Alabama-Style Pork Tenderloin Recipe - Authentic Southern Dish

Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin

Alabama-Style Pork Tenderloin Recipe - Authentic Southern Dish
Region / culture: North America, USA | Preparation time: overnight | Cooking time: 40 minutes | Servings: 4-6


Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin
Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin

Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin is a savory and succulent dish that brings a touch of Southern charm to your dinner table. This recipe combines the tangy sweetness of orange juice with the rich flavors of soy sauce, garlic, and rosemary, creating a marinade that infuses the pork tenderloin with depth and complexity. The addition of lemon juice adds a bright acidity, balancing the flavors and ensuring the pork is not only flavorful but also incredibly tender. Perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion, this dish is sure to impress with its delightful blend of ingredients and straightforward preparation method.


The tradition of marinating and slow-cooking meats has deep roots in Southern cuisine, and the Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin is no exception. This recipe draws inspiration from the rich culinary heritage of Alabama, where pork is a staple ingredient, and cooking methods often involve marinating and slow roasting to achieve maximum flavor and tenderness. The use of citrus in the marinade is a nod to the agricultural bounty of the region, where oranges and lemons are plentiful. Over time, this recipe has evolved, incorporating ingredients like soy sauce and jalapeños, reflecting the diverse influences that have shaped Southern cooking.


How to prepare

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients together and divide in half.
  2. Place half of the marinade in the refrigerator and the other half into a plastic zip bag.
  3. Slice the meat into 1 inch pieces with a chef's knife and place them in the bag.
  4. Turn the bag several times to ensure the meat is coated with the marinade.
  5. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  6. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the meat on both sides.
  7. Drain on paper towels, then place the onion, pepper, and flour into a plastic cooking bag.
  8. Shake thoroughly and arrange the meat in a 9-x-13 inch baking pan; set aside.
  9. Pour the reserved marinade from the refrigerator over the meat and bake at 350°F for 30–40 minutes.
  10. Serve hot and plain or with rice, but cut into pieces with a steak knife or a chef's knife, then transfer to a large plate.


  • For a spicier version, increase the amount of jalapeño or add a dash of hot sauce to the marinade. If you prefer a sweeter dish, consider adding a tablespoon of honey to the marinade.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin turns out perfectly, consider the following tips and tricks:

- Marinate the pork for at least several hours, or ideally overnight, to allow the flavors to fully penetrate the meat.

- Brown the pork on all sides in a skillet before baking to create a delicious crust and seal in the juices.

- Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness; pork tenderloin is best enjoyed when cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), followed by a 3-minute rest.

- Slice the tenderloin against the grain for the most tender eating experience.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin hot, accompanied by a side of fluffy white rice or roasted vegetables. A fresh green salad dressed with a citrus vinaigrette would also complement the flavors of the dish beautifully.

Cooking Techniques

Browning the pork before baking is a crucial step that adds flavor and texture to the dish. Baking at a moderate temperature ensures the pork remains tender and juicy.

Ingredient Substitutions

If soy sauce is not available, tamari or coconut aminos can be used as alternatives. For a gluten-free version, replace all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.

Make Ahead Tips

The pork can be marinated up to 24 hours in advance, allowing the flavors to develop more fully. The dish can also be fully cooked and then reheated, making it a convenient option for meal prep.

Presentation Ideas

Slice the tenderloin and arrange it on a platter garnished with fresh orange slices and rosemary sprigs for an elegant presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

A light-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir, or a crisp white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, pairs beautifully with the flavors of this dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin contains approximately 250 calories. This makes it a suitable option for those looking for a flavorful yet calorie-conscious meal.


The primary source of carbohydrates in this recipe comes from the orange juice and all-purpose flour. A serving of this dish contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates. The natural sugars in the orange juice contribute to the overall carbohydrate content, while the flour used for thickening adds a minimal amount.


