Sunday, June 29, 2014

Xan: Sous-vide pork tenderloin

All things considered, pork tenderloin is not my favorite cut.  I'm just not on board with the emphasis on tenderness over flavor.  If I have to choose between them, I will take flavor any day.

Technically, now that I have my immersion circulator, I don't have to choose between them.  I can take tough, flavorful cuts and make them tender, with a longer cook.  Even so, I'm not going to completely stop eating the naturally tender cuts.

Cooking sous-vide for a short time (1-4 hours) has its own advantages.  Over this short time, the meat truly loses almost no moisture, ending up noticeably juicier than meat cooked either the conventional way or over an extended stay in the water bath.

Here is pork tenderloin cooked at 138 F for 3 hours:

Pink and juicy.
And if anyone is wondering about the safety of cooking pork to 138 degrees: The idea is that bacteria die much quicker at higher temperatures, but by holding the meat at 138 for long enough, the same number of bacteria are killed. This pork has been completely pasteurized, which sous-vide allows me to do at a lower temperature than other cooking methods allow.

So not only is the meat cooked evenly from edge to edge, but it can also be safely cooked to a lower temperature throughout, if desired.  We could go down even further from here, although at this point the binding constraint has nothing to do with science.  I must always ask myself: Will Catherine eat it?

Anyway, this is easily the best pork tenderloin I've made.

Unless it was this one a few days before:

Yo dawg, I herd you like two-packs, so I put a two-pack in your two-pack so you can eat while you eat...

I'm not sure, but I had two chances to experiment because Costco sells pork tenderloin in two packs.  I gave half of my two-pack to Ryan, but it turns out each half of the two pack is also a two-pack, because Costco is the eternal trailblazer of embiggening.

I served one of these with squash soup:

Really excellent, but that's for another post. (Forthcoming!)

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