I enjoy coming up with new rubs, marinades and sauces for pork. Pork is one of those meats that just about anything goes. The tenderloin is my favorite cut of pork. I buy the 10-15 pounders when they are on sale and cut them up when I get home. I leave bigger sections, such as the 2.5 pounds used in this recipe, and pork chops any thickness I want. The sections are then put in freezer bags and frozen until I’m ready to grill!
What you need: 2.5 pound boneless pork tenderloin, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels.
For the rub:
Fresh cracked black pepper
Sprinkle all liberally (except maybe garlic-you might want to do that lightly) over all of tenderloin. Rub in, cover the tenderloin and refrigerate for at least an hour, removing about half an hour before grilling.
Prepare a fire for indirect cooking. Spread coals when most are ashen and temperature is high heat.
Sear all sides of tenderloin, about 5 minutes each side.
Remember to NOT use a fork to turn the meat. No piercing! Watch and put out flare-ups when searing the fatty side. Move to the side of the grill opposite the fire, fatty side up and add more charcoal, about 5 briquettes.
For pork, I sometimes insert a thermometer to make sure it is done. Internal “doneness” temperature for pork is 150-165 degrees F. Brush some of the glaze on the top of the tenderloin and put the lid on the grill. If you can maintain a cooking temperature around 300 degrees, a 2.5 pound tenderloin should be done after 2 hours. Mine wasn’t, so I brushed more glaze on it, wrapped it in foil and finished it in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
I served the pork with a caprese salad. This link takes you to a recipe. The only difference in how I serve it and this recipe is that I dress it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
Grilled chicken is great on a salad. Grilled chicken is great period. I believe it is the best way to cook chicken. As long as it is done correctly, you end up with moist, flavorful and tender chicken that lends itself well to just about anything you want to put it in or eat it with. Although I put this chicken recipe on a salad, it will be just as good with rice or on a sandwich with a honey mustard mayo.
I had mixed greens with iceberg lettuce for the salad. I don’t normally buy iceberg lettuce since it has very little nutritional value. Generally, it is the dark, leafy greens (including spinach) that I eat. There is a bigger nutritional bang in the darker greens.
As far as making up the salad, I always have a variety of options. No one in our household like the same things on his or her salad, so a salad bar is set up and each can pick whatever to put on their own salad. Tomatoes, nuts or sunflower seeds, Craisins, different cheeses (I like feta and goat cheese) are some of the items on our salad bar. I grilled up this chicken when tomatoes were ripening, so we had homegrown tomatoes. The yellow grape tomatoes went very well with the raspberry balsamic chicken. Fresh raspberries would be a nice salad addition as well. Honey mustard, raspberry vinaigrette and balsamic vinaigrette dressings are excellent choices to finish off the salad.
The chicken will marinate for a few hours or overnight to fully absorb the flavors. I had a 2 pound chicken breast that I left whole. For the marinade you will need: 1/2 cup of oil, 1/4 white (or dark) balsamic raspberry vinegar (or you can make your own. 1 pint raspberries will yield about 1/2 cup of juice. To juice the berries, press through a sieve and discard the pulp and seeds. Add the juice to 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. If that is not a strong enough berry flavor for you, add more juice. This uses fresh berries, so I recommend making this right before you are going to use it), 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 2 medium cloves of garlic, pressed. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor to emulsify. Emulsification blends the oil with the other ingredients in order to keep the oil from separating. This is definitely a time when you want the oil and vinegar to stay blended. You will know the ingredients are emulsified when the mixture is thick and you can no longer see the individual ingredients. In a plastic bag, add the marinade to the chicken and seal. Store in the refrigerator at least a couple of hours before grilling.
To grill, prepare a fire for indirect grilling. While the coals heat up, take the chicken out of the fridge to warm-up in anticipation of the hot fire. I’ve mentioned this before, but it doesn’t hurt saying again-the meat is just like us when it gets cold. It tenses up and needs to relax prior to being placed over direct hot heat. When the coals are ready, place the chicken directly over the coals, searing each side for about 3 minutes. Move the chicken to the opposite side and place the lid on the grill. In about 20 minutes, the chicken will be ready.
In these photos, you can see how moist the chicken remained. No dry, rubber chicken here!
I chose a honey Dijon mustard dressing to top my salad. It was very good!
Enjoy your grilled chicken! Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!