This recipe contains a moderate amount of fat, primarily from the vegetable oil used for browning the pork and the natural fats within the pork tenderloin itself. Each serving contains approximately 10 grams of fat, making it a relatively lean option for those monitoring their fat intake.


Pork tenderloin is an excellent source of high-quality protein. A single serving of this dish provides roughly 25 grams of protein, making it a satisfying and muscle-building option for your meal.

Vitamins and minerals

The ingredients in Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin contribute several important vitamins and minerals. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C, while pork is a good source of B vitamins, particularly thiamin and niacin. Additionally, the dish provides minerals such as phosphorus, zinc, and iron.


This recipe contains soy (from the soy sauce) and gluten (from the all-purpose flour). Individuals with allergies or sensitivities to these ingredients should consider suitable substitutions.


Overall, Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin is a balanced dish that offers a good mix of proteins, moderate fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. It's a nutritious option that doesn't compromise on flavor.


Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin is a flavorful and nutritious dish that showcases the best of Southern cooking. With its rich history, simple preparation, and delicious taste, it's a recipe that's sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it. It was unlike anything I had ever tried before - tender pork tenderloin marinated in a savory and slightly spicy Alabama-style sauce. The flavors were bold and comforting, reminiscent of Southern comfort food at its finest. I knew I had to learn how to make it myself.

I first came across the recipe for Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin when I was visiting my friend Mary in Birmingham. She had invited me over for dinner, promising to cook me a meal that would “knock my socks off”. And boy, did she deliver.

As soon as I walked into her kitchen, I was hit with the intoxicating aroma of spices and herbs wafting through the air. Mary was busy marinating the pork tenderloin in a mixture of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and a generous amount of garlic and onion powder. She explained to me that this marinade was the key to achieving that distinct Alabama-style flavor.

As the pork tenderloin sizzled on the grill, Mary told me the story behind the recipe. She had learned it from her grandmother, who had passed it down to her as a family heirloom. The recipe had been handed down through generations, each cook adding their own twist to make it their own.

When the pork tenderloin was finally ready, Mary sliced it into thick, juicy pieces and served it alongside creamy mashed potatoes and buttery cornbread. The combination of flavors was nothing short of heavenly. I savored every bite, savoring the blend of sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy notes that danced on my taste buds.

After that unforgettable meal, I begged Mary to teach me how to make the Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin. She graciously agreed, guiding me through the steps and sharing her tips and tricks for achieving the perfect balance of flavors.

Over the years, I have made the Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin countless times, each time tweaking the recipe slightly to suit my own taste. I have shared it with friends and family, who have all raved about its deliciousness.

One summer, my grandchildren came to visit me at my home in the countryside. They were curious about my cooking and asked if they could help me make dinner one night. I knew immediately what recipe to teach them - the Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin.

As we gathered in the kitchen, I passed down the recipe to my grandchildren just as Mary had done for me. They eagerly listened as I explained the importance of marinating the pork tenderloin overnight to allow the flavors to meld together. They helped me mix the marinade, coating the tenderloin with the fragrant sauce before popping it in the refrigerator to rest.

The next day, we fired up the grill and cooked the pork tenderloin to perfection. My grandchildren watched in awe as the meat caramelized and charred, releasing a mouthwatering aroma that filled the air. When it was finally time to eat, we sat down at the table and dug into the tender, flavorful meat.

As we ate, my grandchildren peppered me with questions about the recipe - where it came from, how I had learned to make it, and why it was so special to me. I shared with them the story of Mary and her grandmother, and how the recipe had become a cherished part of my culinary repertoire.

That night, as we sat around the dinner table, bellies full and hearts warm, I realized the true power of food to connect us to our past and bring us together in the present. The Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin had become more than just a recipe to me - it was a symbol of love, tradition, and the joy of sharing a meal with those we hold dear.

And so, as I continue to cook and pass down the recipe for Alabama-style Pork Tenderloin, I do so with a grateful heart and a deep appreciation for the culinary heritage that has shaped me into the cook I am today. It is a recipe that will always hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of the bonds we create through food and the stories we share around the dinner table.


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