Now that the weather is warming up I find my self using my grill nearly every evening after work to whip up a nice dinner. One of my favorite meats to cook on the grill is pork tenderloin, which is a lean, tender and tasty cut of pork. Since tenderloin is so lean, I do a couple of things to make sure it really stands out and does not become dry and bland. Before heading out the door in the morning I coat two pork tenderloins in a wet spice rub marinade (dry spices and oil and lime juice) and leave them in the refrigerator to get to know one another for the day. I get home from work, turn them around and let them sit out on the counter to come up to room temperature for about an hour while I go exercise. After a workout I light the grill, prep some veggies for a couple of side dishes and I have a hot, healthy, and delicious dinner on the table in no time. Since I cooked two tenderloins I also have a whole one left over for a second unique meal the next night (pork carnitas). More on that next time. For now, let me show you how I make the rub, cook the meat, as well as make spiced sweet potato fries and some crispy fried zucchini.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- 2 pork tenderloins
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- juice and zest of one lime
- chili powder, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, black pepper
Place tenderloins in a glass dish or zip-lock bag and add a few good shakes of each of the spices, substituting others if you wish. Add the oil, lime juice and zest and rub all over the tenderloins so they are well coated. Marinade for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat your grill over a high flame and brush the grill with a little oil or cooking spray. Lay the tenderloins on the grill and cover. I aim to turn the tenderloins every 4 minutes or so, rotating on 4 sides to get nice grill marks. Because the tenderloins are usually tapered (thicker on one end) and because grills often have uneven heat, you'll have to strategically arrange the meat every few minutes to attempt even cooking. After I get a good sear on all surfaces I reduce the heat to low and cook until I get an internal temperature of 150 degrees. I then remove the tenderloin from the grill to a plate and cover with foil for 5-10 minutes to let rest before slicing. I'm looking for a slightly pink center so that it's safe to eat and still very tender and juicy. With a little practice you can achieve this without a meat thermometer, but you are unsure I'd recommend using one. Slice the meat thick slices on the bias and serve. After slicing season the meat with some kosher salt.
Sweet Potato Fries
Rinse and scrub 2 sweet potatoes (peel off any dark spots) and cut into french fry size. Lay onto a baking sheet and toss with a 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and a few shakes of chili powder. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Watch carefully at the end as the high sugar content means these can burn easily.Remove from the oven and season with freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt.
Here is a super simple way to give plain green zucchini some extra appeal by giving your dish some texture and contrast. Simply slice the zucchini into round slices or into long spears. Season with a little seasoning salt and dredge in plain old corn starch. This makes for a very light, tempura-like batter. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet and get it nice and hot. Remove the zucchini from the corn starch and saute in the hot oil. Cook on one side until golden brown, 3-4 minutes and cook on the other side for a couple f minutes. Drain on a paper towel and season lightly with a little seasoned salt.