Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Tenderloin (Crockpot)

This slow-cooker meal is so easy to throw together. The balsamic sauce is simple but oh so flavorful.IMG_6791
Have you ever dumped dirty dishwater all over your kitchen floor because you forgot to empty out the cup that you were trying to place upside down in the dishwasher? Yeah. Me neither. I never do that at least once a week.

I have carpet in my kitchen. It’s blue. We just moved into this house a couple months ago, and when I would tell people about it I would say, “We love it! It’s awesome! Except there is carpet in the kitchen. Guess you can’t have everything.”

WRONG.

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The 70s were onto something, people. Carpet in the kitchen is a lazy person’s dream. You can’t see anything. I’m not claiming that it is cleaner; quite the contrary. The splatter from the bacon you’re frying just seeps right into that carpet. But hey, you don’t have to clean it up, so it’s like it never happened right? I’m sure you are all just dying to come over and eat in my grease-splattered kitchen now.

Let me tell you the best part though: I can walk in my socks and they never get wet. Hugest winter pet peeve. Never again!

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Of course, this is me talking before I’ve had an Incident. You know, when Charlotte spills an entire cup of milk someday. Or when I drop an entire casserole. Or when my freezer dies and an entire half gallon of melted chocolate ice cream spills onto the carpet. (That happened to my mom when she was a kid. Needless to say, she’s never had carpet in her kitchen as an adult.)

Lately though, I’m mourning my lack of linoleum because of potty training. (It’s happening. Soon. She is ready. I just don’t know if I’m ready.) There is literally no place in my house where an accident will not have carpet clean-up involved, which totally sucks.

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On that lovely note, let’s talk about today’s recipe. It’s a goodie. It’s been making the internet rounds, so you may have seen it, but there is a reason it’s everywhere. It’s freakishly good, and even freakishlier easy. Rub pork with some spices. Throw it in the crock pot. Make a 5 ingredient glaze, then broil a couple minutes. Make sure you don’t broil the meat for too long, otherwise it will dry out. This is a perfect weeknight meal. We ate this with a simple salad and some oven roasted potatoes, but I bet it would be good on some buns with coleslaw, or even in some tacos.

Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Tenderloin (Crockpot)

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • For the Glaze:
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the sage, salt, pepper and garlic.
  2. Place the tenderloin in the slow cooker. Rub the seasonings over the pork.
  3. Pour ½ cup water in the slow cooker, on the edge so that you don't wash off all the spices you just rubbed on.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, the preheat your broiler.
  5. While the roast is finishing up in the slow cooker and your broiler heats up, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a small sauce pan: brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, soy sauce.
  6. Heat over medium and stir until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.
  7. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with oil, or use a silpat. Remove the pork from the crock pot and place on the lined baking sheet. Brush a generous amount of the glaze on the pork. Put your oven rack as high as it will go, and broil the pork for 1 or 2 minutes, until bubbly and caramelized. Don't walk away! Repeat 2 to 3 more times until it is as crusty as you want it. I wouldn't go many more times than this though, or your pork will dry out.
  8. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.
http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2013/10/27/brown-sugar-balsamic-pork-tenderloin/

Source: Laura’s Sweet Spot, which is now The Green Forks

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Comments

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Comments

    • says

      Hey Elizabeth! Subbing out the vinegar would be tough in this recipe. The balsamic vinegar is where most of the flavor comes from. The first thing I would try is reducing the amount of vinegar you use for a lighter flavor. You could try omitting it entirely, which would give you a simple brown sugar glaze. It would still be good but probably not show-stopping. You could also try experimenting with other flavors of vinegar, if the balsamic kind is too strong for your family. Let us know what you try out Elizabeth! I would love to know how it goes. Good luck!

  1. says

    Making this tonight for my picky eaters! So glad to have found your blog! Love your sense of humor! I think we are kindred spirits as my kitchen spends more time dirty and covered with powdered sugar and dishes than it does clean. Can’t wait to see what you serve us next.
    J

    • says

      Haha! I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who’s covered in some sort of edible powder most of the time :) Hope you enjoy the pork! It’s one of my favorites. Thanks Jennifer!

  2. Walter says

    I just ran across this recipe and it sounds great. For those that don’t care for the pungency of vinegar, get some 20 or, even better, 40 year old aged balsamic vinegar. The longer it is aged in the cask the sweeter it gets while maintaining the balsamic taste. I drizzle a little on strawberries or ice cream.it costs more but a little goes a long way. This is a wonderful site and thanks for the recipes and background commentary.

  3. Mike Carpenter says

    I must say this is really good. This is our second time making this and it has my mouth already watering. Good food. Yummy yummy.

  4. Haley says

    I have made this recipe twice now. Except i have used pork shoulder instead of tenderloin. It is simply amazing!!!

  5. Deb says

    . Thank you so much for your recipes. Making this right now the sage smells wonder .Cannot wait to add the glaze serving with scalloped potatoes and roasted asparagus

    • says

      Hi Chris! Do you mean how long in the broiler? 1-2 minutes, up to 3 times, brushing with glaze each time. There should be a broil button on your oven, or it should be above the 500 degree mark. Hope this helps!

  6. Beth Carlin says

    My husband and I loved the flavor on this!! I feel like I went wrong somewhere though. I got 2 one pound pork loins because I couldn’t find a 2 pounder, and I set my crockpot on low for 7 and a half hours, and then it switched to warm. I think next time I would definitely go on the lower end though because it seemed kind of dried up (I am still getting used to my new slow cooker). I also felt like my glaze remained very thin and never thickened into a nice sauce like yours looks in the picture. Does it have to be heated immediately? I did mix it and then realized I had to wait another 45 minutes for my husband to get home so I waited to turn the burner on. Maybe that’s what did it. I will definitely be trying again, though, because the flavor was outstanding! Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      Hey Beth! If you make the sauce early I would just recommend keeping it warm on the stove so that it doesn’t get too thick. I usually use 2 1 pound tenderloins as well, so I’m not sure why it was dried out! Maybe cook it for less time next time. Thanks so much for the review, and I’m glad you liked the flavor!

