Hawaiian Pork Tenderloin Marinade

This pork tenderloin marinade post is sponsored by the National Pork Board, but all opinions are my own.

Pork Tenderloin marinated in a sweet and tangy Hawaiian marinade with only 10 minutes of Hands-ON prep!

This marinated pork tenderloin recipe is simple to make, quick to cook (grill or stovetop), tantalizingly juicy and will whisk your taste buds away to the tropics!   It’s ideal for an easy prep-ahead dinner or stress-free entertaining because the marinade literally does all the work, leaving you with melt-in-your-mouth pork and hardly any cleanup!  The pork tenderloin is marinated in an intensely flavorful mixture of pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, Asian sweet chili sauce, ketchup, ginger and garlic, then cooked to succulent, juicy perfection complete with a smoky, caramelized charred crust.  Your family will love this marinated pork tenderloin with coconut rice, grilled corn on the cob and pina colada fruit salad for the ultimate tropical feast.

Pork is always on rotation at our house!  If you love pork, don’t miss these readers’ favorite pork recipes: baked garlic butter herb pork tenderloin, grilled pork tenderloin with chimichurrislow cooker carnitas tacos al pastor and brown sugar pork chops.

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top view of marinated pork tenderloin sliced on a white platter with pineapple, and bell peppers

This post is a guide with detailed instructions, tips, tricks and everything you need to know to make the BEST marinated pork tenderloin! Read on or use the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page to skip directly to the recipe card.

Pork Tenderloin Marinade

There’s nothing better than juicy, meltingly tender marinated pork tenderloin sizzling hot off the grill – except when it’s Hawaiian pork tenderloin!  This pork tenderloin recipe is inspired by my recent trip to Hawaii – my first travel in two years!  I understand most of us aren’t traveling at our normal levels these days, but we can still experience new cultural flavors through the food we eat, like this pork tenderloin!  It’s imbued with sweet, tangy exotic flavors that will transport you to a paradisiacal oasis, all without leaving your own home.  But the magic of this marinated pork tenderloin doesn’t stop there.  Here’s more reasons you’ll love this recipe: 

The marinated pork tenderloin boasts hypnotic flavor.  This pork tenderloin marinade has quickly become a favorite at our house.  It walks the line between barbecue and sweet and sour so it’s not overly sweet or tangy, but hits the balancing bullseye right in the middle, all with a complex ginger, garlic, chili flair. It’s tangy from the pineapple juice and ketchup, sweet from the brown sugar and Asian sweet chili sauce, spicy from the Asian chili sauce, grounded by the soy sauce and punched up with flavor from the rainbow of spices.

The marinade creates a caramelized charred crust enveloping the entire pork tenderloin.  Marinated pork tenderloin is fabulous for grilling or pan searing because the natural sweetness of the pineapple juice and the brown sugar in the marinade caramelize on the grill or in the pan to create a tantalizing burnished, thin, tender-crisp charred crust while the inside remains blush pink tender and juicy.

Pork tenderloin is easy to make and easy to clean!  You may assume succulent pork dripping with flavor might be complicated to make, but this pork tenderloin recipe is deceptively easy to whip up with less than 15 minutes of hands-on prep time.  That means a dinner free of last-minute hassle and stress.  To make, simply whisk the marinade ingredients together, marinate the pork, then grill or sear and pop in the oven for less than 20 minutes.  If you grill the pork, you will literally only have ONE whisk to clean – that’s it!

The marinade is made with pantry friendly ingredients.  This pork tenderloin recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients so you can make it any day of the week.  Just keep some canned pineapple juice stocked and pork tenderloin in your freezer and you’re all set.

Pork tenderloin is perfect for every occasion.  Whether you want an easy yet impressive dinner for guests or an easy yet delicious dinner for a weeknight, this marinated pork tenderloin is the answer. It’s prep-ahead friendly, simple without any fussy fixings and you can grill it while chatting with your family and friends.

Pork Recipes from Around the World

In addition to this pork tenderloin recipe, let the versatility of pork transport your taste buds to other parts of the world to experience unique, delicious cuisines.  Pork is so easy to work with and takes well to a wide variety of spices, seasonings, and flavor profiles. Here are just a few of my favorite pork recipes celebrating global flavors:

Visit pork.org for more pork cooking ideas and inspiration!

