Delicious and always tender pork tenderloin, with a souvlaki marinade and served with a cherry tomato salad. Cook in the oven, a grill pan or the BBQ.
Just like the bears, our BBQ grill hibernates for the winter and it's about this time in the Winter that I start to crave some of our Summer favourite flavours like grilled pork souvlaki. With this Souvlaki Marinated Pork Tenderloin, I can get the flavours of those Summer BBQs in the middle of Winter! And as a bonus, it's a quick and easy weeknight meal, too.
This pork tenderloin cooks up super quickly in the oven, thanks to butterflying the pork. You can marinate the pork anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours, so it's great to prepare in the morning and cook up for a quick and easy dinner later.
I love to serve this souvlaki pork with a fresh marinated cherry tomato salad and some homemade Tzatziki, both can also be made ahead and refrigerated or they mix up quickly while the pork is cooking.
✓ Pork Tenderloin: This is the long, skinny cut of pork. I love it as it's always tender! Look for one about 1 1/2 lbs., though it really doesn't matter much what size you start with.
✓ Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best for this dish, if you have lemons on hand.
✓ Garlic: I love fresh garlic. For this dish, all you need to do is peel and smash them with the side of a knife, to open up the flavour. If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, you can use 1 1/2 tsp of powdered garlic, instead.
✓ Dried Oregano Leaves: Oregano is what gives souvlaki it's distinctive flavour, so it's tough to recommend a substitute here. You can use fresh oregano or dried oregano powder. Use more fresh and less, if powder.
✓ Cucumber: The seedless English cucumber is best for grating, but a regular field cucumber with the seeds removed will work as well.
✓ Yogurt: Any thicker plain yogurt, such as Greek or Balkan will be fine. Use any fat level you like.
✓ Cherry Tomatoes: I love cherry tomatoes in the Winter, as they tend to have more flavour than the larger tomatoes. If enjoying this dish in Summer, use whatever small or large tomatoes you like. Simply slice or dice the larger tomatoes.
While I've detailed the non-BBQ method here, you can certainly take these same ingredients and instructions and cook the pork on the BBQ instead. Either do it butterflied, as I have done here, or you can cube the pork tenderloin and thread onto skewers for the grill, if you prefer.
A grill pan is also an option, though the pork when butterflied is quite large, so unless you have a large grill pan, it may not fit to lay flat. Personally, I find the grill pan more work than it's worth just to get a few grill lines, as cleaning them afterwards is a bear!
Top Tip! Pork should be cooked to 145F internal temperature. At that temperature, the pork will be juicy and have a little pink in the centre. If you prefer no pink, cook closer to 160F internal temperature. When it comes to internal temperature, why guess? An instant-read thermometer is one of the best additions you can make to your kitchen, I think.
Souvlaki Marinated Pork Tenderloin
- 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice preferably freshly squeezed
- 3 Tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- 2-3 tsp dried oregano leaves less if powdered oregano, more if fresh
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup English cucumber grated and squeezed to remove moisture
- 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
Marinated Cherry Tomatoes (Optional):
- 15 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled or diced
- Pinch dried oregano
- Pinch dried basil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar
- Prepare the pork tenderloin by removing the silverskin and any visible fat. Butterfly the tenderloin, but cutting it in half lengthwise, cutting almost, but not quite, all the way through. Spread it open and flatten slightly. Season with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Prepare the Souvlaki marinade by stirring together all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Rub on the prepared pork tenderloin, then place in a plastic storage bag or wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours (the longer the better).
- * Both the Tzatziki and Marinated Cherry Tomatoes can also be made ahead and refrigerated, if you prefer. (see below for instructions).
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375F (not fan assisted).
- Remove the marinated pork tenderloin and place it on a baking sheet (you can line with foil, if you like). *I like to tuck the smashed garlic cloves underneath the pork, so they don't burn on the top and introduce a bitter flavour. You can also just remove and discard, if you like. Place in preheated oven and allow to cook until it reaches 145F internal temperature, about 20 minutes. Brown the top of the pork by popping it under the broiler for a few minutes.
- While pork is cooking, prepare the marinated cherry tomatoes by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl and tossing well to combine. Set aside at room temperature to marinate until needed. Prepare the tzatziki by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring well to combine. Allow to sit at room temperature until needed.
- When pork is done, allow to rest a few minutes, then remove to a cutting board and cut into slices. Serve with the marinated tomatoes and some tzatziki. Some warmed pita bread triangles drizzled with a bit of garlic butter would also be a nice addition to the platter, if you like.