Crock-Pot® pork tenderloin refers to both a cooking method and a particular cut of meat which are combined to make this dish. While “Crock-Pot®” refers to a certain brand, it is often used as a general term to refer to a slow cooker, and any such cooker can be used. Pork tenderloin is a cut of meat that comes from the back of an animal, which is quite tender due to its placement. Although many different recipes for Crock-Pot® pork tenderloin can be followed, they typically include a variety of spices and vegetables, which are cooked together in liquid for a fairly long period of time.
The type of slow cooker used to make Crock-Pot® pork tenderloin is not necessarily important, though it should have certain features. Slow cookers are typically large pots that are either heated electrically or can be placed into a heating unit, allowing the pot to be easily removed for serving. These devices often have at least two temperature settings, which allow for either low or high heat to be generated in the pot. A Crock-Pot® pork tenderloin typically calls for using the low setting if cooking the meat for seven or eight hours, while the high setting can prepare the dish in about three or four hours.
As the name of the dish indicates, Crock-Pot® pork tenderloin uses a cut of meat known as a “tenderloin.” This cut is often found in most quadruped animals, including beef and lamb tenderloins that all have a similar texture. The placement of this particular cut of meat, along the spine of an animal, means that it is not typically used for walking. This makes it tenderer than many other cuts of meat.
Various recipes for Crock-Pot® pork tenderloin can be found, though most of them have certain ingredients and steps in common. The overall method used is fairly slow cooking in a moist environment, which keeps the meat tender but is not conducive to browning. Many recipes call for the tenderloin to be browned in a pan for several minutes, before the long cooking time.
Salt, pepper, and various spices can be rubbed into the surface of the tenderloin prior to browning, and may also be added to the slow cooker. The meat is then typically placed in the cooker, along with large pieces of vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery, to which is then added a decent amount of liquid. Some recipes for Crock-Pot® pork tenderloin can use water, though others may use vegetable stock to provide additional flavor. Excess liquid after cooking can then be used to make gravy for the tenderloin.