15 minute prep Fall-Off-the-Bone Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs that everyone goes crazy for! They are slathered in the most incredible rub and barbecue sauce for amazing restaurant flavor. My husband says they are better and more tender than any restaurant!
these are the BEST Pork Carnitas (Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork) I have ever tried! Super juicy, easy and so much more flavorful than other versions I've tried and the crispy burnt ends are the best! Great for large crowds and for tacos, burritos, or nachos!
up close top view of best baked pork tenderloin
up close showing how to serve pork medallion recipe by serving over mashed potatoes garnished with parsley
up close top view of al pastor pork on a corn tortilla with grilled pineapple, pico de gallo and avocado on a white board

WHAT IS PORK TENDERLOIN?

Are you a pork tenderloin fan?  I have to admit I make chicken far more than pork tenderloin – but I love pork tenderloin far more than chicken!  So, if you aren’t familiar with pork tenderloin, let’s get familiar because there are so many reasons to make and love succulent pork tenderloin!

Pork tenderloin is a mild, lean and tender cut that comes from the full pork loin of the pig and typically weighs around ¾ to 1½ pounds.  It is just as lean as skinless chicken breasts but is still incredibly tender and juicy when not overcooked. But don’t worry, it’s super easy to cook, relatively quick to cook and I love that the leftovers don’t dry out! The trick is using a digital meat thermometer and cooking to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.  Pork tenderloin can be grilled or baked whole (like in this recipe), cut into slices and pounded into cutlets, cut into cubes for kebabs or stir fries or cut into slices for ramen or sweet and hot and sour soup. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PORK LOIN roast AND PORK TENDERLOIN?

Before you make this marinated pork tenderloin, it’s important you purchase pork tenderloin and NOT pork loin roast (“pork loin”) – they are not the same.  You cannot use pork tenderloin and pork loin interchangeably. Here’s what set’s pork tenderloin and pork loin roast apart:   

  • NAMES
    • Pork tenderloin: sometimes referred to as pork fillet or Gentleman’s Cut.
    • Pork loin roast:  sometimes referred to as pork loin, center cut pork roast, New York pork roast, top loin pork roast, ribeye roast.
  • CUT OF MEAT:
    • Pork tenderloin: comes from the loin of the pig, which runs from the hip to the shoulder.  Pork tenderloin creates pork medallions when sliced.
    • Pork loin: also comes from the loin of a pig but is much wider and longer.  Pork loin makes a succulent roast or can be cut into slices.
  • SIZE:
    • Pork tenderloin: is long, slender and weighs ¾ to 1½ pounds.
    • Pork loin roast: is a larger, wider cut and can weigh anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds.
  • TEXTURE:
    • Pork tenderloin: gets its name for a reason – it is one of the most tender cuts of pork because it comes from a muscle that doesn’t receives much, if any, exercise.
    • Pork loin: is also tender but needs to be cooked for longer due to its size and to break down some of the muscle.  
  • COOKING METHOD:
    • Pork tenderloin : takes well to rubs and marinades.  It cooks quite quickly at higher temperatures in the oven or on the grill, anywhere from 350 degrees to 425 degrees F, with a 3 minute rest to let the juices settle.  
    • Pork loin: is best roasted in the oven at 350 degrees F or grilled over moderate heat until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees F and then allowed to rest for 3 minutes.

how to purchase PORK TENDERLOIN

  • Pork tenderloin is commonly sold in twos.  Pork tenderloin can be sold as individual tenderloins but is more commonly sold in individual packages with two tenderloins per package.  Most roasted or grilled pork tenderloin recipes will use both of these pork tenderloins in the recipe.  Each tenderloin weighs roughly ¾ to 1½ pounds, so if you’re not sure if your package contains one or two tenderloins, just look at the weight. 
  • Purchase pork tenderloin that is NOT packaged in a rub or marinade.  We are going to marinate the pork tenderloin ourselves, so you want to start with a blank canvas so we can control the flavor.
  • Purchase pork tenderloin in the meat section of your grocery store.  I usually purchase my 2 pack of pork tenderloin at Costco which costs about $15 per package, a fabulous price to feed the entire family a restaurant worthy dinner.
  • The sooner you cook your newly purchased pork tenderloin, the fresher it will be. Uncooked pork tenderloin will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator, but the sooner you use it, the better.  If storing longer than three days, transfer the pork tenderloin to the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours before using. 
sliced marinated pork tenderloin on a white plate served with rice and grilled vegetables

DO I NEED TO REMOVE THE SILVERSKIN BEFORE COOKING?

