Monday, March 29, 2010

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin

Now that it is grilling season, I strongly urge all of you to make this meal ASAP. Pork tenderloins can grill up in about 15 minutes and you can essentially flavor the meat any way you want. This was actually our first time having pork tenderloins, as we usually stick to the larger pork loin roasts, and I was incredibly turned off in the past by those packaged, already flavored pork tenderloins you can buy (seriously, the one time we had one of these I was totally grossed out.) However, I am now a fan of good quality pork tenderloins and can't wait to try more ways of preparing them.

Back to the recipe at hand; this pork is like a flavor explosion in every bite. Honestly, with every bite you get the faint sweetness from the brown sugar, a hint of garlic and cumin, and then a burst of heat from the cayenne pepper and hot sauce. And my favorite part, the hint of cinnamon lurking around the corner of each bite. I actually almost could not make this because the hubby explained to me that he does not like cinnamon unless it's on his toast. Seriously, how can you not be intrigued and in love with cinnamon? So we compromised by adding cayenne pepper.

Every bite of the pork tasted a little different, depending on where the glaze ended up during the grilling process. The glaze carmelizes and creates a nice crust on the outside, so don't mistake this for burnt meat! I think we'll be having this again soon! The original recipe roasts the tenderloin so I adapted it for the grill.

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted from Pennies on a Platter


For the spice rub:
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil

2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2½ lbs. total)

For the glaze:
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ tsp. Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce

Combine the salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork to blend. Pat the mixture over the pork tenderloins. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate 4-8 hours, or as long as you want.

Prepare a medium-hot grill. Remove meat from refrigerator and let rest 15 minutes to take the chill off. Combine brown sugar, garlic and hot sauce.

Grill the pork for 12 minutes, turning a quarter turn every 3 minutes. Top tenderloin with 1/3 brown sugar glaze. Continue to cook pork, turning every minute or so, topping twice more with glaze. Cook pork until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin measures 145 degrees or the meat is slightly pink at the center. Let the pork rest 5 minutes before slicing.


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