With its tenderness, minimal fat and neutral flavor, pork tenderloin is as versatile and healthy as a chicken breast. You can grill it, roast it or do a pan saute, but it doesn't get much simpler than cooking pork tenderloin in a slow cooker with a flavorful sauce. The low and slow cooking maximizes the pork tenderloin's tender texture. While there is an infinite number of sauces you can flavor the tenderloin with, the sweet and slightly tangy flavors of a honey and Dijon mustard sauce especially complement pork tenderloin.
Trim any excess fat from your pork tenderloin, if necessary. Pork tenderloin typically does not have a lot of fat, so you should not have a lot to remove.
Remove the silvery white connective tissue known as silverskin from the pork tenderloin with a boning knife. Position the knife at one end of the silverskin and slide the knife just underneath it. The knife should be angled slightly upwards as you slide down the tenderloin, using a gentle sawing motion to disconnect the tissue from tenderloin. Lift the silverskin away from the tenderloin with your free hand as you slice.
Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. You can also add additional seasonings such as garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper.
Place the pork tenderloin inside of your slow cooker. For more flavor, you can cut up an onion and add it to the slow cooker as well.
Combine Dijon mustard, honey and apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl to create a honey Dijon sauce. For a 1- to 2-pound tenderloin, use four parts mustard to two parts honey and one part vinegar. You can also add additional seasonings or fresh herbs to the sauce to your taste, such as minced garlic, thyme and rosemary.
Pour the mixture over the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker. Cover it with the lid and set the slow cooker to low for six to eight hours. The tenderloin should be very tender when it's done and have a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for safe consumption. Slow cookers typically cook meat well beyond the minimum temperature, but check with a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the tenderloin to be sure.
Remove the tenderloin from the slow cooker and let it rest for about five minutes before slicing it into 1-inch thick medallions.
- Fine Cooking: Knife Skills: Trim a Tenderloin
- The Big Book of Slow Cooker Recipes; Rachel Rappaport
- 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes; Suzanne Bonet
- Food 52: Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
- If you need the pork tenderloin done a little faster, put the slow cooker on the high setting and cook for three to four hours. Use the meat thermometer to make sure it is fully cooked to at least 145 F.
- Pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a saucepan and bring it to a boil on the stove. Reduce it to a simmer and add a teaspoon of cornstarch to slightly thicken the sauce. Pour the sauce over the pork tenderloin slices when serving.
- Pork tenderloin cooked low and slow is typically very tender. You can opt to shred the meat using forks, rather than slicing it, to make pulled pork sandwiches.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.