Entree/ Pork

Garlic Lime Pork Tenderloin

I’ve made this four times now.

I’m sure you have all prepared pork tenderloin some way. We prefer pork tenderloin over a pork loin roast because it is so juicy and tender and quick to cook.

One of the easiest ways I have prepared it is to cut into about 1 1/2″ pieces, wrap with bacon, marinade and throw on a grill for a quick cook. But after trying this recipe when were in Austin for Thomas’ birth, I don’t think I will ever do pork tenderloin any other way. Since that weekend, I have made this 3 other times.

Cook’s Illustrated gave three versions of the marinade. I have tried two, this one and the orange garlic lime. I like them both and I will give you the orange marinade at the end of this post.

I don’t know if you have ever bought a Cook’s Illustrated magazine but if you haven’t you should. They try and try a recipe until they get it just right and they focus a lot on the techniques of cooking which makes it easier to cook great food with their detailed instructions. The paper copy of the magazine always has black and white sketches of the foods but my digital copy on my iPad starts black and white it it slowly changes to a beautiful colored photograph of the food they have just prepared.

According to CI the shape of the pork tenderloin does have much surface area for browning. Pounding the meat into a flat steaks gives more surfaces for the meat to touch the grill leave more flavor into every bite.

I hope you will try this recipe and if you have a favorite pork tenderloin recipe, please leave in “comment” section at the bottom of the post. That’s below the three little pictures at bottom.

(Totally, totally carb friendly. Serve whatever sides you like with your pork tenderloin and enjoy.)

BLAST FROM THE PAST: I haven’t made any new ice creams yet this summer and was looking at some of my old post and found this one that I love because I love Almond Joy candy bars. Give it a try —  Chocolate Almond Ice Cream.


First, those hairy hands are not mine. 🙂  Cut all the silver skin and fat from the two pork tenderloins.


Cut the two pieces into four crosswise, not lengthwise.


Pound out the pork tenderloins to about 1″ thick.


Chop the ingredients and mix in all the marinade ingredients.  You will remove 1/2 cup of this mixture and add the cilantro and mayonnaise to and then warm in the microwave to use as a sauce over the grilled cooked meat.


Mix all the marinade ingredients together and put in ziplock bag with the pounded pork tenderloin.


Grill until they are still pink inside about 145°.


Slice the tenderloins thin and at an angle (not cross grain).


Doesn’t that look delicious with the sauce poured over it. Those are my Jalapeño Popcorn Muffins in the background.

Garlic Lime Grilled Pork Tenderloin


  • 1 pork tenderloin trimmed (1 lb.) (I used two pork tenderloins and doubled marinade ingredients)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest plus 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce if you don't have, use soy
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • flake sea salt optional


  1. Slice tenderloin in half crosswise to create 2 steaks total. Pound each half to 3/4-inch thickness. Using sharp knife, cut 1/8-inch-deep slits spaced 1/2 inch apart in crosshatch pattern on both sides of steaks.
  2. Whisk lime zest and juice, garlic, honey, fish sauce, salt, and pepper together in large bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle oil into lime mixture until smooth and slightly thickened. Transfer 1/4 cup lime mixture to small bowl and whisk in mayonnaise; set aside sauce. Add steaks to bowl with remaining marinade and toss thoroughly to coat; transfer steaks and marinade to large zipper-lock bag, press out as much air as possible, and seal bag. Let steaks sit at room temperature for 45 minutes
  3. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  4. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).
  5. Clean and oil cooking grate. Remove steaks from marinade (do not pat dry) and place over hotter part of grill. Cook, uncovered, until well browned on first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip steaks and cook until well browned on second side, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer steaks to cooler part of grill, with wider end of each steak facing hotter part of grill. Cover and cook until meat registers 140 degrees, 3 to 8 minutes longer (remove steaks as they come to temperature). Transfer steaks to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. While steaks rest, microwave reserved sauce until warm, 15 to 30 seconds; stir in cilantro. Slice steaks against grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Drizzle with half of sauce; sprinkle with sea salt, if using; and serve, passing remaining sauce separately
  7. The mayonnaise makes it a sauce: To add a last-minute burst of flavor to our Garlic-Lime Grilled Pork Tenderloin Steaks, we reserve a portion of the garlic-citrus marinade to use as a sauce. But pouring the punchy liquid over the steaks resulted in a too-sharp taste; plus, its consistency was thin and runny. Adding mayonnaise solved both problems. A couple teaspoons balanced the marinade’s sharp acidity and contributed much-needed body.
  8. This serves 2-3 people. If you want 4-6 servings do two large pork tenderloins.

Here’s the recipe for the Spicy Orange-ginger  Marinade.  I’ve done both of these and love them equally.

Spicy Orange-Ginger marinade for pork tenderloin:


  • 1 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest plus 2 Tbsp. juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest plus 2 Tbsp. juice
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Flake sea salt optional


  1. Follow the directions for the lime garlic sauce above.


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  • Reply
    July 10, 2014 at 5:02 am

    going to try this, this weekend. i just realized i have not got my Cooks magazine the last couple weeks. I love it.

    • Reply
      July 12, 2014 at 6:52 am

      I get it in the mail and also on my iPad. I love having all my food magazines to carry on the iPad. Let me know how you like this.

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