|Pork tenderloin. Photo: Erica George Dines Photography|
Part of a continuing summer series by grilling expert Gena Knox.
Pork tenderloins are served at our house pretty often. Not only are they lean, but also they are flavorful and easy to cook. Like chicken, pork easily takes on the flavor of the rub, marinade or sauce you pair it with. Traditional supermarkets sell already marinated pork tenderloins, but I generally avoid these. Filled with sodium, artificial ingredients and flavors, these pre-marinated meats generally turn out mushy and very salty.
The marinade, overtime, actually begins to "cure" the meat, causing it to turn grey and the proteins to break down. I generally prefer buying the all-natural pork from stores such as Whole Foods. These are usually not packed in a salty brine and they allow me to brine my own if I want.
The problem is, most people don't know how to cook pork tenderloin properly and they often turn out tough, overcooked and lacking in flavor.
Learn the proper way to cook them and get my coffee-rubbed pork tenderloin recipe after the jump.
Several years ago I read an article in one of my favorite cooking magazines on grilling pork tenderloins using the 7-6-5 method. I tried it and it worked like a charm. I can't claim that created this method, but I am a huge advocate, and I won't grill pork any other way. There is a gas grill method as well as a charcoal method and once you try it, you too, will become an expert.
Gas Grill Method: Preheat gas grill for 7 minutes, with lid closed and burners on high. Sear the pork for 7 minutes, just enough time to form a nice crust and grill marks. Using tongs, flip the pork and sear on the second side for 6 minutes.
Now the pork is fully seared and with just a few minutes of low heat cooking, the pork will continue cooking to the right temperature. Without opening lid, turn all burners off and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. The ideal internal temperature for pork is 145 degrees F in the thickest part of the meat. This means the pork will be slightly pink, tender and juicy.
Charcoal Grill Method: Prepare a two-level fire, piling all your coals on one side of the grill. Clean and oil the grill grates and cover grill again to get the grates hot for searing. Sear the pork on each side until grill marks and a nice crust form (3-5 minutes depending on the temperature of your coals).
Once the pork is seared, transfer it to the cool part of the grill, close lid and cook for 5 minutes until the internal temperature registers 145 degrees F.
Like steaks, let the pork rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes before carving.
Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
While I may be a little biased to my own Fire & Flavor's coffee rub, it truly makes the most delicious pork or beef. You can make your own coffee rub using this recipe, but I am partial to the high quality coffee and unique spices in Fire & Flavor's.
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 18 minutes
YIELDS 6 servings
2 pork tenderloins (1 3/4 to 2 pounds total)
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Coffee Rub
2 tablespoons ground, good quality coffee
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
FIRST Preheat grill to high heat or if using charcoal, build a two level fire. Remove silver skin from pork and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle all sides with Coffee Rub.
NEXT Oil grill grates and cook pork, with lid closed for 7 minutes, without turning. Flip pork and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Pork should be seared on both sides with a nice crust. Cooking times may be slightly less with charcoal grill.
If using gas, do not open lid, but turn burners off and cook for another 5 minutes. Charcoal grills, move pork to cooler side of grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until internal temperature of thickest part of meat registers 145 degrees F.
LAST Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Also try my Grilled Molasses Pork Tenderloin and my Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Chipotle Sauce.
Gena Knox is the founder of Fire & Flavor and the author of "Gourmet Made Simple." She's blogging about grilling this summer for Slashfood. For more information on Gena, visit her Web site, GenaKnox.com. For more grilling tips, visit the AOL Food Grilling page.