My first pork tenderloin. It’s true, I know. Shame on me, they’re so easy and all… but the thing is, believe it or not, pork was sort of ruined for me growing up. Mom, my mom, the best cook I knew until I was in my 20s, killed it with the pork. Pork chops a la Cambell’s Cream of Mushroom rice casserole. I swear, I thought that’s what pork was (except for bacon, of course). Dry, tough, tasteless. No matter what you did to it. So why bother?
In the last few years I’ve discovered the joy of the pork tenderloin though always prepared by other people. Yes, it can still be a little tough and a little dry, but nothing like the shoe sole I grew up with (sorry, mom).
So tonight I popped by my Aldi and picked up a pork tenderloin for a mere $2.81. “Discount Pork
” – almost as scary as “Discount Sushi
“. But it was vacuum-sealed and while I no longer trust Aldi for bacon-wrapped filet, I’m giving the tenderloin a shot. Luckily, my dear friend Grace
gave me some of her special spice rub as a present the last time I saw her, and tonight it’s getting the test run.
Here’s the thing about Aldi and the single girl: Aldi doesn’t make food for the single girl. If I buy a tenderloin, it will feed two or three single girls. If I buy eggs, they will feed a family over a weekend. If I buy potatoes then well, I better really like potatoes. So in a pinch, when a potato is a necessary item in this particular meal, I reach for something that causes my Irish roommate to gnash teeth and wring hands: potato flakes.
Yes, yes, it’s true. Potato flakes last longer than any bag of potatoes ever could and with proper doctoring, they are almost completely passable. Seriously. You throw enough salt, pepper, cheese, butter and sour cream into reconstituted potato flakes and bingo bango bongo you got yourself some dang fine taters! Trust me. Ok ok fine I know that you don’t but whatever, I’m not buying 10 pounds of potatoes. Even if she is Irish.
Back to the pork. “160 degrees!”, my digital probe thermometer sings (ok, it’s actually an irritating beep, not a pleasant tune), and she’s ready to rest. I’m a little compulsive about temperature-taking so I’ve measured more than once and sure enough, we’re good to go. I’m not really one of those people who likes her pork a little pink. Rested, ready.
RESULT! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! That was GOOD! Tender! Juicy! Spicy! Oh my goodness, pork tenderloin where have you been all my life?!
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Aldi, Grace, the people behind instant potatoes. Oh and God, for the pig.
Just look at this fine piece of porcine!
PS, if you don’t own a Silpat, go out and get one. All the recipes and instructions I found said to use foil and that would have been a mess. The Silpat released the meat immediately and cleaning up was a breeze.