Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin (BEST Pork Tenderloin Recipe)

The Best Pork Tenderloin Recipe is a mix of the best flavors. It starts with the sweet tea pork brine, next is the perfect dry rub for pork, then you cook the pork tenderloin in the oven, and finally sear it at the end. Top it off with a tasty honey bourbon sauce and serve it with Pimento Cheese Grits! 

Best Pork Tenderloin recipe served on pimento cheese grits

Best Pork Tenderloin Recipe (Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin)

This Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin is the BEST pork tenderloin recipe because it has the absolute best combination of flavors!

I love pork tenderloin, so trust me when I say this is the Best Pork Tenderloin recipe. There are a lot of steps, a lot of time, and a lot of different ingredients involved. But it’s all well worth it because it comes together to create the juiciest, most flavorful pork dish!

We begin by submerging the pork in a pot full of a sweet tea pork brine for up to 8 hours (you can set this up in the refrigerator before you leave for work in the morning). Then we move on to the perfect dry rub for pork tenderloin and apply that to the meat. We bake the pork tenderloin in the oven, and then follow it up by searing it in a skillet. Before serving, drizzle on the honey bourbon sauce. I recommend serving it with Pimento Cheese Grits and Molasses Green Beans.

Are you drooling yet? I’m so obsessed with those combination of flavors, and I think it is truly one of the best pork recipes. So juicy and tender!

Follow the Best Pork Tenderloin Recipe to make this amazing Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin with Honey Bourbon Sauce!

Dry rub for pork tenderloin

Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin on a serving platter with pimento cheese grits

Sweet Tea Pork Brine

The sweet tea pork brine is the highlight of the best pork tenderloin recipe. Soaking the pork in a sweet tea based liquid for a few hours gives it the best flavor!

What’s in the pork brine?

  • Sweet Tea
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Bay Leaves
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Fresh Thyme

How to Make Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

Making pork tenderloin in the oven gives it a chance to soak up all the flavors of the sweet tea brine and the dry rub, so it can all just melt through the meat. It comes out so juicy, tender, and delicious!

Here are a few tips:

  • Let the pork tenderloin sit in the sweet tea pork brine for 4-8 hours, in the refrigerator
  • AFTER that, pat the meat dry and apply the dry rub
  • Cook the pork at 275°F for 35-45 minutes
  • After cooking the pork tenderloin in the oven, you will sear them in a skillet over medium-high heat
  • Pork Temperatures: Medium 150-154°, Medium-Well 155-159°. Well-Done 160°
  • The bets pork tenderloin recipe is best served with a honey bourbon sauce along with Pimento Cheese Grits!
  • Check the recipe card for full instructions

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Platter of pork tenderloin, cheese grits, and green beans

Dry Rub for Pork Tenderloin

I made a special dry rub for pork tenderloin and I absolutely love it. You’ll be applying the dry rub AFTER the pork has soaked in the sweet tea brine. This dry rub contains brown sugar, smoke paprika, cumin, garlic & onion powder, chili powder, and salt & pepper.

Honey Bourbon Sauce for Pork

Honey Bourbon is one of my favorite flavor combinations! It’s so sweet and smooth, and it’s the perfect thing to pair with this sweet tea soaked pork. I think this honey bourbon sauce is the perfect way to top off the best pork tenderloin recipe!

How to make Honey Bourbon Sauce:

  1. Combine bourbon, beef broth, bay leaf, thyme, & black pepper, and bring to a boil
  2. Then lower heat & simmer until sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup
  3. Mix cornstarch & cold water, then add to bourbon sauce
  4. Bring to a boil again until it thickens
  5. Then add butter & whisk until smooth

Drizzle (or slather) this delicious honey bourbon sauce over the pork tenderloin before serving!

Roasted pork tenderloin recipe

I know you’ll love this delicious Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin just as much as I do!