The silverskin is part of a sinew on one side of the pork tenderloin and looks like thin, silvery fat.  Some packages of pork tenderloin will come pre-trimmed and ready to go, but most likely you will need to trim it yourself before cooking.  You technically can leave the silverskin on (it’s edible), but it can become tough and chewy when cooked.  

To remove the silverskin, slip a sharp knife in between the silverskin and the meat to create a “tab.” Angle the knife so the blade is facing toward the silver skin way from the meat.  Hold the tab taught while you cut the silverskin with a sawing motion until it’s cut free.

pork tenderloin MARINADE ingredients

This Hawaiian pork tenderloin marinade is made with simple, pantry friendly ingredients – you probably have most of the ingredients right now!  You will need:

  • Pineapple juice:  adds multidimensional fruity sweetness.  I keep a pack of the small 6 oz. cans stocked in my pantry; they can be found with the other juices at your grocery store.  You can also use drained pineapple juice from a can of pineapple.  

Expert Tip

Please DO NOT USE fresh pineapple juice as it contains the enzyme bromelain which will leave your pork tenderloin mushy.  In CANNED pineapple, however, much of the bromelain is extracted so the juice will infuse your pork with flavor without becoming mushy. 

  • Soy sauce:  use reduced sodium soy sauce so your pork isn’t too salty.
  • Brown sugar: use brown sugar for its molasses notes as opposed to granulated sugar. You you may substitute with granulated sugar or honey if you’re in a bind, but expect a slightly different, less rich flavor profile. 
  • Ketchup:  helps create the pineapple barbecue sauce flavor.   Look for organic ketchup or one that isn’t sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup if possible.
  • Asian sweet chili sauce:  this is my non-traditional addition to this Hawaiian marinade and it is phenomenal. Asian sweet chili sauce is sweet and spicy from a combination of red chilies, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce.  Basically, it’s a whole lot of flavor in one bottle – and now a whole lot of flavor in your pork tenderloin!  It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.
  • Asian chili sauce:  adds a touch of heat and rounds out the flavors – it will NOT make your marinated pork tenderloin taste spicy.  Of course, you can add more chili sauce if you want spicy chicken.
  • Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Seasonings:  ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper amps up the flavor.

Recipe Variations

You can mix up the flavor profile to make the Hawaiian pork tenderloin perfect for YOU.

  • Make it sweeter by adding additional brown sugar.
  • Make it spicier by adding additional chili sauce.
  • Make it tangier by adding additional ketchup or a few splashes of apple cider or red wine vinegar.
  • Mix up the seasonings or make it more garlic forward with additional garlic or more ginger forward with additional ginger.
up close of sliced marinated pork on a white platter

how does the marinade work?

The dynamite pork tenderloin marinade accomplishes three things:  1) tenderizes the pork, 2) infuses the pork with flavor and 3) chemically changes its structure so it retains juices and actually becomes juicier.   I’ve outlined how the ingredients below adeptly accomplish this:

  • Pineapple juice:  tenderizes the pork by breaking down the tough connective tissue. It also infuses the pork with sweet, fruity flavor.
  • Soy sauce:  enzymatically breaks down the proteins to further tenderize while also adding a rich depth of grounding flavor.
  • Seasonings:  penetrates the pork inside and out and so it’s flavorful through and through.
  • Oil:  is crucial as it spreads the oil-soluble flavors more evenly across the pork and also promotes even browning when cooking.

HOW LONG DO YOU MARINATE pork tenderloin?

This pork tenderloin should be marinated for at least 4 hours, but 12 hours is best.  Plan on prepping the pork in the morning then all you have to do is cook it up at dinnertime. 

Can you marinate pork tenderloin too long?

