My Cuban Mojo Pork Tenderloin is a delicious and healthy dish that's packed with bright, citrusy flavor. Cook it in the oven or on the grill for the perfect summer meal!
When it's hot outside, I love simple recipes I can just toss in the oven or on the grill. Some of my favorite summer dishes are my Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, Beef Kofta Kebabs with Tzatziki Sauce, and Grilled Spiced Chicken with Mango Avocado Salsa.
If you’re looking for a nutritious summer recipe that the whole family will love, then this Cuban-inspired Mojo Pork Tenderloin is for you!
I combine fresh orange and lime juice with garlic and spices to infuse the pork with tons of bright flavor. All that fresh citrus juice also tenderizes the meat and adds a hefty dose of Vitamin C!
This Cuban pork tenderloin is easy enough to make on busy weeknights. You just need to marinate it in the fridge overnight. Then, when you're ready to eat, just sear it in a cast iron skillet, toss it in the oven, and dinner is ready!
Why You'll Love This Dish
- Packed with bright, citrusy flavor
- Easy to make
- A healthy, nutritious dish
- Tasty leftovers are perfect for Cuban sandwiches!
What is Cuban Mojo Pork?
Mojo pork is a Cuban dish classically made with pork shoulder. The pork is marinated in a blend of citrus juice, garlic, oregano, and cilantro. It's then slow roasted in the oven for hours until the meat is fall-apart tender.
Mojo pork is succulent and packed with flavor. It's a tasty meal served with some rice and beans or plantains. It's also an essential ingredient in a Cuban sandwich, a culinary staple down here in South Florida.
I like to make my version of Cuban Mojo Pork with pork tenderloin rather than the traditional pork shoulder. Pork tenderloin is a much leaner cut of meat so it's a lot healthier. It also cooks a whole lot quicker, making this a dish that you can enjoy on busy weeknights!
What is Pork Tenderloin vs Pork Loin?
Pork tenderloin is a long, narrow cut of pork with little to no visible fat. It comes from the muscle that runs along the backbone of the animal.
Pork loin, on the other hand, is a larger, wider and thicker cut of pork. It has a sizable fat cap that runs along the top. Pork chops are cut from the pork loin.
Tenderloin is best cooked quickly over fairly high heat. Pork loin, on the other hand, is typically best cooked with slow-roasting or grilling methods.
Tenderloin has a mild flavor that takes well to marinades like the one in this dish. The best way to cook it is to roast it in the oven after a quick sear in a hot pan or simply grill it. You can also slice it and use it in dishes like stir-fry.
- Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of pork. It's a healthier alternative to higher fat cuts of pork like bacon, sausage, pork belly, shoulder or spareribs.
- Pork tenderloin is low in fat and rich in protein. It's also rich in several vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.
- Nutritionally, it’s similar in profile to chicken breast with even fewer calories per ounce.
Mojo Marinade Ingredients:
The basic marinade for Cuban-style pork is mojo, a citrus-based sauce. Mojo typically is made by whisking the juice of sour oranges with garlic, oregano, cumin, cilantro, and olive oil.
Because sour oranges can be hard to find, most recipes call for a combination of orange juice and lime juice.
Here's what I use for my Mojo Marinade:
- Olive oil
- Fresh orange juice
- Fresh lime juice
- Dried oregano
- Red pepper flakes
I use half of the mojo to marinate the pork. I reserve the other half to serve as a sauce on the side. Don't forget to add any pan drippings from the pork to the sauce for extra flavor!
- Step 1- Trim the pork and marinate it. To make the marinade, whisk all the mojo ingredients together in a bowl. Pour about half the marinade into a resealable plastic bag and add the pork. Marinate in the fridge at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Pour the other half of the marinade into a small saucepan to use for the sauce.
- Step 2- Sear the pork on all sides in an oven-safe skillet. I like to use a cast iron skillet. Then, transfer the skillet to the oven and cook 15-18 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork measures 145°F on a meat thermometer. Alternatively, you can cook the tenderloin on an outdoor grill.
- Step 3- Remove pork from the oven and let it rest. Add any pan drippings to the reserved marinade. Simmer on the stove for a few minutes until thickened slightly.
- Step 4- Slice the pork and arrange on a platter. Serve with mojo sauce on the side.
- Because pork tenderloin is so lean, it cooks quickly. That also means it can easily be overcooked. So be sure to keep an eye on it when it’s in the oven or on the grill.
- Invest in a good meat thermometer to avoid overcooked or undercooked meat.
- Don't forget to add any pan drippings to the mojo sauce for an extra punch of flavor!
Invest in a good meat thermometer and never overcook or undercook meat again!
What To Serve With Mojo Pork
You can serve this dish with rice and black beans or fried plantains on the side. It's also delicious with my homemade Mango Salsa.
You can also slice up the pork and use it to make Cuban sandwiches. Layer it on Cuban rolls with ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and yellow mustard. Then, toast it until warm and melty. Yum!
Mojo pork is a delicious dish that has a bright, fresh, slightly tangy flavor that's packed with fresh citrus and garlic.
Mojo sauce is a sauce made with oil, garlic, fresh citrus juice (orange and lime), cilantro, cumin, and oregano. I also like to add some chili flakes for a little heat.
Mojo actually originated in the Canary Islands. However there are many variations of mojo that are popular in Cuba, Puerto Rice, and throughout the Caribbean islands. This dish is a Cuban style mojo pork.
Ideally you should marinate the pork for at least a few hours for maximum flavor. Marinate it at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
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Cuban Mojo Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 ¼ pounds)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- ⅔ cup fresh orange juice
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Trim any fat and silverskin (silver colored connective tissue) from the tenderloin. Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl. Pour about half of the marinade into a one-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork to the bag, close and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Pour the other half of the marinade into a small saucepan to use for the sauce.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large oven-safe skillet (cast iron works well) over medium high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and add it to the pan. Sear the tenderloin in the pan, turning it every couple of minutes, until it’s nicely browned on all sides.
- Place the skillet in the oven and cook about 15-18 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork measures 145°F on a meat thermometer. Alternatively, the tenderloin can be cooked on an outdoor grill. Remove the tenderloin from the oven and let it rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes.
- While the pork is resting, pour any pan drippings into the saucepan with the reserved marinade. Simmer on the stove for a few minutes until thickened slightly. Pour the sauce in a bowl.
- Cut the pork into ½-inch slices and arrange on a platter. Serve the mojo sauce on the side.