A combination of my Brushfire tacos and pork tenderloin carnitas, these jerk pork tenderloin tacos are unbelievably flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Seriously, you’ll never believe lean pork tenderloin could be this juicy with a 40-minute prep time and just 4 grams of fat per serving.
And that’s just the shredded pork! I’ve included a simple recipe for fresh pineapple salsa that takes the flavor over the top.
How to Make the Jerk Pork Tenderloin
I’ll walk you through the recipe below and touch on ingredient notes along the way. You’ll notice I used a pressure cooker, but I’ve included notes for slow cooker prep in the notes section of the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Step 1: Blend red onion, jalapeño, garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, and cider vinegar together.
This simple combo is what you’ll pressure cook the jerk pork tenderloin in. If you have picky eaters in the house like I do, they’ll seriously never know the veggies are in this one!
Spice note: I removed the stems from the jalapeño peppers and tossed them in whole. If you’re spice sensitive, you could remove the seeds before adding to the sauce. Though I’ll say the pork is on the milder side even with the seeds in.
Step 2: Coat two pork tenderloins in olive oil and a salt-free jerk seasoning.
You’ll want to make sure your jerk seasoning is salt free! The recipe calls for a healthy amount of the seasoning so if you go miss that note, you’ll probably end up with some salty pork. I used The Spice Hunter Jamaican Jerk, but you can find other salt free or low sodium seasoning blends.
And if you wanted to make your own, I linked to a Jamaican jerk seasoning recipe from Mike at Chili Pepper Madness in the aforementioned Brushfire tacos that readers loved. This seasoning recipe does call for salt, but you could omit or scale that back for your jerk pork tenderloin.
Step 3: Use the sauté function on a pressure cooker to sear both sides of the jerk pork tenderloins for 2 minutes each.
Now, to the actual cooking. I use a 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi, which has no problem fitting two 1-pound pork tenderloins. If you’re using a smaller pressure cooker, you may need to cut the pork tenderloins in half or scale the recipe down.
This step is straightforward enough. The only tip I’d give is to make sure the pot is hot before adding the pork. It should sizzle if you flick water into the pot.
If you have a good pair of silicone tongs handy, you can hold each pork tenderloin on its side for 10-20 seconds to sear every side of the pork tenderloin. It’s totally okay if you just flip for both sides, though.
Slow cooker note: If you’re using a crockpot, you can replicate this step in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The cook time should be the same here. Just enough to develop a good sear—then into the crockpot it goes.
Step 4: Add the sauce from step 1 and pressure cook on HI for 12-14 minutes.
Be sure to get some of the sauce under each pork tenderloin before sealing to pressure cook. This will prevent any burn error notifications from your Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot.
I give a cook time range because not every pork tenderloin will be the same size, nor will every pressure cooker get to the same temp during the sauté step. If you have short and fat pork tenderloins and don’t develop tons of color in the searing step, you’ll want to go with the higher end of the cook time range. For long and thin tenderloins, the shorter end. You get it.
Step 5: Shred the pork and return to the sauce.
Unlike the crispy carnitas recipe I mentioned above, the remaining sauce won’t need to be reduced. So you can just shred and add back to the sauce. That said, I always try to let meat rest for a few minutes after cooking.
When you do start to shred, you can use forks, meat claws, or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Forks take the longest, but they’re my preferred method. Call me old school.
Once your jerk pork tenderloin is back in the sauce, you’re ready to serve. Warm up some tortillas and get the pineapple salsa ready.
Optional for Ninja Foodi users: broil for 10-12 minutes for crispy edges.
The broil function has to be one of my favorite things about the Ninja Foodi. Like I mention in my Ninja Foodi pulled pork recipe, it creates crispy edges on the pork and adds texture without drying out the meat. And in case you’re wondering, it works for other types of meat as well. Check out my air fryer Greek chicken and veggies for an example.
If you don’t have a Ninja Foodi, you could transfer the pork to a baking sheet and broil in the oven. And there are even some Instant Pot attachments (like the Mealthy) these days that probably come with a broil function.
The Easy Pineapple Salsa Recipe
Luckily, the jerk sauce for the pork tenderloin calls for 3 of the pineapple salsa ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- 1/2 a Pineapple
- 1/4 a Red Onion
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1-2 Jalapeño Peppers
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 1/2-1 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
- 1/2 tsp Jerk Seasoning
Just dice everything up and toss together in a large bowl. You can add a pinch of salt or two if you’d like. If you wanted other options like a pineapple salsa with tomatoes, check out this spicy pineapple habanero salsa or fresh pineapple salsa with roma tomatoes.
You might also like the mango salsa from my chipotle BBQ chicken tacos recipe.
And that should cover it. If you have a recipe question I didn’t cover, leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, enjoy your jerk pork tenderloin tacos!
- 2 Pork Tenderloins (16 oz each)
- 2 Tbsp (32g) Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp Salt-Free Jerk Seasoning
- 1/2 large (180g) Red Onion
- 2 (65g) Jalapeño Peppers, stems removed
- 4 cloves Peeled Garlic
- 2 Tbsp (30g) Lime Juice (about 1 small lime)
- 2 Tbsp (30g) Soy Sauce
- 3 Tbsp (45g) Cider Vinegar
- Add the red onion, jalapeño, garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Place the pork tenderloins in a large bowl and pat dry with a paper towel before coating with the olive oil. Add the jerk seasoning and use a rubber spatula to evenly coat the pork tenderloins.
- Set a pressure cooker's sauté function to HI and let the pot fully heat up before adding the pork tenderloins. Cook for 2 minutes, untouched, before flipping and cooking and additional 2 minutes. Turn off the sauté function.
- Add the jerk sauce from the food processor to the pot in an even layer. Seal and pressure cook on HI for 12-14 minutes with quick release pressure.
- Once the pork is cooked, transfer to a bowl to shred with forks or meat claws. (You can also shred in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.)
- Add the shredded pork back to the sauce in the pot, stirring everything together. (Optional for the Ninja Foodi: Broil for 10-12 minutes for crispy edges.) Serve with pineapple salsa and warm tortillas.
For the Pineapple Salsa
- 1/2 (300g) Pineapple, diced
- 1/4 (90g) Red Onion, diced
- 1 (150g) Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 1-2 Jalapeño Peppers, diced
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 1/2-1 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
- 1/2 tsp Jerk Seasoning
Mix everything together and refrigerate until served.
For Slow Cooker Prep
Sear the pork tenderloins in a large skillet before adding to a crockpot with the jerk sauce. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until the pork reaches 165ºF. You can transfer to a baking sheet to broil in the oven for crispy edges, if desired.
Nutrition Information Notes
- The nutrition facts are for a 3-ounce serving of the jerk pork tenderloin only. Add info from the tortillas and pineapple salsa separately.
- Each 3-ounce serving of the jerk pork tenderloin has 2 WW SmartPoints (blue).
- The entire pineapple salsa recipe has around 260 calories, 4g protein, 60g carbs, and 1g fat.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Servings Serving Size: 3 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 16g