According to Foodsafety.gov, marinated pork can be stored safely in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, but you will need to take a closer look at what ingredients are used in the marinade.  If the pork tenderloin marinade contains acid such as vinegar, fruit or citrus juice, take care not to over-marinate or the pork can become mushy.  Pork tenderloin should only be marinated up to 12 hours in acidic marinades.

How long can you marinate pork or chicken in pineapple juice?

The marinating time depends on if you are using fresh or canned pineapple juice.  Fresh and canned pineapple juice contain different levels of bromelain, digestive enzymes, which tenderize and soften the tissues in the meat.

  • If you use fresh pineapple juice, you will only want to marinate chicken or pork for 1-2 hours or else the bromelain can soften the protein too much, making it mushy.
  • Canned pineapple juice still contains bromelain but significantly less because some of it is lost in the canning process so you can marinate meat for longer without it becoming mushy. Marinate pork tenderloin for up to 12 hours, chicken breasts for up to 12 hours and bone-in chicken thighs for up to 24 hours.

pork tenderloin MARINADE TIPS

The pork tenderloin marinade is SO easy – just whisk the ingredients together! – but here are some tips and tricks when it comes to marinating your pork to maintain sanitary conditions and food safety:

  • What container is best for marinating pork? The easiest, least messy and most effective container for marinating pork tenderloin is a re-sealable, freezer-size, food-safe plastic bag.  You can whisk up the marinade directly in the bag (only one whisk to clean!), then add the pork and squeeze out excess air.  Using a plastic bag allows you to mold and fold the bag around the pork, so the marinade completely surrounds the meat. This promotes an even marinade and maximum penetration from all sides.  Lastly, when marinating pork tenderloin in a plastic bag, make sure to set the sealed bag in a dish, just in case leaks occur.  Now, all you have to do is throw the bag away when you’re done!
  • What other containers can I use? You may also use food grade plastic or glass containers covered in plastic wrap.  Do NOT marinate in a metal container since the acidic marinade can react with the metal.  For pork tenderloin, it may be difficult to find the correct size container that will fully submerge the pork in the marinade (another reason to use resealable bags!). Look for a long narrow container (maybe a bread pan?), otherwise, you’ll want to turn the meat occasionally while marinating in the fridge, so all sides are coated evenly.
  • Where should I marinate the pork tenderloin? Always marinate pork in the refrigerator (at or below 40°F), never on the counter or outdoors when grilling because bacteria can quickly multiply on raw meat if it is warm.  The only time marinating meat should be left the counter is when coming to room temperature before cooking. When marinating the pork tenderloin, place it on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator so it can’t contaminate other foods in the case of accidental spills.
  • Can I reuse the marinade?  Never reuse marinade that has come in contact with raw pork without boiling it first for at least 5 minutes to destroy any harmful bacteria. Food borne bacteria dies at 165 degrees F.  Instead of boiling and reusing marinade, however, I suggest separating out some of the marinade before it ever comes in contact with the raw meat.  In this recipe, we are going to reserves ⅓ cup of the marinade to slather over the slices of pork after its cooked.

 HOW TO MAKE marinated pork tenderloin

This Hawaiian pork tenderloin delivers a dynamic punch of flavor with minimal effort!  Are you ready to see just how easy it is to make? Here’s how:

  • Whisk marinade ingredients together.  Whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, Asian sweet chili sauce, Asian chili sauce and spices together in a large, resealable freezer bag.
  • Reserve some marinade for the sauce. Remove ⅓ cup marinade and store it in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator or cover the measuring cup with foil.  
  • Trim the pork tenderloin.  To remove the silverskin, slip a sharp knife in between the silver skin and the meat then cut it away until free. You will also want to trim any excess fat as this can also be chewy and cause flare ups.
showing how to remove the silverskin from pork tenderloin by trimming it with a sharp knife
  • Marinate pork tenderloin.  Add two pork tenderloins to the marinade, squeeze out excess air from the bag, seal and turn to coat. Marinate 4-12 hours in the refrigerator.
a collage showing how to make pork tenderloin marinade by adding marinade ingredients to a freezer bag and then adding the pork
  • Cook Hawaiian pork.  You can cook the marinated pork tenderloin on the grill (recommended) or sear on the stove and finish roasting in the oven.  I have included instructions for each method below.
showing how to make marinated pork tenderloin by grilling pork on a hot grill
  • Let pork rest.  Transfer the cooked pork to a clean cutting board and let rest for 3 minutes before slicing.  The resting time will allow the juices to redistribute for optimal flavor.
  • Slice and slather the pork.  Slice the pork tenderloin crosswise into ½-inch thick pieces.  Brush the slices all over with the reserved sauce that never came in contact with the raw meat. Garnish with green onions and serve!
top view of marinated pork tenderloin sliced on a white platter with

