo of russet and sweet potatoes mashed with a little butter and half and half.
    I especially loved the ease of preparation — simple rub, one pan, huge flavor. Thanks for this one, Annie!

  21. Wow this looks yummy. I will be trying this out soon!

  22. I served this tonight and the family loved it, although I think I over did it on the cinnamon…still good though

  23. This was AMAZING!!!! Even requested for Easter!! Yay!!

  24. My husband and I fixed this for dinner tonight, and it was AWESOME! We put it on our must-repeat list. Thank you for posting it!

  25. WOW! my husband made this using pork chops instead of a tenderloin and we LOVED it. 🙂
    I posted it on my blog, linking back to yours – hope that’s okay!

  26. Annie, thank you for the recipe! I tried it today and it was a big hit with my family! They loved the combination of the cumin and cinnamon of the rub, and the sweetness of the glaze.
    Thank you also for all the wonderful inspirational recipes; your website makes me want to try and make everything! 😀

  27. Thank you so much for this recipe, Annie. I have a VERY picky husband and he loved this pork! Definitely a keeper 🙂

  28. I just made this recipe for my boyfriend and we both LOVED this. To be honest, I was skeptical at first but it ended up coming out juicy and delicious. especially the crust! Thanks for a great recipe and an awesome blog!

  29. My husband thought this was the best meal I have ever made! Thank you so much for sharing! I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! You are my new go-to for dinner and dessert ideas. 🙂

  30. I just made this for my family, and they all loved it! I used only two pounds of pork and it turned out spicier than I thought it would, but it was still awesome. This is a great recipe for something complex and sophisticated, but still really easy!

  31. So Good! Thanks

  32. i’m trying this tonight for dinner with acorn squash on the side. i’m excited! it smells so good. and i love that it’s basically made from all those random ingredients that you have for some reason, but you’re not sure why. thanks from champaign, il!

    • so, um, these were AMAZING. my girlfriend and i ate every last bite! and they were FANTASTIC with acorn squash as a side dish because the flavors worked perfect together! thank you soooo much for sharing. i’m definitely making this again.

  33. I was just checking back to rave about how this is our favorite pork, one of the only recipes we’ve deemed good enough to be in the constant rotation. Just saw Angela’s comment about the acorn squash and now I’m even more excited! PERFECT combination. I wouldn’t have thought of that. We love it with sweet potatoes best but we’re mixing things up with mustard roasted new potatoes as the side tonight. Love love love this recipe. Thanks, Annie!

  34. This is a great recipe! It is in regular rotation on my dinner menu. It’s also very easy to halve since I am cooking for just me and my husband. Thanks for sharing!

  35. oh.em.gee! Hold the presses! This is quite possibly the most delicious thing I have ever put in my mouth! And the best part? It was SO easy! I used this recipe on a pork loin instead of tenderloin (increasing cook time) and it was DELICIOUS!!! The smell during cooking was tantalizing and the taste was explosive and moist. Add this to your holiday and serve-to-guests list for sure. Thanks for sharing, Annie!

  36. i just wanted to let you know that I be sharing this recipe on my blog (giving you credit, of course!) It was just soooo good. I also figured out what the points value would be if you were on Weight Watchers. Here’s the link to my blog if you want to check it out –

  37. I am making this tonight with a pork loin. When you said you halved the ingredients for the glaze are those the measurements posted or are they the original measurements?


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