Pork Tenderloin Crock Pot Preparation Tips and How To

Pork tenderloin is a lean, tender cut of meat that adapts beautifully to slow cooking. When cooked low and slow in a crock pot, the pork becomes incredibly tender and juicy. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make melt-in-your-mouth crock pot pork tenderloin.

Amazing Tenderloin Crock Pot Recipes

Benefits of Cooking Pork Tenderloin in a Crock Pot

Cooking pork tenderloin in a crock pot or Slow Cooker offers several advantages:

Tenderness

The slow cooking environment gently breaks down the meat’s connective tissue over several hours, resulting in fork-tender pork.

Juiciness

Cooking for an extended time allows the natural juices to be retained in each bite. The meat doesn’t dry out like other high-heat cooking methods.

Convenience

Crockpots allow you to “set it and forget it.” Once assembled, you don’t have to monitor the pork like on the stove or in the oven.

Versatility

The cooked pork can be used in tacos, sandwiches, soups, salads, and more. Shredded leftovers are fantastic.

Flavor Infusion

Spices, herbs, sauces, and other flavorings deeply permeate the meat during slow cooking.

Choosing the Right Cut of Pork

It’s important to use pork tenderloin, not pork loin, for crock pot recipes. Here’s how to tell the difference:

  • Pork tenderloin – Long, thin, and cylindrical in shape. Very tender with little fat. Usually 1-2 lbs.
  • Pork loin – Larger, wider, and fattier. More similar to a roast. Needs a longer cook time.

Pork tenderloin is optimal for crock pots. The tender meat only requires 2-4 hours on low to become fall-apart tender.

Seasoning Your Pork Tenderloin

One of the best parts of crock pot cooking is infusing the meat with flavor. Here are some seasoning ideas:

  • Dry rubs – Coat the pork with spices before cooking. Try smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Fresh herbs – Rub chopped rosemary, thyme, sage, or oregano over the meat.
  • Wet marinades – Let the pork soak for a few hours or overnight in a marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, and spices.
  • Barbecue sauce – Slather your favorite sauce over the pork before cooking for built-in flavor.
  • Compound butters – Spread herb butters under the skin or over the top of the tenderloin.

Liquid Options

The liquid in the crock pot will turn into a delicious gravy or sauce. Here are some options:

  • Broth – Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth provides moisture and flavor.
  • Wine or beer – For depth of flavor. Red wine, white wine, and beer work well.
  • Fruit juices – Apple, pineapple, cranberry, or orange juice impart sweetness.
  • Soy sauce or Worcestershire – For savory umami flavor.
  • Vinegars – Balsamic, red wine, rice wine, or apple cider vinegar add tang.
  • Water – For the simplest cooking liquid.

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin Recipe

This basic recipe showcases how easy and delicious crock pot pork tenderloin can be (for 4 to 6 persons):

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1⁄2 cup chicken brothCrock Pot Pork Tenderloin Recipe as seen on SlowCookerSociety

Instructions:

  1. Place tenderloins in the crock pot.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients except broth in a small bowl to make a marinade.
  3. Pour 3⁄4 of the marinade over the pork. Reserve the rest.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth.
  5. Cook on low for 3-4 hours until internal temperature reaches 145°F. (the picture above may feel not cooked enough, but just reheating it will make it well done.)
  6. Remove pork from pot and let rest 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, pour cooking juices into a saucepan. Whisk in reserved marinade. Simmer until thickened into a sauce.
  8. Slice pork and serve with sauce.

This simple recipe lets the pork shine with just a few flavor enhancers. The soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic marinate the meat, while thyme and brown sugar add aromatic sweetness.

Cooking Time

Pork tenderloin cooks faster than other cuts due to its leanness. Cook time depends on:

  • Size – Larger tenderloins need more time. Double the weight = double the time.
  • Temperature – Low (190°F) takes 2-4 hours. High (300°F) takes 1-2 hours.
  • Appliance – Some crock pots run hotter or cooler than others. Get to know your model.
  • Altitude – Meat cooks slower at high altitudes. Add 30 minutes if 1 mile above sea level.

Always use a meat thermometer to check doneness rather than relying solely on time. Cook until the pork reaches 145°F internally.

Preventing Dryness

Since pork tenderloin is so lean, it can easily dry out if overcooked. Here are some tips:

  • Cook on low heat for the full time rather than high heat.
  • Submerge the pork in liquid halfway up.
  • Add fatty ingredients like olive oil or butter.
  • Glaze or baste the pork with sauce near the end of cooking.
  • Wrap in bacon to impart moisture and flavor.
  • Don’t cook longer than necessary. Check temperature early.