HOW TO GRILL PORK TENDERLOIN

Grilled pork tenderloin is very easy to cook and boast an exquisite caramelized crust. Here is how to grill pork tenderloin perfectly every time:

  • Heat grill.  Heat the grill so it is 400 degrees F with the lid closed.  Don’t add the pork tenderloin until the grill reaches temperature or it won’t sear as beautifully.
  • Clean grill. Once the grill is fully heated, clean it thoroughly with a wire grill brush.  A clean grill ensures direct contact with the heat to create a beautiful sear and grill marks and also helps prevent sticking. 
  • Grease grill.  Generously grease the CLEAN grill by making a wad of paper towels, drenching them in vegetable oil, then use tongs to rub them along the grill grates. NEVER spray a firing grill with cooking spray.
  • Grill pork tenderloin.   Let the marinade drip off of the pork (but do not rub off), then add the tenderloins to the hot grill and cover.  Grill for 3-5 minutes per all 4 sides or until a meat thermometer registers 145-degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin.

how to Oven Roast Pork Tenderloin

Cooking marinated pork tenderloin in the oven is an easy, delicious alternative when you don’t have an outdoor grill or in dubious weather.  Here’s how: 

  • Prep.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. 
  • Sear.  Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is very hot and just smoking, add the two pork tenderloins. You may need to work in batches. Sear each side of the pork until golden, then transfer to the foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake.  Bake at 400 degrees F until pork registers 145 degrees at the thickest part of the tenderloin, 15-20 minutes depending on thickness.

PORK tenderloin TEMPerature 

Whole muscle pork (as opposed to ground pork) is perfectly cooked through, juicy, and safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145⁰F and allowed to rest for 3 minutes – this is the sweet spot for the juiciest pork.  This means the pork tenderloin will be slightly pink inside, which is OKAY.  It is a misconception that pork must be cooked until juices run clear and the meat is white. You can read more about pork cooking temperature here.

How to check the temperature of pork tenderloin

There are many variables when cooking pork tenderloin such as its thickness, the pork’s starting temperature, temperature of the grill and desired doneness/internal temperature etc. which will all impact the time it takes to cook your pork tenderloin. To eliminate the guesswork and guarantee perfectly cooked, juicy pork every time, invest in an instant read meat thermometer. 

You can pick up an inexpensive instant read thermometer at the grocery store or Amazon, but a digital meat thermometer is the most accurate.  I am obsessed with this digital probe thermometer – you will never overcook any protein again!  It retrieves temperature precisely to within ±1.8°f (±1°c) and you leave the probes in the pork while it cooks, whether on the grill, stove, or oven.  The digital thermometer allows you to set the desired temperature and an alarm will set as soon as it reaches the set temperature.

When checking the temperature of pork tenderloin, insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat while the pork is still on the grill or immediately after removing it. Let the pork rest for 3 minutes for juices to properly distribute for maximum flavor.  You can see more about how to use a meat thermometer here. 

HOW DO I SLICE pork tenderloin?

There are three rules for slicing pork tenderloin:

  1. Slice the pork tenderloin after it has rested for 3 minutes so it has time to reabsorb the juices that have pushed to the outsides.
  2. Use a sharp, smooth knife, not serrated.  Sharpen the knife just before slicing to create the cleanest cuts.  
  3. Slice the pork against the grain into slices.  Pork tenderloin has muscle fibers that that you can see running through the pork in one direction – this is called “the grain.”  It is important to slice across the grain (meaning the opposite direction/perpendicular to the grain) in order to shorten the fibers.  This will ensure your pork is melt-in-your mouth tender instead of chewy.  You can slice the pork super thinly for sandwiches or up to ½” slices for medallions.
top view of marinated pork tenderloin sliced on a white plate