See the recipe card for details on how to make the Best Pork Tenderloin Recipe. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this recipe, try these other pork recipes:

5 from 2 votes
Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin
The Best Pork Tenderloin Recipe is a mix of the best flavors. It starts with the sweet tea pork brine, next is the perfect dry rub for pork, then you cook the pork tenderloin in the oven, and finally sear it at the end. Top it off with a tasty honey bourbon sauce and serve it with Pimento Cheese Grits! 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pork, pork tenderloin
Servings: 6
Calories: 1080 kcal
Author: Becky Hardin
For the Sweet Tea Pork Loin:
  • 2 pork tenderloins 1 pound each
  • 2 quarts sweet tea
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup Pork Dry Rub see recipe below
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
For the Pork Dry Rub:
  • ½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
For the Honey Bourbon Sauce:
  • ½ cup honey bourbon
  • 1 cup beef broth unsalted
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • ½ teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon butter unsalted
  • Serve with Pimento Cheese Grits Click for Recipe!
For the dry pork rub:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and keep in an airtight container. When ready to use, sprinkle the meat with a liberal amount of the seasoning and rub it in. Be sure to cover the entire surface. Allow the meat to rest at least 2 hours in the fridge (or overnight). Cook the meat as desired.
For the Honey Bourbon Sauce:
  1. Bring honey bourbon, broth, bay leaf, thyme and black pepper to a full boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is reduced to ½ cup. Taste and season to taste with kosher salt. Mix the cold water and cornstarch and add to the bourbon sauce. Return the sauce to a boil and cook 1-2 more minutes or until mixture has thickened to the consistency of warm syrup. Add butter and whisk until smooth.
For the Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin:
  1. In a large stockpot, combine sweet tea, salt, Worcestershire Sauce, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic cloves and fresh thyme. Stir until salt is dissolved. Submerge the pork tenderloins in the brine and refrigerate 4-8 hours. *Note: If using thicker, larger tenderloins, the pork should be marinated at least 8 hours, but not longer than 24 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, heat oven to 275°F. Spray a metal rack with nonstick cooking spray and set it over a rimmed cooking sheet that has been covered with foil.
  3. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the Pork Dry Rub over the entire surface of both pork loins. Place the pork loins on the rack leaving at least a 2-inch space between them.
  4. Place the pork in the preheated oven, and cook 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F on a meat thermometer.
  5. Remove the pork from the oven; set aside.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter. When the oil shimmers, carefully add the pork, again leaving space between the two loins. (Note: If the skillet is too small, sear one pork loin at a time.)
  7. Sear the pork on all sides, checking the internal temperature often - I find 150° with a 3 minute rest is best. (*See note re: pork temperature guidelines.) Keep in mind the pork will continue cooking about 3 minutes after removing from the heat source.
  8. Once the pork has reached the desired internal temperature, transfer it to a cutting board to rest, about 3-5 minutes.
  9. Slice the pork into ½-¾” medallions.
To serve:
  1. Drizzle with Honey Bourbon Sauce and serve over Pimento Cheese Grits (recipe link in notes)

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

*Note: Here are good guidelines for cooking pork:

  • Medium-Rare: 145°-149°F
  • Medium: 150°-154°F
  • Medium-Well: 155°-159°F
  • Well Done: 160°F

Serve with Pimento Cheese Grits

Nutrition Facts
Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1080 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 48%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 404mg 135%
Sodium 6170mg 257%
Potassium 2674mg 76%
Total Carbohydrates 55g 18%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 49g
Protein 126g 252%
Vitamin A 43.7%
Vitamin C 5.4%
Calcium 10.7%
Iron 46.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Jim Mann
I am going to get together all of the ingredients and attempt to make this with the pimento cheese grits. It looks awesome but also complicated for a rookie like me who is not used to having a lot going on at once in the kitchen. Now all I must do is talk my wife into trying the grits, she has a mental block about a lot of foods. Thank you for an awesome site and fantastic dishes. Jim
    Becky Hardin
    It's involved...but isn't hard. YOU CAN DO IT! I hope you and the wife both love it. The Pimento Cheese Grits were SO GOOD with it!
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