Flavorful Add-Ins

Beyond spices and sauces, try mixing in these ingredients:

Aromatic veggies:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Celery
  • Carrots

Fruits:

  • Diced apple
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Dried cranberries or cherries

Herbs and seasonings:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chili powder

Rich flavors:

  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Wine
  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar

Saucy Finishing Touches

Transform cooking juices into a delicious sauce:

  • Whisk in cornstarch, flour, or a roux to thicken.
  • Stir in cream, coconut milk, or butter for richness.
  • Puree with an immersion blender for smoothness.
  • Simmer to reduce and concentrate flavors.
  • Splash in wine, vinegar, or lemon juice for acidity.
  • Sprinkle in fresh herbs for color and flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Pork tenderloin is extremely versatile. Serve with:

  • Mashed or baked potatoes
  • Rice or risotto
  • Pasta or gnocchi
  • Coleslaw or salad
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Fresh bread

Leftovers are fantastic for sandwiches, tacos, pizza, casseroles, and more. Shred or chop pork to add to soups, eggs, pasta, and rice dishes.

Storing and Freezing Leftovers

Properly stored, leftover crock pot pork tenderloin will last:

  • Fridge – Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.
  • Freezer – Portion into freezer bags or airtight containers up to 4 months.

To reheat, place in a skillet with sauce or broth and simmer until hot and juicy. Microwaving can lead to dry, tough meat.

Common Questions

Should the tenderloin be seared first?

Browning adds nice flavor, but isn’t mandatory. Skipping this step saves time.

Can other cuts be used besides tenderloin?

Pork chops, shoulder, and loin can also be slow cooked but may need more time.

What liquids work best?

Broths, juices, wine, and soy sauce add lots of flavor. Water can be used too.

Can veggies be added to the crock pot?

Yes, add them during the last 1-2 hours so they don’t overcook. Potatoes may need to be par-cooked.

Is it possible to overcook the tenderloin?

Yes, always check internal temperature instead of cooking time to avoid drying out the lean meat.

Tips for Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin Success

  • Pat the pork dry so spices adhere
  • Trim off excess fat for leaner meat
  • Cut tenderloin in half if cook time is shorter than recipe
  • Add liquid halfway up pork to prevent drying out
  • Turn pork over halfway through cooking
  • Check doneness early to avoid overcooking
  • Let meat rest before slicing for juicier pork
  • Add cornstarch slurry to gravy for thickened sauce

Final Thoughts

Crock pot pork tenderloin recipes deliver incredibly moist, fall-apart tender meat with very little hands-on effort.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to seasoning and sauce combinations. Customize it to your taste preferences.

Be sure to use pork tenderloin, not pork loin for the ideal texture, and always cook using a meat thermometer for best results.

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin Recipes

Need more inspiration? Here are some delicious recipes to try:

Brown Sugar Garlic Pork Tenderloin

This recipe transforms basic ingredients into magical flavors. The brown sugar gives a hint of sweetness that perfectly complements the garlic.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup chicken broth

Instructions:

  1. Mix brown sugar, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Rub mixture all over tenderloin.
  2. Place tenderloin in crock pot and add chicken broth.
  3. Cook on low for 3-4 hours until thermometer reads 145°F.
  4. Remove pork, let rest, then slice and serve.

The brown sugar caramelizes and mingles with the garlic-infused meat juices to create an unbelievable flavor combination. This is sure to become a new favorite.

Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin

Sweet apple cider gives this crock pot pork recipe wonderful fall flavor:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp each thyme, sage, salt

Instructions:

  1. Whisk cider, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, oil, herbs, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Place tenderloin in crock pot and pour mixture over top.
  3. Cook on low 3-4 hours until 145°F.
  4. Remove pork, rest, then slice and serve.

The apple cider base tenderizes the meat while providing sweetness to balance the mustard and vinegar. This is perfect for fall and the holidays.

Italian Herb Pork Tenderloin

Italian flavors like basil, oregano, and balsamic shine in this simple recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp each dried basil and oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup chicken broth

Instructions:

  1. Combine vinegar, oil, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Pour over tenderloin in crock pot.
  2. Add chicken broth to pot.
  3. Cook on low 3-4 hours until 145°F.
  4. Remove pork, rest, slice, and serve.

The classic Italian herbs infuse the pork with flavor. Balsamic vinegar provides a tangy note to balance the richness of the olive oil. Bellissimo!

Asian Chili Pork Tenderloin

For an Asian twist, try this sweet, spicy, and savory crock pot recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4 tsp Chinese five spice

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except pork in a bowl. Pour over tenderloin in crock pot.
  2. Cook on low 3-4 hours until 145°F.
  3. Remove pork, rest, slice, and serve.

The blend of soy, hoisin, honey, and chili garlic perfectly balances sweet and heat. Ginger and five spice add aromatic depth. This Asian-glazed pork is sure to satisfy!

Conclusion

Crock pot pork tenderloin is an easy, fool-proof way to put tender, juicy pork on the dinner table with minimal effort.

Now that you know how to choose the right cut of meat, season it boldly, and turn cooking juices into mouthwatering sauces, you can create amazing homemade meals.

Here’s a final recap of tips for crockpot success:

  • Use pork tenderloin, not pork loin
  • Add plenty of herbs, spices, fruit, and aromatics
  • Check temperature early to prevent overcooking
  • Let meat rest before slicing for juiciness
  • Make a flavorful sauce from pan juices
  • Store leftovers properly and freeze for later

The possibilities are endless, so get creative with unique spice rubs, glazes, and injections of flavor.

With your newfound knowledge, you can master delicious and fool-proof crock pot pork tenderloin! Share, like and now get cooking!

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