TIPS AND TRICKS for marinated pork tenderloin

  • Use canned pineapple juice. Fresh pineapple contains more bromelain which can leave your pork mushy if marinated for more than 2 hours. I suggest using canned pineapple juice so you can marinate the pork tenderloin for longer without it becoming mushy, which will make the pork more flavorful.
  • Bring pork tenderloin to room temperature before cooking.  Let the pork sit at room temperature on the counter for 20-30 minutes before cooking.  This allows the pork to cook more quickly and evenly.  Bringing the pork to room temperature also relaxes the cold muscle fibers so they release natural moisture which is then reabsorbed into the muscle for juicier results (otherwise the moisture stays trapped in the fibers).
  • Use a high smoking point oil to grease the grill or sear the pork. Do NOT use olive oil because it has a lower smoking point which means it will not only smoke you out but can adversely impact its flavor and produce low levels of harmful compounds due to the high antioxidant content in the oil.  Instead, use a neutral, high smoking point oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil.
  • Grease the grill very well so the pork doesn’t stick.   The sweetness of the pineapple juice and the sugar in the marinade create a beautiful caramelized pork tenderloin, but it also means the pork is more prone to sticking.  You will need a clean, very well-greased, hot grill in order to achieve the beautiful sear without sticking. Grease the grill generously just when you’re ready to add the pork. Don’t grease it any earlier, or its lubricant properties won’t be as affective.
  • Grill with the lid closed.  The grill needs to achieve an oven-like environment in which the pork is cooked from all sides because it’s so thick, so take care to immediately close the lid in between rotating the pork.
  • Grill the pork on all sides.  Due to the sugars in the marinade, it is important to grill the pork on all four sides instead of just 2 sides, otherwise it will become too charred.  If you are having trouble grilling on one of the thinner sides, prop it up with a piece of crumbled foil.
  • Flip the pork only using tongs.  After you add the pork tenderloins to the grill, don’t attempt to flip or move them before 3 minutes. You need enough time for the pork to sear and then it will naturally release from the grill. Once you can easily move the pork, then you can flip it over using tongs. Don’t use a fork or you’ll lose valuable juicy juices. 
  • Use a meat thermometer.   Pork tenderloin can be easy to overcook, so it is important to use a meat thermometer to achieve the correct temperature.  The outside may be brown but the inside can still be undercooked.  Thermometers are a small investment and come in handy ALL the time and eliminate all of the guess-work
  • Don’t overcook marinated pork tenderloin.  The juiciest pork tenderloin is a perfectly cooked pork tenderloin!  Cook pork just to 145⁰F with a 3-minute rest.  If you overcook your pork tenderloin, it will transform from fork tender to dry and chewy.  If the pork starts to char too much before it is done, turn the heat down.
  • Test individual pork tenderloins for doneness.  Pork tenderloins are often different thickness, which means they can be done at different cooking times. This means you’ll need to check the temperature of each tenderloin and remove them from heat as they finish cooking.
  • Rest pork tenderloin before slicing. Let the pork tenderloin rest for 3 minutes before slicing.  While the pork cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole tenderloin for optimal flavor and juiciness.  If you don’t allow for this calming period, valuable moisture-giving juices will seep out and be lost.
  • Don’t skip the sauce.  After you slice the pork, don’t skip brushing the sauce all over the slices.  This really amplifies the Hawaiian flavor!

WHAT SIDES DO I SERVE WITH this marinated pork tenderloin?

My favorite sides to serve with Hawaiian pork tenderloin are grilled pineapple, coconut rice and grilled veggies, but it is tasty with a myriad of options. Here are some more to choose from:

top view of coconut rice in a stainless steel skillet
up close of two servings spoons scooping up mango salsa recipe
top view showing how to make Asian Ramen Noodle Salad by tossing the ingredients together with the dressing in a white bowl
Strawberry Melon Fruit Salad with Creamy Citrus Glaze - I took this to a barbecue and it was gone in minutes! Its so cool and refreshing withe the BEST GLAZE and I love the combo of melons, strawberries, bananas, apples and grapes!
Top view of Creamy Pasta Salad with Peas and Bacon with a wood serving spoon
top view of easy Pina Colada Fruit Salad with pineapple, coconut, mandarin oranges, strawberries and blueberries in a white bowl

