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Lemon-Herb Rub for Pork Tenderloin + Easy Pan Sauce

Lemon-Herb Rub for Pork Tenderloin + Easy Pan Sauce

30 MIN

One of my favorite cuts of meat for weeknight cooking is the pork tenderloin because it can be on the table in about 30 minutes. With a bold dry rub, quick sear, short roast, and no-fail pan sauce, this recipe may just fool them into thinking it’s Sunday night dinner. I’ll let you tell them it’s only Tuesday.

Pork Tenderloin Vs. Loin

Don’t feel badly if you’ve ever been confused about this. Until I was cooking pork semi-regularly, I often found myself stumped in the meat section.

Here’s the low-down:

Pork Tenderloin is a boneless, slender cut of meat. It’s usually about a foot long and weighs about 1 pound. It’s best cooked quickly until it just reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees F (otherwise it’s dry and tough).

Pork Loin can be boneless or bone-in and typically weighs 2 to 4 pounds. It’s best cooked low and slow in the oven or slow cooker.


For the Pork:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2.25-2.5 pounds pork tenderloin (about 2 tenderloins)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Pan Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¬†Kosher salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a small dish, combine lemon zest through black pepper. Using your hands, rub lemon-herb mix to cover all sides of pork tenderloins.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed oven safe pan (not nonstick), heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add pork to pan and sear on both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side (5-6 minutes total).
  4. Transfer pan to oven. Roast until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees* (this will take about 15-20 minutes). I recommend using a probe thermometer so you can monitor internal temperature closely.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Keeping the drippings in the pan, transfer pork to a plate and loosely cover with foil to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Return pan to stovetop (handle will be HOT, so be careful) over low heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and use a wooden spoon or whisk to stir constantly, scraping up brown bits, for 1 minute.
  7. Add 1 1/2 cups stock and whisk to combine until sauce is smooth. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until pan sauce thickens. (For a thinner sauce, add remaining 1/2 cup stock.)
  8. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  9. Cut pork into 1/2-inch slices and serve topped with pan sauce.

Serves 6. 

*Pork that reaches the safe internal cooking temp of 145 degrees F will still be slightly pink inside.

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