Sunday, January 8, 2012

Simple and Economical Meals

I have wanted to experiment for a while on making pulled pork using a pork tenderloin. What I love about pork tenderloin is that it an economical choice. I bought a package of pork tenderloins at the grocery store for $11. I have bought them for cheaper than that before too. A package includes two tenderloins. This is a steal because that could mean 2-4 meals for a family of 4.
In my cookbook, I bacon wrap a pork tenderloin and top it with a cranberry-rosemary glaze.  The pork tenderloin is so filling that a small piece is all you will want. I have served one bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin to 5 people and there were still some left. Amazing!

Ok back to the pulled pork.....I decided to make a rub for the pork. I didn't want to do a mexican or bbq spiced rub but a rub that would compliment the pork flavor. Here is the recipe-
Southern Pulled Pork Tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver skin
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. hickory smoked salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground thyme
¼ tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. canola oil
½ onion, sliced
1 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
With paper towel, pat the pork tenderloin dry.
In a small bowl, combine the next six ingredients. Rub the spice mixture on the pork.

Add the canola oil to a large cast iron skillet. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, place the tenderloin in the skillet. Cook for about 1 on each side to form a crust and seal in the flavors. Remove from heat.

Top the tenderloin with the onion slices. Pour the apple juice in the skillet then cover the skillet with aluminum foil.
Bake for 8 hours. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Using two forks pull the pork apart.

Let me introduce you to hickory smoked salt if you are not familiar with it. I discovered this salt after reading an article in Southern Living magazine. It was a little difficult to find but I have found it at specialty kitchen stores and health food stores. What I like about it is that it imparts a smoked pork flavor but with out the fat. I use this spice to flavor my sauteed brussel sprouts, leek, and green apple dish.
What is simple about this preparation is that I put the pork in the oven at night and woke up to an amazing aroma coming from my oven. The pork was ready.

Now for the best part! I got two meals for four people with this one pork tenderloin. That is about $2.50 per meal.
I cut the amount of pork in half. For lunch, I added my favorite bbq sauce to the meat for bbq pulled pork sandwiches.
Then for dinner, I served the pulled pork in a taco form. I call it Southern Carnitas.
Eat it with a fork or...
with your hands!
I served the pork in a homemade thin corn cake.
Pork tenderloin is not only an economical choice but it is also a healthier choice because there isn't any fat on it like a picnic pork shoulder. I don't have to remove the layers of fat and pick out the meat. All you have is the flavorful pork.
Try this recipe and share with me what you think. Enjoy!


  1. It sounds great. I have been using smoked salt for a few years now and I love the extra smoked flavor that it adds.

  2. This sounds wonderfully delicious and a great deal! Will have to try this. Would it be possible to cook in a crockpot or would it be better in the oven?

  3. @heelsandmeals I definitely think that you can cook it in a crockpot. You may have to add a little more apple juice to prevent the pork from drying out. I will have to try it in a crockpot myself. I haven't used a crockpot in years but I have had several people ask me for crockpot recipes.

  4. Whitney, this looks incredibly tasty! Do you know the calorie/fat breakdown for this? I write a blog for a residential weight loss facility called Structure House in Durham, NC, and came across your blog through twitter. This would be great to share with our guests for a quick, easy and healthy meal-especially with the avocados as a great source of healthy fat. Thanks!

  5. @Kelly I put the pork tenderloin recipe into and it came up with 115 calories, 3.8g fat, 15g protein per serving. The guacamole is actually a pea guacamole. It slims down a regular guacamole with the pea addition.
    Pea Guacamole:
    ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
    2 ripe avocados
    ¾ tsp. lime juice
    1/8 tsp. crushed garlic
    ½ tsp. minced onion
    ½ tsp. diced fresh jalapeno
    1/8 tsp. sea salt
    Process the pea, avocados, and lime juice in a food processor until smooth. If smoother texture is desired, strain the puree. Mix in the additional ingredients. Serve

  6. I can't wait to make this! For those of us who don't drink apple juice and therefore don't have it in the house... could we substitute orange juice, or would it be too citrusy?


  7. Do you have a recipe for the homemade thin corn cake?

  8. Thanks for the recipe whitney and even I want would like to know the recipe of the homemade thin corn cake. please post it if you can.


  9. @Gia, orange juice is too citrusy. Pork pairs well with apples. Pick up a small individual container of apple juice at a quick stop. Creatively , you probably can drive through a fast food establishment. I had apple juice because I had made hot spiced cider(juice) for the holidays. I will post the corn cake recipe later.