Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Loin / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman /

There are a few food and drink words that perk each of us up, and generate an almost Pavlovian response. One of those words for my dear friend Catherine is bourbon, and I’m certainly planning to make this for her next time she comes over.

You do not have to let the pork loin marinate over night, but you will be rewarded with more tender meat, thanks to the brine-like quality of the marinade, with the soy sauce and the brown sugar. It will also let the pork get infused with all of the flavors a bit more deeply.  If you don’t have time, no worries, you will get a lovely and flavorful crust on the whole thing.  Cooking pork loin is pretty ridiculously easy.  You don’t even have to sear this one; the sugar in the marinade allows the outside to caramelize right up.  Roast the pork on the baking sheet or pan until an internal meat thermometer registers 145ºF.

A pork loin roast is a versatile thing.  Some leftover slices of this would be terrific in this Banh Mi sandwich (one of my family’s all time favorite sandwiches).  Or perfect for some stir fried rice.  Leftover pork loin is a terrific thing to have in the fridge, and you can never have too many pork loin recipes.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Loin / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman /

Here’s the most important thing to remember. Cover your rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cover the whole dang thing, wrapping the foil up and over the edges. The marinade will give your pork a lovely brown crust, but the part that stays on the pan will probably burn. And that is not a fun thing to clean off a pan.

I served these with fried green tomatoes (recipe coming)—also a Southern delicacy, like my friend Catherine, and Pineapple Mint Jalapeno Salsa, which is think we can all agree is pretty gorgeous.  This, plus a little salad with feta.  Or serve it with Sesame-Honey Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Sliced Avocado or Romaine and Slivered Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Loin / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman /

Back to Catherine for a sec.  I might have to do a reprise of this Banana Bread Pudding for dessert, which I created for her 50th birthday.  If I’m going to go all in, and that is pretty much my default state of being, then I will also make her a pitcher of Mint Julep Sweet Tea.

And then she will be my willing slave for life.  All part of my master plan.  mwah hah ha.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Loin / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman /

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Loin

A delicious, deeply flavored, bourbon-infused marinade infuses this tender pork loin with tons of flavor.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • Fresh pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin


  • In a small pot or a microwave-safe bowl combine the bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce. Heat over low heat for a few minutes, stirring often, until the brown sugar is dissolved – or do this in the microwave, working in 20-second bursts. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, thyme and pepper. Allow to cool completely.
  • Place the marinade in a large sturdy zipper top bag or a container big enough to hold the meat. Add the marinade and turn the pork to coat well. Cover, and place in the fridge to marinate overnight, or at least 6 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cover a rimmed baking sheet or a baking pan with foil, wrapping it well to enclose the whole pan (see recipe intro). Place the pork on the baking sheet or pan, and roast for about 15 to 30 minutes (it really depends on the thickness of the pork loin), until a meat thermometer registers 145ºF.  If you have the inclination, baste it after 10 minutes with any extra marinade.   Let the pork sit on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing it.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 158.44kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.59g | Protein: 16.7g | Fat: 2.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.9g | Cholesterol: 49.14mg | Sodium: 609.84mg | Potassium: 352.45mg | Fiber: 0.17g | Sugar: 9.47g | Vitamin A: 31.67IU | Vitamin C: 3.37mg | Calcium: 19.81mg | Iron: 1.3mg

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