Pork Tenderloin Tacos Heat Up Weeknight Dinners

A three-hour braise is too long for weeknights, but pork isn’t out of the picture. Try this instead.

I crave spicy pork—especially carnitas, or slow-braised pork shoulder, pulled apart, then roasted until crispy at the edges. Rolled into a soft corn tortilla… It’s beyond. While not difficult to make, a three-hour braise is too long for a weeknight dinner, so when a craving hits on a Monday-to-Friday, I pull off a cheat of sorts.

Also delicious, yet ready in 30 minutes: Thin slices of spicy pork tenderloin make a similarly porktacular (yes, I did just say porktacular) tortilla filling. Add your favorite carnitas garnishes. I like the contrast of creamy avocado slices with the crunch and heat of diced jalapeno and red onion. Add crumbled queso fresco (or feta), chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime to finish it all off. Flavor explosion, that’s the goal. Serve with corn or flour tortillas—your choice, just make sure they’re fresh and warm. If you can’t grill the pork tenderloin, a grill pan on the cooktop works well, as does roasting in a hot oven.

Pork Tenderloin Tacos

Serves 3-4


  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 tsp. each minced garlic, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, and coarse salt, mixed together in a small bowl with enough olive oil to make a loose paste
  • warm corn or flour tortillas

Suggested Garnishes:

  • avocado slices
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped red onion
  • chopped jalapeno pepper
  • sour cream (thinned with a bit of cream for drizzling)
  • crumbled queso fresco (or feta) cheese

Directions: Preheat grill. Smear herb paste all over the pork tenderloin. Grill pork over high heat for approximately 10 minutes or until desired doneness. Let pork rest on a cutting board for at least five minutes (keep in mind that the pork will continue to cook a bit more as it sits). Slice thinly and serve in warm tortillas with garnishes. (Note: While pork cooks, prepare garnishes. While it rests, warm tortillas, wrapped in foil, on the still-hot grill for a few minutes.)

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