Loving the BITE: Black Pepper Tenderloin


It’s been said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” If this is true, this week’s Loving the Bite key ingredient is super-sophisticated. It’s a very simple food that’s been around for thousands of years, and you almost definitely have in your kitchen right now. And yet, in all its simplicity, it promotes health by providing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, fighting Diabetes and cancers, improving digestion, and even boosting metabolism. Sounds like a perfect culinary addition for a cyclist.

Interested? It’s simply black pepper, and it’s going to spice up our foods and our health this week!

Recipe of the week: Black Pepper Tenderloin


  • One 1-pound venison, elk, or pork tenderloin (trimmed of any extra fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
½-1 teaspoon fresh, coarsely ground black pepper, depending on your love of black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed with the side of your knife
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon organic butter (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Rub the tenderloin with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Heat a medium saucepan with an oven-proof handle to medium high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook until the garlic is just golden, stirring the garlic occasionally, ~1-2 minutes. Remove and discard garlic clove.
  3. Turn the heat up to high. Add the tenderloin and sear on all sides, about 5 minutes per side, or until each side of the tenderloin is evenly browned.
  4. Put the entire pan (with tenderloin) into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130-140 ºF for elk or venison, and 150ºF for pork. Carefully turn the tenderloin once during cooking.
  5. Using extra care and an oven-mitt, remove the pan from the oven. Place the tenderloin on a plate or cutting board and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Pour out any fat remaining in pan except for 1 teaspoon. Place the pan over high heat and add the vegetable stock or water. Using a wooden spoon or metal spatula, scrape the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture boil until slightly reduced, ~ 5 minutes.
  7. Whisk in the optional butter.
  8. Taste the pan jus and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  9. Uncover the tenderloin, slice, and serve with pan sauce.


In every black peppercorn, there lies within a compound called piperine, potent antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory components. When cyclists add it to their foods, these black pepper nutrients work to:

  • Reduce the sensation of pain, arthritis and inflammation of joints
  • Protect against oxidation of LDL cholesterol (oxidation allows bad cholesterol to form plagues in our arteries), high blood pressure, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease with potent antioxidants. In fact, black peppers have an ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of 34,053 μ mol TE/100g…above chili powder, raspberries, walnuts, and blueberries.
  • Stimulate “transporters” in our intestines that are responsible for absorbing nutrients from foods and supplements. So, piperine not only promotes wellness directly, it helps us make the most of the other nutrients we consume.
  • Promote healthy digestion. Black pepper stimulates the release of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, which promotes timely and healthy digestion. Without adequate amounts, or with high acid levels at the wrong times, many folks suffer from food setting in their stomachs too long, heartburn, and indigestion.
  • Reduce extra bloating and water weight – the antioxidants in black pepper work as a gentle diuretic that reducing extra water held in our intestines.
  • Like other peppers, cause our bodies to burn slightly more calories as a mechanism for controlling the “heat” we eat
  • Fight against cancer cells (in lab tests)
  • Reduce the degradation and damage to cells often associated with high blood sugars in Diabetes

Remember, whole foods are almost always better. With black pepper, it’s best to buy the whole peppercorns and grind them just before eating or cooking with them. Powdered and pre-ground pepper has often lost many of its benefits, and the taste just doesn’t compare.

Looking for more ways to add black pepper? Don’t forget to grind it onto your salads, eggs, vegetable juices, and into sandwiches. In cooked dishes, it will lose some flavor and nutrients with high heat, so add more black pepper once your food has been cooked. It’s a super flavor-enhancer, and not called The Master Spice for nothing.

This week, we cyclists have a great opportunity to reduce pain, reduce cell damage, and increase overall wellness with a simply little ingredient. Grind it out with black peppercorns.

Tenderloin photo c/o Gimmesomeoven

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2 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Black Pepper Tenderloin ”

  1. Pam on March 15, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Yes, it is thursday and that means I have another recipe to get excited about and make this weekend.  This one looks nice as usual.

    • Kelli, RD on March 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Thanks Pam, I’m thrilled that you like the recipes.  I hope you enjoy this one!  Kelli, RD

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