To turn a midweek dinner into something special, try cooking easy pork tenderloin on the grill.
To produce beautifully browned pork with a rich crust and tender, juicy meat, we started with a simple dry spice rub to add flavor; sugar aided browning while cumin and chipotle chile powder added savory smokiness.
The rub had some time to work its magic while we readied the grill. Searing the meat first guaranteed the best crust and a rosy interior, and turning the tenderloins every 2 minutes delivered even color. Once the meat had a good crust, we moved it to the cooler side to finish roasting.
To add bright flavor and enhance the smoky char of the pork, we grilled wedges of pineapple and red onion to make a quick salsa while the meat rested. To ensure that the tenderloins don’t curl during cooking, remove the silverskin from the meat. We strongly prefer natural pork in this recipe. If the pork is enhanced (injected with a salt solution), omit the salt in the first step.
GRILL-ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH GRILLED PINEAPPLE-RED ONION SALSA
Start to finish: 50 minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 (12- to 16-ounce) pork tenderloins, trimmed
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges through root end
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 tablespoons lime juice, plus extra for seasoning
For the pork: Combine salt, sugar, cumin, and chile powder in small bowl. Reserve 1/2 teaspoon spice mixture. Rub remaining spice mixture evenly over surface of both tenderloins. Refrigerate while preparing grill.
— For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
— For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place tenderloins on hotter side of grill. Cover and cook, turning tenderloins every 2 minutes, until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.
For the salsa: Brush pineapple and onion with 1 teaspoon oil. Move tenderloins to cooler side of grill (6 to 8 inches from heat source) and place pineapple and onion on hotter side of grill. Cover and cook until pineapple and onion are charred on both sides and softened, 8 to 10 minutes, and until pork registers 140 F, 12 to 17 minutes, turning tenderloins every 5 minutes. As pineapple, onion, and tenderloins reach desired level of doneness, transfer pineapple and onion to plate and transfer tenderloins to carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.
While tenderloins rest, coarsely chop pineapple. Pulse pineapple, onion, cilantro, serrano, lime juice, reserved spice mixture, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in food processor until mixture is coarsely chopped, 4 to 6 pulses. Transfer to bowl and season with salt and extra lime juice to taste. Slice tenderloins into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with salsa.
Nutrition information per serving: 381 calories; 92 calories from fat; 10 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 164 mg cholesterol; 633 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 54 g protein.
America’s Test Kitchen provided this article to The Associated Press.