Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Southern Style
Pork is such a versatile meat – ham, bacon, ribs, chops and yes, pork tenderloin. That’s not even counting chitterlings.
In fact, pork tenderloin is popular across the world. That’s why you see a lot of “fusion” recipes for pork tenderloin – soy, Habanero, vodka, lavender – it’s all out there.
But how about a true Southern recipe?
I’m not sure there is an official blueprint for pork loin Southern style, but if we start with barbecue sauce, add peaches, maybe a little vinegar and a shot of bourbon, we should be headed in the right direction.
- Whole pork tenderloin
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup Peach jam or preserves (chop it up if it’s chunky)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (whatever you’ve got – thyme, oregano, marjoram, parsley, chives or sage all work)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar
- 1 shot of bourbon
If you object to bourbon on principle, you can substitute a splash of Cheerwine instead. Let’s see our readers in New York and California find that in the supermarket!
Trim the meat of any fat and silverskin. Pop it in a baking dish or large ziplock bag.
Combine the marinade ingredients and fork-whip it a little until it’s smooth. Pour the marinade over the pork. Seal the ziplock (or cover the baking dish) and refrigerate.
(About marinading times: most recipes say “marinate for 40-50 minutes” or some such thing. Seriously, if you marinade most things overnight, you will get a much richer flavor.)
Fire up the grill to a medium heat.
Keep the tenderloin off any open flare-ups. Cook for 20-30 minutes, turning the meat every five minutes or so.
The meat will shrink considerably – about 15% – when it is fully cooked. For those of you who use a meat thermometer, 155° F minimum at the center.
If you’re not sure if the meat is done, take it off the grill onto a cutting board and slice it in the middle. If it’s not cooked, throw both pieces back on for a few minutes.
When the meat is cooked, cover with foil and let sit for ten minutes before cutting into 1/2″ slices.
Serving and Sides
While the tenderloin is grilling, pour the leftover marinade in a pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the flame and let it simmer for ten minutes. The marinade will thicken a little and you can drizzle it over the cooked pork.
Biscuits always go well with a Southern meal. As for fresh vegetables, cucumbers and tomatoes are in season. Or sautè up some spinach or Swiss chard with a little salt, pepper olive oil and a dash of vinegar.
Sliced watermelon makes a nice summer dessert, but no one ever objects to cake.
Photo by Joshua Bousel.
Food coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Thai Spices & Sushi on Cary Parkway at the corner of High House Road.