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Cocoa Spiced Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Crimini Berry Sauce

An easy spiced rubbed pork tenderloin with cocoa topped with a berry mushroom sauce. As delicious as it is pretty.

Sometimes there are recipes that I put on here that I know are just going to be impossible to convey how amazingly delicious they are.

Or, stuff you’ll look at and be like “that title is about 7 words too long, is she on crack? This must be way too hard to make. Moving on to the next post…”

This pork tenderloin recipe probably fits into both those buckets.

Cocoa spiced rubbed pork tenderloin with crimini berry sauce

But too bad. I’m sharing it anyway.

I won’t really attempt to try to explain how outrageous this tasted with the cocoa rub (but know that it did) and I won’t try to defend my obnoxiously long title (but seriously, which word would you cut out?! And, it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds!).

But, I will tell you about the super creepster experience I had driving to work yesterday.

It’s way more entertaining than listing every descriptor in the thesaurus for “delicious” anyway.

So there I am on I-95 in New Haven stuck in traffic (granted, that’s a given if you’ve ever traveled that stretch of highway, you’d know) during rush hour, being a typical girl, singing to whatever lame top 40 song is playing and being completely oblivious to those around me.

I look over to see a nice Audi SUV along side of me with a guy in it legitimately staring me straight in the eyes.

We make eye contact for a second in which I expect him to look away like a normal person that looks at the car next to you but quickly turns their head once eye contact is established, except that never happens.

Spice rubbed pork tenderloin with crimini berry sauce

He is so intently staring at me that my train of thought goes to “ok, do I KNOW this person?”

So then I stare back.

I start to crack a smile thinking it’s a coworker in a different car than normal or something because he did sort of look like one of my coworkers but then I see a wedding ring on his finger and that coworker isn’t married.

So now I’m freaked and my half smile acknowledgement turns to a “WTF is wrong with you look?” But that half smile was all he needed.

He then starts smiling directly at me and picks up his phone to show me through the window.

He points to it and starts giving me his number through hand signals as if I should be typing them into my phone to call him.

At this point I just bust out laughing and try my best to look straight ahead pretending like this isn’t actually happening to me.

Out of the hundreds/thousands! of cars on this highway, why me?

Like is this for real? Does a grown married man (who is flashing his wedding ring at me through the window) seriously think he can pick up women like this?

Is this real life?

Cocoa spiced rubbed pork tenderloin

I had about 10 miles to go until my work parking lot, 9.5 of which he followed directly behind me occasionally waving when I’d look up in my rear view mirror.

I was convinced he was going to pull up next to me at work when thankfully, he turned the opposite way off the exit ramp.


Or, maybe his wife just doesn’t make him kick-ass cocoa rubbed pork tenderloin and he was looking for someone that could.

Because I don’t want to deal with the sexism comments that will likely roll in after that sentence, one word: sarcasm.

Pork not your thing? This balsamic dijon crusted beef tenderloin and this grilled venison backstrap (which is sometimes called venison tenderloin) are great options instead.

Cocoa Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Crimini Berry Sauce

An easy spiced rubbed pork tenderloin with cocoa topped with a berry mushroom sauce. As delicious as it is pretty.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings


For the Pork Tenderloin:

  • 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Crimini Berry Sauce:

  • 1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms cleaned, stems removed & quartered
  • 1 small yellow onion sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • salt & pepper to taste


For the Pork Tenderloin:

  • Combine all the spices in a small bowl.
  • Rub the entire pork tenderloin with the spice rub and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Heat a grill to the 425-450 range and grill the pork on each side for about 5 minutes or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  • Remove cooked pork to a cutting board and let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

For the Crimini Berry Sauce:

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the butter, olive oil and onions and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for another 5-7 minutes until mushrooms have released their moisture and are starting to caramelize.
  • Add the rosemary and stir to combine.
  • Add the blueberries and blackberries and stir to slightly break down the berries.
  • Add the raspberries last and give one final light stir (the raspberries are the most delicate of the berries so you don’t want to turn them to mush).
  • Season with salt & pepper to taste and then spoon over the sliced pork.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1SERVING | Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 531mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Cuisine American
Course Main Dishes
Keyword cocoa spice rubbed pork tenderloin, cocoa spice rubbed pork tenderloin with crimini berry sauce


Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

Recipe Rating


Tuesday 26th of December 2017

This looks amazing! How would I cook this in the oven (time & temp) & do you think I could put the spice rub on the pork tenderloin and refrigerate overnight or would the flavors be too strong ?

Thank you in advance - I can't wait to try this!

Running to the Kitchen

Tuesday 26th of December 2017

You can definitely put the spice rub on the night before and refrigerate. If you want to make it in the oven I would suggest a quick brown on all sides in a skillet on the stove top first then transfer to the oven. Use a meat thermometer and cook until internal temp is 145F degrees. I'd probably cook it at 350F.

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Timmy Roller

Thursday 29th of August 2013

How do you think this would be without the sauce? Still pretty tasty?

Running to the Kitchen

Thursday 29th of August 2013

Yeah, the spice rub itself it definitely tasty. I just prefer pork with some sort of sauce/liquid but if that's not your thing, go for it!


Friday 16th of August 2013

That dude was both creepy and stupid. Isn't it bad enough that you have to drive on I-95? I did that in Virginia, and hated getting on that highway. I was entertained by your story, but have been in similarly creepy situations myself, so I really feel for you, having to deal with that.

Seriously, the recipe sounds wonderful, and the title is just fine. With a good, descriptive title, we don't have to spend a lot of time perusing the list of ingredients to find out what the recipe is about.