Brown Sugar Pork Loin


Looking for a versatile main dish for dinner tonight? Last minute company coming over?

Ready in under 35 minutes, this sweet and spicy pork loin makes an impressive main course equally suitable for a weeknight dinner or special occasion.

The smoky flavor of cumin and the spicy bite of black pepper, chili powder and Tabasco is tempered by the sweet smooth garlicky sauce that caramelizes over the meat during roasting.

Whole pork loin is our family’s favorite way to use this recipe, but the spice rub and sauce work equally well with pork loin chops or boneless chicken breast.


2-3 lbs fresh pork tenderloin
2 Tblsp olive oil

Spice Rub:
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tblsp minced garlic
1 Tblsp Tabasco (reduce amount if less heat is desired)


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, stir together all spice rub ingredients. Coat pork tenderloin thoroughly.

Heat oil in an ovenproof heavy skillet or dutch oven (*see note) over medium high heat until oil is hot and rippling.

Brown tenderloin, turning once, about 4 minutes per side. Leave loin in skillet.

In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, minced garlic and Tabasco until well combined. Spread mixture over pork loin.

Roast in middle rack of oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally into center of tenderloin registers 135F, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from oven. Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil and allow pork loin to rest for 10 minutes prior to cutting. This allows the internal temperature of the loin to rise to 155F while standing and the juices to reabsorb into the meat.

Slice loin on the diagonal and serve, spooning sauce from pan over the top of each slice.

Serves 6-8

*Note: Cast iron is recommended for this recipe. However, if you do not have cast iron or an ovenproof skillet, the loin can be browned in a stove top skillet and placed in a foil lined 9×13 baking pan for roasting.