I was so scared the first time I grilled pork tenderloin. I was so afraid I’d overcook it and it would be as dry and woody as sawdust like I’ve had the unpleasant experience of eating at a few restaurants and cookouts. The thing about pork is, you really don’t need to cook it until it’s white all the way through. If you do, you’ve overcooked it and you might as well nail it to the bottom of your shoes. It should still be pink in the middle, and the juices are clear. It will not make you sick and you will not get trichinosis. Since laws became strict on what was allowed hogs to be fed, there hasn’t been a single case of trichinosis reported from commercial pork in over 50 years. There are a few cases reported each year, less than a dozen, from people who raise their own hogs and feed them undercooked meat that contained the larvae, and hunters who eat wild game which in turn have eaten something they killed that contained it. You can get it in underdeveloped, third world countries that don’t have the laws that developed countries have, though. So be careful when traveling. But as far as the U.S., Canada, Europe, etc., goes, it’s safe. Ok, trichinosis lesson over. And if you still prefer yours more done, then simply add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time, but, I really wish you wouldn’t. 😉 The “over-cookers” out there have no idea of what they’re missing! Upscale restaurants cook it this way, and as a matter of fact, most restaurants are cooking this way as well now. Even the health board greatly lowered the internal temp, which is still a bit high, but at least it’s better. It comes out moist, tender, juicy and succulent. Just like a beef prime rib! Yes, that tender! And it should, because it truly is equivalent to the tenderloin of beef. Only MUCH less expensive. And you normally get two tenderloins per package! Now you see why I was nervous to grill them. But, don’t be. It was so easy, it was one the easiest things I’ve ever grilled!
Yes, it was “beer : 30” at my house! I always love to have a few beers while I grill! It’s so relaxing and makes grilling that much more fun and enjoyable when I’m not fretting. These tenderloins start off with a dry rub that I like to marinate them in overnight, then end with a “mop sauce”. Best of both worlds! The only thing about the dry rub that you should adjust to your own taste is the rosemary. Rosemary is a very potent herb and a little goes a long way. And I seem to be more sensitive to it’s taste than my hubby. My recipe calls for 2 Tbl. crushed, but next time I’m going to cut it back a bit, maybe even in half. My hubby likes it just the way it is, though, so use your own judgment on what you prefer. One thing for sure, please use crushed rosemary rather than those long, sharp, needle-like leaves if you’re like me and don’t prefer to impale the roof of your mouth with them. 😉 Fresh grilled pineapple goes wonderfully with this if you’d like to add that during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time. *The pork needs to rest, so you can throw the pineapple on the grill after the pork is done and off if you’d like. I didn’t add a thing to the pineapple because it’s natural flavor is too good to mask. I just oiled the grates before placing onto the grill to make sure they wouldn’t stick. Heaven on a plate!!
So get out there, enjoy, and be fearless! Grills are nothing to be afraid of. Just think of them as an outdoor stovetop and oven all in one except bigger with more room to play! I know there’s a grill diva just waiting inside you too, to create a spectacular meal for your family and friends outside in the fresh air! Enjoy, and hope this recipe makes it to your backyard soon! It’s truly wonderful!
SUCCULENT GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN with DRY RUB & MOP SAUCE
FOR DRY RUB:
1/4 cup smoked sweet paprika
2 Tbl. dried thyme
1-2 Tbl. crushed rosemary
2 Tbl. garlic powder (do not sub garlic salt!)
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cayenne
FOR THE MOP SAUCE:
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup Dole Pineapple Orange juice, or apple juice
2 Tbl. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. soy sauce (*I used regular — not low sodium– since I don’t add any other salt)
REST OF INGREDIENTS:
2 pork tenderloins (*usually one package has 2), 2 1/2 – 3 lbs.
1/2 cup of the dry rub
1 cup – most or all of the mop sauce, start with 1 cup and use more to taste
In small bowl, mix dry rub ingredients and set aside. Cut off any excess fat from the pork and remove any sinew (the tough fibrous tissue). Cover the pork tenderloins on all sides with dry rub and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours. (*I coated them each on 2 separate sheets of plastic wrap and wrapped them tightly, placed them in a 9×11 baking dish and marinated them overnight.)
In small bowl, mix mop sauce ingredients. Heat in microwave until hot to melt honey. Stir well, set outside by grill. Pre heat gas grill 5 minutes before cooking. Place pork tenderloins on hot grill (medium-high) with tongs. Close lid and grill the pork for 5 minutes, turn over and grill 5 minutes longer. Turn again and heavily baste with mop sauce, close lid and grill 5 minutes. Turn over, baste again and close lid for 5 more minutes. (*Total cooking time is 20 minutes.) Remove to a sun-warmed baking dish, cover, and let rest 5 minutes. Remove to cutting board and slice to serve.
*Extra dry rub and mop sauce is also wonderful on chicken, wings and fish!
**If you don’t care for rosemary at all, McCormick’s Sweet & Smokey Dry Rub works extremely well for this and blends perfectly with the mop sauce.