Despite years of wondering if I could — and should — make it on my own, I still turned to the easy packaged version when looking for an instant dinner. Even as a recipe developer, sometimes there are days when I just throw my hands up when it comes to cooking, and that's when old habits die hard. But finally, I decided that I needed to develop my own recipe for this easy and tasty meal.
Teriyaki is a combination of two Japanese words "teri," meaning luster, and "yaki" meaning grill or broil. Teriyaki sauce is what we now know as the marinade used for said grilled meat. There are countless adaptations, but the general consensus is that teriyaki sauce contains soy, mirin (or sake), and fresh ginger. Garlic, brown sugar, honey, pineapple juice, rice vinegar, and sesame oil are also possible additions in various quantities. But for this recipe, I wanted to re-create the teriyaki sauce that I know.
The end result of my creation is a perfect combination of sweet, savory, and salty, and the teriyaki sauce pairs absolutely perfectly with the mild flavors of pork. (I have yet to try it with fish or chicken but now I'm eager to try!) I am so stoked with the fresh, flavorful — and incredibly easy — results of this recipe that I will never go back to the store bought again!
This is a great meal for a busy weekday (you can marinate it in the morning for an absurdly easy dinner), but it's also tasty enough to serve guests if you need to feed a crowd. In the summer, it's great cooked on the grill, but in the winter, just pop it in the oven. Versatile, simple, and tasty — it's my comfort food for a reason!
Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
- I tested with low-sodium soy sauce, and I feel regular soy sauce would be much too salty once the marinade is reduced.
- Some people feel just fine taking pork off around 140° or even lower. The USDA health recommendations say that pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. You can adjust this temperature to your own tastes and comfort level, especially if you know the pork is fresh and from a reliable source.
To cook in the oven, roast in a 425°F oven until the temperature reaches 140°F, about 20 to 25 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)