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Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin "Ham"


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#PigOutOKC is brought to you by the Oklahoma Pork Council. Twice a month we’ll be delving into restaurants and recipes that bring home the bacon (among other delicious cuts of pork). Experiencing your own pork-fueled adventure? Use the hashtag #PigOutOKC to let the rest of us in on the fun.

Growing up, it was common knowledge in my family that neither of my grandfathers liked poultry. One had chores that included tending to chickens, which were mean to him. The other’s mother used to toss the wet, plucked feathers from the bird into the wood-burning stove, which left an acrid odor he couldn’t shake. 

So holidays were a time for ham with my family. Much to the chagrin of my brother, who hates ham. Why? I don’t know.

That’s why, as we prepared for this year’s Sandwich-mas, I opted for deli turkey, roast beef, and salami for our sandwiches. 

(Personally, I’m a ham stan. I love it. Especially sliced off the bone, because then I can make split pea soup.)

Which is not to say we went pork-free for Christmas. Instead, I found a recipe I was dying to try: homemade “ham” using pork tenderloin. 

Pork tenderloin can be a finicky cut if not cared for correctly. Last time I cooked with one, it was to make these easy air fryer pork tenderloin sandwiches. 

This time around, I made it even easier on myself (and you) because this thing basically cooks itself.

Sous vide “ham” pork tenderloin


Pork tenderloin, silver skin removed

1 ½ Tbsp Morton’s Tender Quick curing salts

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1. Mix the brown sugar with Morton’s Tender Quick and then give that pork tenderloin the kind of rubdown you wish you’d get when you ask your spouse for a backrub. Really work it in there. 

2. Toss it into a Ziplock bag or other equivalent, press out as much air as you can and shove it in the fridge for at least 12 hours. 

3. When you’re ready to cook, get your sous vide water bath going at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

4. Remove tenderloin from bag, rinse with water, then dry the tenderloin as best you can. 

5. Put the tenderloin in a vacuum seal bag, or use the water displacement method with a heavy-duty Ziplock bag or similar, and let it cook in the sous vide bath for three hours minimum.

6. Take the sealed tenderloin, still in the back, and put it in an ice bath for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator for an hour or two.

7. Using an electric knife (I’m lazy) or a very sharp knife, slice the chilled, lightly pink pork tenderloin thinly. Then...eat it.

Most of this is hands-free time. It’s extremely labor un-intensive. And the end product is...yowza. This is some of the juiciest pork you’ll ever eat, which is crazy, because the fat content of pork tenderloin is so low that it can dry out easily if mishandled. Sous vide cooking takes all the guesswork out of it.

The Oklahoma Pork Council represents the interests all of pork producers throughout the state, promoting pork and pork products, funding research and educating consumers and producers about the pork industry. Learn more about the OPC, find recipes and more at OKPork.org.

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.