Mojo Pork Tenderloin – Pork tenderloin is marinated in a classic Cuban citrus marinade and roasted to perfection.
One good thing to come from all this time spent at home is that I’ve developed a set of go-to recipes that are super simple to make, especially during a hectic week. As much as I love to cook, it became a chore during the week when I was too exhausted from a long day to make anything fun.
But now, I’ve had the time to think through some of our favorite foods and how to make them more achievable during the week. One of those foods is mojo pork. Mojo pork is a pork that is marinated in a citrus marinade and lots of spices and then roasted to perfection. I never tried making it for myself because pork loin is not a common food for me and, quite frankly, it seemed like it would take too long to roast.
Today, however, I have a solution! We eat pork tenderloin constantly. It’s a great lean meat that tastes great grilled so my husband can have it ready in less than 30 minutes. Why not spice up our usual pork tenderloin routine by marinating in a mojo marinade? And so we did and our Mojo Pork Tenderloin was born!
What is mojo pork?
Mojo pork is a pork that is marinated in a Cuban marinade called mojo and then roasted to perfection. Mojo is traditionally made with orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and oregano. You may see variations with other herbs and spices but you really don’t need them all. Why bother with tons of ingredients when just a few will work perfectly?
How is this pork tenderloin made?
First, this pork begins with a simple marinade. You just add the ingredients together in a large storage bag, add the pork tenderloin, and marinade for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. You don’t want to marinate too long or the tenderloin will taste mushy.
Once the pork is done marinating, it’s removed from the marinade and then dried off completely. If you don’t do this, the pork won’t be able to brown properly because of all the moisture. After it’s dry, it’s seasoned with a dry rub of the same spices used in the marinade – but instead of garlic cloves, I used garlic powder so it can easily rub over the pork.
Next, the pork is seared in a skillet to create a crust on all sides. If you just add the pork to the oven without doing this, the juices won’t stay sealed in and the outside won’t get beautifully brown.
Finally, the pork is finished in the oven to make sure it’s cooked through. Here is when a meat thermometer is absolutely necessary. You can never guarantee when meat is done and unless you want to cut the meat open to check the center every time, a meat thermometer will help you know when it’s ready.
Tips & Tricks
- Do not skimp on marinating time – this is when the incredible flavor develops!
- You MUST dry off the pork before browning in a skillet. Any excess moisture will prevent browning and you’ll end up steaming the pork instead.
- Make sure to sear the pork just until it forms a nice crust on the outside – you don’t want it to cook all the way. As such, you’ll want to sear on a medium-high heat, at least.
Mojo Pork Tenderloin
- 1 1-2 pound pork tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Dry rub ingredients:
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Add all the marinade ingredients to a large storage bag and seal. Shake around to mix well. Open bag and add raw pork tenderloin and cover in the marinade. Remove air and reseal bag. Place on a plate or bowl and set in fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Marinate no more than 24 hours.
- Once pork is ready for cooking, remove from storage bag with marinade and discard marinade. Dry pork with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Mix dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Using a spoon, sprinkle rub all over pork. Mix into the pork with your hands. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet or cast iron pan. Once oil is hot, add pork tenderloin and cook until sear forms, about 2-3 minutes. Rotate 90 degrees and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat until all sides are seared. Remove from heat. If you skillet is oven-safe, transfer to the oven with the pork to finish cooking, about 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature should be 145 degrees. If the skillet is not oven safe, transfer pork to a baking sheet and place in oven to finish cooking.
- Once finished, remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.