Cooking Guide

Pork Tenderloin Smells Like Fish? Here’s Why & How To Fix It

Pork tenderloin is a great option for those who are looking to eat leaner cuts of red meat.

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It has less fat and calories than other types of beef or pork, making it a good choice for those trying to watch their weight or limit their intake of high-fat meats.

But what if the smell coming from the meat you’re about to cook up smells fishy? Is there something else wrong with your pork? 

There are several reasons that pork may have this odor.

This article will discuss the causes of this unpleasant-smelling meat and offer tips on how to avoid them in your cooking.

Why Does Pork Tenderloin Smell Like Fish?

Improper Packaging and Storing

The fishy smell might come from improper packaging: the butcher might leave the meat near the seafood items, which makes the pork smell like fish.

Also, if you leave the piece of meat at room temperature for a long time, chances are that the bloody liquid from the meat is caused by freezing and thawing the piece of pork tenderloin several times, also causing the fishy smell.

The Meat Is Not Cooked Evenly

The most common reason that pork is said to smell like fish is because it was not cooked long enough or at the right temperature.

Pork should be cooked for an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit, so if there’s any pink meat left in the center, it needs to go back on the grill until done.

High Content of TMAO

Due to high levels of trimethylamine oxide (TMAO), a chemical that gives fish its “fishy” smell and taste, pork also has this strong odor.

TMAO is created when bacteria break down the compound choline, which is found in all meat products such as beef and pork.

Is It Safe to Eat Pork Tenderloin Smells Like Fish?

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Pork tenderloin is a type of meat that has a strong, distinct smell to it.

Make sure you know how to tell if your pork smells like fish or if it’s safe to eat!

If the strong odor comes from the improper packaging or the excess liquid, then it’s still safe for consumption.

You only need to rinse the piece of meat thoroughly and use high heat while cooking the meat.

Also, avoid adding strong flavors such as soy sauce during preparation to avoid that weird smell.

Other reasons why meat could smell this way is because it’s not fresh.

This is caused by bacteria that makes the meat spoil faster than normal.

It is not safe to eat pork that smells like fish if the meat has also turned brown and slimy since it can lead to food poisoning.

How to Get Rid of fishy Smell from Pork tenderloin

Check the Expired Date

The first thing you should do is check the expiration date on the package, as this could be causing your pork to have an unusual odor.

If that doesn’t fix it, then try removing any visible blood spots from the meat before cooking it up.

Finally, make sure that you rinse off all pieces thoroughly

Cook it on the Same Purchasing Day

Pork tenderloin should be consumed within three days of purchase or else you will need to throw it away.

If you still want to eat pork tenderloin after smelling it, make sure to cook it thoroughly before consumption and discard any juices created during the cooking process that may contain harmful bacteria.

Add Buttermilk

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There are several simple steps you can take to get rid of the fishy smell from your pork.

The first step is to simply rinse your meat with cold water before cooking it.

If that doesn’t work, soak the meat in milk or buttermilk for twenty minutes and then cook as usual.

You can also add coffee grinds when cooking; this will help neutralize any unwanted odors and leave you with a flavorful meal!

The Bottom Line

Getting a fishy smell from pork tenderloin is not only unpleasant, but also embarrassing.

While there are many possible reasons for this to happen, knowing how to prevent it and what you can do if you notice the strong scent will help ensure your dinner party or family meal goes off without a hitch.

We hope this article gives you some insights on why your pork might have acquired its fish-like odor and how to fix the problem quickly and easily! 

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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