Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary and Garlic

You really need a grill for this recipe, either gas or charcoal. I've made it in the oven, but it's not half as good. I've also seared it in a cast-iron skillet and then finished it off in the oven. Better, but not the same as seared over an open flame. Fire does magic to rosemary and garlic and adds needed smokiness to the pork itself so all the ingredients roast into one great recipe. Sometimes I put a branch of rosemary on top of the pork as it roasts so the heat releases the oils.

This simple marinade isn't overpowering and complements the delicate pork taste. Look for tenderloins on sale. Usually, there are two per pack. And don't confuse pork tenderloin with pork loin--they are two different cuts of meat, the tenderloin living up to its name--more tender and very lean, but usually quite moist. If you are having guests, this is a great recipe. You can marinate the meat the day before and grilling is a snap. Several tenderloins will feed quite a few people.

I like my pork grilled until there's just a hint of a pink blush in the center--around 145 F. (It will continue to cook when resting. When done,  remove from grill and place on plate. Tent with foil and allow to rest about ten minutes. Save collected juices and add just a tad of water and a teaspoon of butter. Microwave just until bubbly. Cut the meat into thin slices and drizzle gravy over the top.
  • 2, 3/4 lb. pork tenderloins
For each tenderloin:
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Finely chop the garlic. Leaving it on the cutting board, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using the flat end of your knife and, working it back and forth, work the salt into the garlic forming a kind of paste. Or just use a mortar and pestle.

Remove to a small bowl. Add rest of ingredients and mix. Coat the entire tenderloin with the mixture. Sprinkle the top with about 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least several hours (I've gone as long as two days.)

About 30 minutes before grilling, remove from refrigerator and unwrap. Keep the marinade mixture on the meat.

It there's a thin "tail" on the tenderloin, fold it under and secure with a toothpick or tie it in place to create a uniform, round tenderloin.

Pre-heat grill and cook on moderate, about 350 if using a gas grill, turning every once-in-a-while until done. I like 145 F, for safety, they say about 160 F degrees, anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of meat.

Makes great, cold sandwiches if there's any leftover.

Notes: If at all possible, use "home-grown" rosemary. The flavor is more pronounced and sharper than store-bought. The older the rosemary bush, the better the taste.