A gorgeous and budget-friendly juicy maple glazed pork tenderloin is perfect for celebrating the holiday season with friends and family.
The holidays are a time when everyone usually comes to grandma’s house, she makes all the food, a few aunties bring some sides, and someone’s uncle or granddaddy accidentally sets the backyard on fire deep-frying a turkey again.
I can’t be the only one with a granddaddy who burnt down the backyard.
But nowadays, we don’t just go to grandma’s for Christmas Eve dinner, we tend to entertain our friends days or weeks before. And when you’re a young adult or a young family unit, you don’t have the money the bust out a 17-dollar-per-pound prime standing rib roast. Your friends better chip in, those prices are no joke!
A good substitute is pork tenderloin. It’s very budget friendly and each vacuum-sealed package comes with two tenderloins, making it great for a small crowd.
When my in-laws visited my husband and me as newlyweds, I made pork tenderloin and they were quite impressed by both my cooking skills and by the juiciness and flavor of the pork and we didn’t even break the bank, I paid about $10 for them.
Pork is notorious for being dry, often because of outdated information on cooking temperatures and not brining the meat. Just like with fried chicken, a brine for pork loosens the tightly-knit proteins to yield tender meat, transfers the moisture from the brine deeper into the pork, flavors the meat with the different seasonings in the brine, and most importantly, it ensures your pork is juicy.
In this maple glazed pork tenderloin recipe, I use a simple water brine with salt, pepper, onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, and spices. The best thing about brines are that you can completely customize them to your taste.
Let me be clear, this is pure maple syrup. The stuff in the little glass bottles that say Grade A or Grade B, amber or blonde, those maple syrups. I got the Grade A amber from my local grocery store because you must have real maple syrup in this recipe for both the brine and glaze.
The pancake syrup will not cut it, it’s not really maple syrup. Issa lie.
I wanted to balance out the sweetness of the maple glaze with some savoriness and a bit of acidity. Food is all about balance, and while the maple syrup is sweet, the splash of white wine vinegar and the savory dijon mustard all mingle together beautifully, the brine rounds it out and brings all the well-balanced flavor into the pork itself, so it’s not just a glaze sitting on top of un-seasoned pork on the inside.
If you’re on a budget after shopping for Christmas and still want something impressive and delicious, a maple glazed pork tenderloin is the way to go!