Home cured pork tenderloin is simple and delicious. It’s also raw and fermented, making it extremely nutritious. I only use the best quality pork, like Rockside Ranch pork to cure and eat raw. Rockside Ranch pork tenderloin is also much smaller than industrial pork making it easy to cure if you’re a beginner. Start this in November and you’ll have it for the holidays.
The Pork & Brine:
2 pork tenderloins - each 1 to ½ pounds. Increase curing mixture and cure time for larger cuts
kosher or sea salt
2 Tbls brown sugar
¼ cup brandy, cognac, rum, or bourbon
A food scale
Coating: one tablespoon or more of one of the following:
Smoked, hot, or sweet paprika, or a mixture
Fine cracked black or white pepper
Herbes de Provence
Pickled raisins (below)
A variety of mustards and/or conserves
Crostini or crackers
To prepare the pork:
Remove any extra fat and the silver skin, the shiny flat muscle sinew, from the pork.
Cut off the very pointy ends, reserving them for another use.
Weigh the pork in grams using a food scale and write the number down for determining when the pork is done curing.
To calculate the correct amount of salt, weigh the pork and multiply the weight by 4% (Example: 300 g × .04 = 12 grams salt). Using volume (tablespoon) measurements can lead to over-salted meat.
Place the salt and sugar in a plastic storage bag.
Place the tenderloins in the bag, seal shut while removing air. Massage the brine into the pork covering every part of the tenderloin.
Refrigerate for 12 hours. Don’t be tempted to over marinade as the pork will be too salty.
After 12 hours, remove the tenderloins from the bag, and wipe them dry with paper towels.
Hold the pork over a small bowl, and pour the brandy over the pork. Use a small measuring cup or large spoon to continue to turn the prok and “wash” of the remaining salt/sugar cure.
Pat the pork dry with a paper towel and place it on a piece of wax paper.
Sprinkle with the spices, coating evenly by rolling it around in the spice mixture. The pork should be completely covered with spices.
Wrap each tenderloin with cheesecloth allowing the pork to show through. Don’t over-wrap.
Tie it with kitchen twine, and (in cool weather) hang the pork in a cool area where there is good air circulation. I hang mine from my laundry rack in the garage. It has a shelf above where I drape a cloth over the pork, without touching the pork so it can breath.
You can also place it on a flat sheet pan topped with a mesh cake rack for air circulation, in the fridge. The meat needs good air circulation.
Cure for 10 days to 2 weeks, checking it every few days.
At day 10, weigh the pork again. The pork is done when it has lost 30% of it’s beginning weight. Calculate by: starting weight × 0.7 = ending weight.
Wrapped in parchment paper or cheesecloth and then loosely with plastic wrap, the cured pork will keep for a month in the refrigerator but will continue to dry out. Once it’s too dry to slice, grate it with a coarse grater and grate over pasta, deviled or scrambled eggs, on toasted bread with olive oil, etc.
To be safe:
White mold is good. Green mold: cut it off.. Black mold: throw it out.
And, when in doubt, throw it out. I have never had a problem with curing pork but remember that cool weather is your friend.
Look for interesting raisins at the farmer’s market to make this extra tasty. The herbs used in this recipe were designed to go with the smoked paprika cure. Feel free to switch and use fresh thyme, rosemary, etc.
2 dried chiles de árbol, crushed, or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Bay leaf
1 Tbls. dried oregano
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
¼ cup honey
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups raisins of choice
Bring everything but the raisins to a simmer for 3 to 4 minutes in a small pan.
Place the raisins in a Pyrex cup or a canning jar that you have warmed with hot water and drained.
Strain the vinegar mixture into a bowl and place the bay leaf in with the raisins. Discard the other spices.
Pour the vinegar over the raisins and let cool for at least one hour.
Keep stored in the fridge.