Fun ways to SERVE pork tenderloin

This Hawaiian pork tenderloin doesn’t just have to be served over rice!  Here are a few fun ideas to mix it up:

  • Kabobs:  instead of grilling the pork whole, chop it into chunks and skewer along with pineapple, bell peppers and onions. 
  • Wraps:  serve thinly sliced pork tenderloin in a flatbread with chopped pineapple, lettuce, veggies and any desired toppings.
  • Lettuce wraps:  go low carb and load bib lettuce leaves with Hawaiian pork and veggies and top with avocado crema. 
  • Tacos:  add chopped pork tenderloin to a charred tortilla along with black beans and desired toppings such as lettuce, cilantro, guacamole, and a tropical salsa such mango salsa, or pineapple salsa. 
  • Grain Bowls:  add your favorite grains to a bowl and pile with Hawaiian pork, grilled pineapple and your favorite veggies.  The veggies can be cooked or raw such as roasted sweet potatoes, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, pickled red onions, etc. Top with Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Salad: pick your favorite greens and load with chopped pork tenderloin and your favorite veggies such as sweet grilled corn and peppers.  Throw in some cashews or macadamia nuts for crunch and pineapple for sweetness. You can also swap the teriyaki chicken in this salad for Hawaiian pork with mesmerizing pineapple vinaigrette.
  • Stir fry: chop the pork before you marinate it, then stir fry in a hot skillet; remove the pork once cooked then stir fry veggies. Combine everything together along with some of the reserved sauce and serve over rice or spaghetti squash.
  • Sandwiches: in addition to famous Cubanos and Monte Cristo Sandwiches, you can make your own creations by layering Hawaiian rolls with thinly sliced pork and any of your favorite toppings such as pineapple, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, guacamole, bacon, etc.
  • Quesadillas: sandwich pork, Monterrey Jack Cheese, black beans and cilantro in between two flour tortillas and toast in a skillet to golden, cheesy perfection. Serve with pineapple salsa or mango salsa, pico de gallo, avocado cremaor sour cream. 

CAN I MAKE this recipe AHEAD OF TIME?

Pork tenderloin is best served fresh, hot off the grill or oven, but you can still reheat leftovers with juicy success. Alternatively, you can store a container of cooked, sliced pork in the fridge ready to warm up or serve cold on a salad, sandwich, wraps etc.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT

  • Storage: cooked pork tenderloin can stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days but should be frozen beyond that.
  • How to reheat in the microwave:  reheat slices on a microwave safe plate for 60 seconds then at 20 second intervals just until warmed through.
  • How to reheat in a skillet:  heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add sliced pork and heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.

HOW TO FREEZE pork tenderloin

You can freeze the uncooked marinating pork tenderloin or cooked pork tenderloin:

  • To freeze pork tenderloin in the marinade:  add the pork tenderloin to the marinade in a sealable plastic bag, squeeze out excess air and immediately transfer to the freezer.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  When you’re ready to use, the pork will marinate as you thaw the pork in the refrigerator.  After it’s thawed, don’t let it marinate for longer than 12 hours.
  • To freeze the cooked pork tenderloin: let the pork tenderloin cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.

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up close of pork tenderloin marinated showing how juicy it is
top view of marinated pork tenderloin sliced on a white platter with pineapple, and bell peppers

Hawaiian Marinated Pork Tenderloin

This marinated pork tenderloin recipe is simple to make, quick to cook (grill or stovetop), tantalizingly juicy and will whisk your taste buds away to the tropics!   It’s ideal for an easy prep-ahead dinner or stress-free entertaining because the marinade literally does all the work, leaving you with melt-in-your-mouth pork and hardly any cleanup!  The pork tenderloin is marinated in an intensely flavorful mixture of pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, Asian sweet chili sauce, ketchup, ginger and garlic, then grilled to succulent, juicy perfection complete with a smoky, caramelized charred crust.  Your family will love this marinated pork tenderloin with coconut rice, grilled corn on the cob and pina colada fruit salad for the ultimate tropical feast.
Servings: 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

Pork

  • 1 pkg. pork tenderloins, trimmed (pkg. comes with 2 pieces, 2 – 2 ½ lbs. total)
  • high smoking point oil: vegetable, canola, grapeseed, etc.

