Grilled or Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin in Honey Lime Chipotle Marinade

August 26th, 2009 by katie

Woo hoo!  I am glad to be home!  We had this pork tenderloin just before we left and I can’t wait to have it again.

I LOVE a grilled pork tenderloin.  It is one of my favorite things-the outside gets crisp and caramelized while the middle is moist and juicy.  This recipe was originally intended for the grill, but we couldn’t get it together that night and wound up pan roasting it instead.  Boy am I glad!  I know we’ll try again at grilling it in the future but this was wonderful roasted and served with the pan sauce.  As for mrChaos’s opinion: This is the best pork tenderloin ever. Why haven’t you been making this for years?

The pan roasting is a great, quick way to cook the tenderloins.  Marinade the meat before bed and you will have a quick weeknight dinner the next day.  I made our usual rice-a-roni pilaf and some creamed corn (spiced up with jalapeno salt, thanks Melissa!) while the pork roasted.  Despite the honey, this dish is not too sweet and it is great with or without cilantro if you aren’t the cilantro type.

Chipotle Honey Lime Pork Tenderloin

serves 6, prep 15 min, marinate overnight or as long as possible, cook 20 min, adapted from Alton Brown
  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin (2 small tenderloins)
  • 1 cup lime juice, about 8 juicy limes
  • zest from 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce (from canned chilies)
  • peanut oil, or other high temperature oil
  • cilantro
  1. Trim tenderloins of fat and silver skin as much as possible.  Place in a large ziplock bag or other container to marinate.
  2. In a bowl combine lime juice, zest, honey, salt, and garlic powder.
  3. Stir to combine, then pour half over tenderloins, reserving half for sauce.
  4. To tenderloins add chiles and adobo sauce.  Seal and marinade in fridge.
  5. About 30 minutes before you are ready to cook, remove pork from fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°F.  In a large, heavy oven-proof skillet (like a cast iron skillet), heat enough oil to coat over medium high temperature.
  7. Remove tenderloins from marinade and sear in hot skillet on all sides.
  8. Place the skillet in the oven and roast tenderloins for about 15 min.
  9. Check temperature with an instant read thermometer.  Remove pork from the oven at approximately 140-145, cover pork in skillet with foil. Let rest on the counter for 5-10 minutes or until temperature rises to 150.
  10. Remove pork to a cutting board, pour reserved lime juice mixture into skillet with meat juices and heat on high.
  11. Allow sauce to reduce and thicken slightly, then pour over sliced pork tenderloins.  If you don’t have enough sauce or it thickens too much you can add a little water and continue simmering it until it is the quantity and thickness you want.
  12. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

If you choose to grill, start at step 5 and grill your tenderloins about 15 minutes.  Remove from the grill to a platter at 140°F. Pour reserved lime juice mixture over meat and cover with foil.  Allow to rest 10 minutes.  Then slice, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Pork tenderloin is very lean and requires a gentle hand to keep it from drying out.  If you choose to use a pork loin it will require longer cooking time and not be as tender.

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Posted in Easy, Fast, Main Dish

21 Responses

  1. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    Looks great Katie. Is it bad that I’m cracing a slice of it right now…for breakfast??? LOL

  2. marguerite

    OMG that looks amazing!!!

  3. Melissa

    First thought upon seeing photo, mouth agape… “Oh.My.”

    I make tenderloin almost every week now. We love it, but of course I am constantly trying to make it new and exciting. I’m making one tomorrow with an herb cream gravy, but yours will be next week’s version. Thanks Katie!

  4. Sara @ Our Best Bites

    You had me at honey, lime, & chipotle! 3 of my most favorite things; looks great!

  5. Cookie

    This is one of the most beautiful pork tenderloin dishes I’ve EVER seen! Those flavors sound amazing together!

  6. Hungry Jenny

    Oh my, that looks delicious! I love the dish you have it in too!

  7. cheryl

    Stunning photo. Stunning. Here’s my question — 2 chipotles seems like a lot. Is the pork incredibly spicy? I would think it’d be fiery, esp. if you don’t take out the seeds, no?

    Hmm, I never think canned chipotles are that spicy (of course, now that you mention it I have never seen seeds in my canned chipotles either). The pork doesn’t turn out hot spicy at all in this marinade. If your chipotles are hot then I would adjust the amount to your tastes because the final dish shouldn’t be super hot. -Katie

  8. sweetbird

    hoooo boy, that is one sexy photo. glad you’re back, hope you had fun!

  9. heidileon

    I think pork-honey is one winner combo, the chipotle and lime juice just ad some kick and spiciness to the recipe that to me looks just perfect.

    btw, I saw Cheryl’s comment and I would like to add as well, that I don’t think 2 tiny chipotle chiles are too spicy.

    Chipotles are one of the mildest and sweetest Mexican Chiles, canned chipotles do have seeds, but they are not as spicy as the ones you find in some fresh chiles.

    However, when I use canned chipotles I blend them in the mixer with a little bit of water and after that I strain them. If I have any unused chipotle pure I just store it in an airtight container with some olive oil and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

  10. Matt

    Hi, I’m making this right now (love tenderloin), and I’m a little confused about covering it, and “resting” it until it hits 150. Do you rest it ten minutes and return it to the oven? Or just cover it? Doesn’t matter, just hit 150. Thanks for the recipe!

    Hope it was delicious Matt! I clarified the instructions a bit, thanks. -Katie

  11. Melissa

    MAKE THIS EVERYONE! You won’t regret it!!

  12. Amelie

    This had been on my “to do” list for the longest time and I finally made it today – it was delicious! So tender and flavorful! Definitely a keeper! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Adelina

    I made this for a Thanksgiving dinner….I wish I had used the tenderloin instead of the loin, which I firmly believe that it makes a different! I actually marinated the pork for two nights. I think next time the only change I’ll make (like a reviewer above) would be to puree the canned chipotle peppers instead. I just like the sauce to have less “chunks”! I think this is good for maybe a day or two leftover food!

    Thanks for posting! Your photo looks really great!

  14. Mabry

    This looks delicious, and I’m marinating mine as we speak! Looks like a romantic, delicious dinner in for me and the Hubby. Lots of other fantastic recipes on your blog, btw. Can’t wait to try!

  15. Momto3HMN

    This recipe brings out a nice favor of sweet and tart with a kick of heat. We grilled the tenderloin, which came out to perfection. For sides we had a sprig salad, grilled asparagus and angel hair pasta. Very delicious!

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  17. Alex

    Hey! I made this tonight and it was flipping INCREDIBLE i love pork tenderloin so much… since im a lowly university student im only cooking for one so halved this recipe and made some other adjustments…but i had canned chipotles (with seeds!) and i kept that at two because I looooove spicy food..and i really didn’t find it hot at all! i think unless you’re like quebec-sensitive to spice you wouldn’t have a problem at all with the amount in this and next time I might even increase it a little

  18. Colleen

    Just made this using homemade chipotle in adobe. I had to tinker with the sauce to make it less acidic. I added more honey, which helped, and then added a tiny bit of butter after removing from the heat, which really smoothed out the flavors (and in fact is a great addition to any sauce that calls for lemon juice, wine or other similar acids). I find it much more palatable that way. The chipotles are hot on their own, but once on the pork they add a perfect amount of heat and complexity. Overall, this is a win. Use fresh garlic if you have it. So much nicer than powdered.

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  21. Dave

    That sounds very tasty, and great photography too. Can’t wait to try this recipe and find out just how good it is.

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