Pork tenderloin is such a versatile cut that I find myself going to it frequently. Depending on the dry rub or marinade that is used, it offers a base for a wide range of cultural adventures.

One of our favorite ways to use it is rubbed with a jerk seasoning and simply grilled. While it can easily be prepared in the oven, it is so easy just to throw it on the grill for the short time it takes. Paired with a flavorful Jamaican-influenced rice or vegetable dish, you may find yourself dreaming of the island.


1 or 2 one-pound pork tenderloins
1/2 – 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning, to suit your taste (recipe follows)


  1. Rub the tenderloin(s) with the jerk seasoning and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  2. Approximately 1/2 hour prior to grilling, remove the tenderloin(s) from the refrigerator and set aside to come to room temperature.
  3. Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Once it is fully heated, place the tenderloin(s) on the grill and grill 5-6 minutes per side, depending upon your grill. You want nice grill marks, but you do not want the tenderloin to brown overall.
  4. The key to grilling pork tenderloin is to evenly cook it on all sides over medium-high heat until the internal temperature is approximately 145 – 150 degrees. We actually prefer ours somewhat on the medium-rare side. If you prefer yours to be more medium well, I suggest starting with 7 minutes on the first side and 6 minutes on the second. This it is a very lean cut of meat and will dry out if overcooked.


1 large red cayenne or Tabasco pepper (Scotch Bonnet if you like it really hot.)
½ small red onion
½ tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼-inch peeled and sliced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon allspice berries, ground
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with the knife blade attachment. Pulse until a thick paste is formed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: If you prefer, use a commercially prepared jerk seasoning. I highly recommend Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning. You should be able to find it in your local market. If not, ask the store manager to order it for you. This is also very good for grilled chicken breasts.

I like to serve this with Jamaican Black Beans and Saffron Rice. It can be served plain or garnished with a fruit salsa (such as Mango and/or Pineapple Salsa. Cherry Salsa is also a nice addition. You can find that recipe on my blog, Dining With Debbie.