Marinade/Sauce

Instructions

  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a resealable freezer bag. Remove ⅓ cup to use as a sauce after cooking. Add pork tenderloins, remove excess air, seal and turn to coat. Marinate 4-12 hours in the refrigerator; refrigerate the sauce separately.

TO GRILL

  • When ready to grill, let pork sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Heat grill to 400 degrees F when the lid is closed. Clean grates with a wire grill brush and generously grease with a high smoking point oil.
  • Let marinade drip off of pork (do not rub off), then add the pork to the hot grill and cover. Grill for 3-5 minutes on all 4 sides or until an instant meat thermometer registers 145-degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin.
  • Transfer pork tenderloins to a cutting board. Let pork rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing. Brush slices with reserved sauce (that never touched the raw pork). Garnish with green onions if desired and season with freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste.

TO OVEN ROAST

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup and spray with cooking spray.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is very hot and just smoking, add the two pork tenderloins. You may need to work in batches. Sear each side of the pork until golden, then transfer to the foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F until pork registers 145 degrees at the thickest part of the tenderloin, 15-20 minutes depending on thickness.
  • Transfer pork tenderloins to a cutting board. Let pork rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing. Brush slices with reserved sauce (that never touched the raw pork). Garnish with green onions if desired and season with freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

  • *Use canned pineapple juice. Fresh pineapple contains more bromelain which can leave your pork mushy if marinated for more than 2 hours. I suggest using canned pineapple juice so you can marinate the pork tenderloin for longer without it becoming mushy, which will make the pork more flavorful.
  • Grease the grill very well so the pork doesn’t stick.   The sweetness of the pineapple juice and the sugar in the marinade create a beautiful caramelized pork tenderloin, but it also means the pork is more prone to sticking.  You will need a clean, very well-greased, hot grill in order to achieve the beautiful sear without sticking.
  • Grill the pork on all sides.  Due to the sugars in the marinade, it is important to grill the pork on all four sides instead of just 2 sides, otherwise it will become too charred.  If you are having trouble grilling on one of the thinner sides, prop it up with a piece of crumbled foil.
  • Use a meat thermometer.  The juiciest pork tenderloin is a not overcooked pork tenderloin! You can pick up an inexpensive instant read thermometer at the grocery store or Amazon, but a digital meat thermometer is the most accurate.  I am obsessed with this digital probe thermometer – you will never overcook any protein again! 
  • Test individual pork tenderloins for doneness.  Pork tenderloins are often different thickness, which means they can be done at different cooking times. This means you’ll need to check the temperature of each tenderloin and remove them from heat as they finish cooking.
  • Don’t skip the sauce.  After you slice the pork, don’t skip brushing the sauce all over the slices.  This really amplifies the Hawaiian flavor!

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT

  • Storage: cooked pork tenderloin can stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days but should be frozen beyond that.
  • To freeze: let the pork tenderloin cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
  • To reheat in the microwave:  reheat slices on a microwave safe plate for 60 seconds then at 20 second intervals just until warmed through.
  • To reheat in a skillet:  heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add sliced pork and heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
 

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8 Comments

  1. Bruce Kohler says

    Making this today, for our cookout. looks very promising! Thank you.

    BTW, every note in your Notes section is repeated, forcing the printed recipe to use to an additional sheet of paper.

    • Jen says

      I hope you love it Bruce! As far as printing, I include a summary of the info in the notes so people can have it as a reference when they print the recipe out. You can eliminate the second page by selecting “print current page” or tell your printer to print 1 page.

  2. KC says

    Hi Jen – Bruce was pointing out that there are redundant bullets in the Notes section. Looks like a copy/paste error. Also, in the ingredients list, I believe you meant to write “1/3 *cup* packed brown sugar”

    • Jen says

      I see now, thank you both – corrected!

  3. Susan says

    Excellent! This will be a regular in my dinner rotation. Thank you!

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thank you so much Susan!

  4. Holly says

    A new family favorite! This was so good and so quick and easy to put together.

    • Jen says

      I’m so happy to hear this recipe was such a hit, thank you Holly!

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