    • says

      Hey Jenny! I just found this when I googled, “Ground sage is made by grinding the entire leaf into a fine powder like any powdered herb. Rubbed sage is made by rubbing dried whole sage leaves to create a light and fluffy mix. Rubbed sage is lighter and less concentrated so a teaspoon of rubbed sage will be less intense than a teaspoon of ground sage.” Honestly though, any kind of sage you add to this recipe is going to be good. If you like sage, add a lot. If you’re not a huge fan, don’t add a ton :) Enjoy!

  7. Anna says

    This was amazing! My two kids loved it and so did my husband and I. The broiler step is key, it is worth the extra work and really is not difficult. Thanks for great recipe!

  8. stephanie says

    i just came across your blog today via pinterest, and i have bookmarked several recipes to try already, thanks! (i love pinterest but the truth is that 99% of what i pin i completely forget about roughly ten minutes later, haha.)

    anyway, i know this is an old post but i had to laugh – we moved into this apartment about a year and a half ago, and you know what we say about it? we love it, oh, except for the blue carpet in the kitchen. true story! (it actually continues into our bathroom, but somewhere along the way someone stuck vinyl “tile” stickers to it…voila! not.) you are so right though – it does hide almost everything. probably because it absorbs everything, which is flippin’ gross, yet somehow dirty carpet is a little better than dirty LOOKING carpet, right? lol.

    of course, having to drag out the vacuum each time i spill rice or get grated cheese all over the floor (which really you have to let dry before you can clean it up otherwise it just gets mooshed in) is not fun…but i have also dropped RAW EGGS on that carpet…TWICE. yes, really. i scraped up what i could with a butter knife and paper towel, and then took a sponge to it. and then a few days later… stain mysteriously disappears. (i.e. soaks fully into carpet.) horrible! but…good? haha. suffice it to say i feel your pain. maybe by now you’ve finally got “real” kitchen floors! i will continue to drop hints to my landlord. (the rest of our apartment is actually beautiful hardwoods, which kind of makes the old gross carpet stand out even more!)

    • says

      YOU FEEL MY PAIN Stephanie!!! Finally someone who gets it!! Haha. I am cracking up thinking about you scooping up that stupid egg. I so did that. We moved again a few months ago so no more carpet in the kitchen. But we bought an old lady’s house. And she has WHITE CARPET in the DINING ROOM. Because the carpet gods hate me I guess. Fortunately this time we bought the house so we are ripping it out. Literally, this week. (I just posted a “before” picture on instagram check it out!) I’m beyond excited! Thanks for stopping by!

      PS that is horribly ironic that the rest of your apartment is hardwood. WTH??? and vinyl tile stickers??? NOOOO

      • stephanie says

        omg…WHITE? i saw your pic and like another commenter i can’t believe it looks as good as it does – i think just by nature of it existing i’d probably drop a glass of cranberry juice on it day 1. but yay home owning! definite perks and good luck with the upgrade, i can’t wait to see! (i bet you can’t either, haha.)

        & yeah, my landlord actually used to live in our unit, and he refinished the other floors by hand – like, literally by hand, not with a machine, and he’s not super into the idea of taking on the rest of the project i guess. plus, the blue carpet is like…that industrial stuff? and i think it’s glued to the floor underneath so you can’t just rip it out. but he said if we stayed more than a year he would “think about it.” and yes, the bathroom is extra hilarious (not) because there’s a clawfoot tub in there…and no one could get under it so that half is still carpet. to delineate between the stickers-over-carpet and just-plain-carpet, a piece of plastic vinyl trim was nailgunned to the floor. a masterpiece!

  9. Brooke says

    My oven has two broiler settings-high and low. Do you know which one to use? I assume high, but don’t want to over cook it!

  10. Heidi says

    This is probably a ridiculously silly question, but… 6-8 hours in the crockpot – how will I know if it’s done after 6 hours or after 8 hours? Or 7!?!?! Or 7 1/2!?! Ahhhhhh!!!!

    HELP!!!

    – Heidi (who needs help)

    • says

      Hey Heidi! That’s the beauty of slow cookers. If you’re hungry at 6 hours, eat up! If you’re hungry at 8 hours, eat then! So forgiving. It may be a little more tender the longer you leave it in, but it’s safe to eat at the lowest cook time provided. Enjoy!

  11. Annabelle says

    Am I the only one commenting about the carpet? I have to tell you I suffered from oh so many comments about kitchen carpet. I can tell you, it might be seen as old fashioned but I had it for 48 years before giving in to everyone and getting it replaced with expensive up-to-date flooring. Which is HARD, COLD, AND MUCH HARDER TO KEEP CLEAN than carpet (flat, tight and easily shampooed when necessary). I loved walking on it barefoot, And in the mid-west winter it was warm and cozy. We kept it for 2 or 3 carpet changes (pattern etc. to keep up with style. I would go back to it in a second. Hang in there.

    • says

      Haha! I love that you loved your carpet Annabelle! That was a rental that we lived in, but we moved last year to a new home. And we tore out all the carpet in the dining and living room and put in a nice hardwood-looking laminate :) I do live in California, so cold floors aren’t as much of an issue. I will say though, that was one of the perks of having carpet in the kitchen :)

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