How to Defrost Pork Tenderloin – The Correct Technique in 3 Easy Steps

Defrosting a piece of meat like a pork tenderloin isn’t hard.

But you do want to make sure you give it enough time.

And more importantly, at a safe temperature.

I have covered the best methods to get you cooking in no time.

As well as some other tips and tricks.

Let’s begin!


How to Defrost Pork Tenderloin

To defrost pork tenderloin place it in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours per pound.

If you don’t have time you can thaw it in the microwave or in a water bath.

I’ll explain how to do each method below. 

Methods for Defrosting a Frozen Pork Tenderloin

Below are the safe cooking methods for defrosting fresh pork tenderloin.

Followed by some other things to consider when you are defrosting.


Defrosting in a Refrigerator

Refrigerator thawing is the safest method for frozen food products.

– Keep the tenderloin in the original packaging.

– Check the weight and estimate the defrost time.

– Place at the bottom on a roasting tray or something that will catch excess water.

Cold Water Method

A cold water bath is great if you don’t have enough fridge space.

Recycling the water maintains a constant temperature below 40°F.

– Keep the tenderloin in the original packaging.

– Fill up your sink with cold tap water.

– Submerge and recycle the water every 15 minutes.

– Check it has thawed as per the below directions.

In a Microwave

Microwave thawing is quicker but I only recommend it if you have smaller cuts.

– Transfer the frozen loin to a microwave-safe container.

– Set it to defrost function for 15 minutes.

– Check as per the directions below if thawed.

– Repeat if necessary.

– Cook straight away.


What Are the Signs of Unfrozen Pork?

Check for Physical Signs

It is straightforward to tell if you have frozen raw meat.

The pork meat will be cold and hard to the touch.

The packaging may still have ice crystals on it.

But what if the pork isn’t showing these signs and you want to be sure?

The meat should have a little bounce to the touch.

Estimate the Timings

Get a picture of how long the pork tenderloin takes to thaw.

Based on the above calculation.

Then add 3 days it can further be kept in the fridge.

Use a Food Thermometer to Measure the Internal Temperature

A meat thermometer is the most accurate way to check for thawing.

Insert in the thickest part of the tenderloin.

The temp will read above 0°F.

The Defrosting Rate for a Frozen Tenderloin

The rate of defrosting a pork tenderloin below 40°F is 3-5 hours per pound.

An average pork loin weighs roughly 1 pound.

But can get up to 7 depending on the breed and size of the animal.

Is the Cut Whole or in Tenderloin Medallions?

You also want to consider if you have whole tenderloin or individual steaks.

The defrosting time may be less due to its mass.


A Note of Food Safety for Frozen Pork Products

The ‘Danger’ Temperature Range for Harmful Bacteria

Do not leave pork thawing in the below-temperature range, even if finishing off.

The temperature range that bacteria thrive at is 40°F – 140°F.

So your safe temperature to defrost is below 39°F.

A Fun Fact!

Raw pork meat products can contain a deadly worm parasite.

But uncommonly known, this was more of a danger 20 years ago.

It is very rare for commercially raised pigs to contract this present day.

As there are lots of testing and improved policies.

The internal temperature for pork meat is 145°F before consumption.


How Long Can I Keep It Frozen?

Frozen meat can be theoretically stored forever.

But any longer than 3-4 months will cause freezer burn.

Resulting in dry meat and an inconsistent cook time.

Did You Know?

Which is mostly lean meat with very low-fat content.

These types of muscle meats have a high moisture content as it is stored in the proteins.

Which means there is a higher chance of freezer burn.

Can I Defrost Meat at Room Temperature?

Never defrost meat at room temperature or with hot water.

This will raise the temperature above the danger zone and risk bacteria growth.

Pork loin will defrost more evenly than other meats.

Because of the low-fat content and no bone.

The fat takes longer to defrost and bones hold the low temperature.


Important Food Safety Advice for Defrosting Raw Pork

– Note down the expiry date and plan to cook it before freezing.

– Freeze it for up to 3-4 months.

– Estimate the time to defrost and check for a thorough thawing.

– The color, smell, and texture will indicate bad meat.

– Cook the pork within 3 days of it thawing with cold water or refrigerated.

– Cook straight away if done in a microwave oven.

– Minimize air exposure by keeping meat in an airtight container.

– Do not keep the meat at room temperature for more than 30 minutes.

– Throw away if unsure.

– Contact medical services if you are suffering severe food poisoning.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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