Cookbook Profile

Brine-cured Pork Tenderloin

Makes 5 to 6 pounds cured meat


Meats cured in a brine of salt and sugar are called demi-sec; they are very easy to make successfully at home. Saltpeter available at pharmacies, preserves the color of the meat; without it, the flesh would turn gray. Pork tenderloin is one of the easiest meats to prepare in this way because it is only about 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter; it takes about a week to be fully cured. Larger cuts of pork, beef or lamb require longer curing because it takes more time for the brine to penetrate them completely. Once the pork is cured, you can use it in a variety of recipes. It is excellent baked with a mustard, maple syrup, and black pepper glaze. Bean ragouts and potato gratins are good accompaniments. One tenderloin provides a generous serving for three people.


8 ounces kosher salt
8 ounces sugar
1 tablespoon saltpeter
1/2 cup whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons allspice berries
4 pork tenderloins,
   about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds each


In a large pot, combine 8 cups spring water with the salt, sugar; and saltpeter, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the peppercorns and allspice, and cool to room temperature.

Rinse the pork in cool running water and dry on a tea towel. Place the loins in a nonreactive container and pour the cooled brine over them. Use a clean plate or a small, clean cutting board to weight the tenderloins; they must be completely submerged in the brine. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator or in a very cool pantry for 1 week. Discard the brine, wrap the pork, and use it within 10 days.


Salt & Pepper
135 Perfectly Seasoned Recipes

By Michele Anna Jordan
Broadway Books
Hardback, $25.00, April 1999
ISBN: 0-7679-0027-8
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


Salt & Pepper



Cookbook Profile Archive

This page created July 1999