Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooking with Less: Grilling a Perfect Pork Tenderloiin

There are a few things you need to know about me and grilling. First, I love it. Unless the weather doesn't allow me to, I'm at my grill as many days as possible, any season. Second, while I enjoy both, grilling and cooking are two entirely different things. You must recognize that and respect them both individually. Just like cooking and baking are two different things. I don't bake, I cook. I also grill. Third, while my mom taught me to cook, I am a self-taught griller. (My dad didn't do any meal preparation. He worked his a$$ off providing for four children instead.)

And let me tell you: grilling isn't easy. I've overcooked and undercooked a lot of pork tenderloins and other lovely cuts of meat, pork, fish, and chicken in my day. That's why I am here to help you. For spring has sprung and the grill will be perpetually fired up from now until Thanksgiving. (And beyond in my yard, weather permitting.) And some things, like pork tenderloin, are best on the grill.

Real men eat off of
ladybug plates

-1 Pork Tenderloin (about 1 lb.)
-6 oz. Caribbean Jerk marinade (I laugh every time I say or see "Caribbean Jerk." Every time.)

Tools (other than yourself):

-Your grill


1. Marinate the pork tenderloin for at least 30 minutes. For this one, I started marinating it at 11:30am, and grilled it around 5:15pm. I also find a Mojo Criollo marinade is good with pork tenderloin. Anything with some acidity that will form a nice crispy char from the grill.

2. Heat your grill on high for 10 minutes.

3. Place Tenderoin on center of grill. Keep the lid open.

4. DON'T close the lid and walk away. That's a lovely and expensive piece of pork you just put over that open flame. What's the matter with you? This is why you need my help.

5. Move the tenderloin around every minute or so. That way it doesn't stick to the grill in case, like me, you forget to coat the grates regularly.

5. After about 5 minutes, turn it over.

6. Reduce heat to medium. (If you have three burners like I do, reduce heat on all three.)

7. NOW close the lid.

8. Walk away and start preparing and/or check on your side dishes. You only have five minutes.

9. Open the lid. See where it needs more char, and place it thusly. Close lid. Keep doing that, turning the tenderloin and closing the lid every 3-5 minutes. You're charring it with the flame while cooking it on the inside with the heat. But the medium heat isn't overcooking it and drying it out. Feel free to walk away. But for no longer than five minutes.

10. Actually, your grill is not a crock pot. Don't. Walk. Away.

11. In fact, why not just pull up a patio chair, crack open a beer and sit there? Should be another 10-15 minutes, depending on your grill.
My grill's a little dirty;
But my tenderloin is still perfect.

12. Reduce heat to LOW. Close cover. Walk away to finish/check on your side dishes. Return in no more than 5 minutes.

13. Open that grill, and behold your perfectly grilled pork tenderloin. If it's a little too pinky on the inside for your liking, keep it on the grill covered for longer and monitor it. Keep in mind that it will keep cooking for 10-15 minutes once it's off the grill. Total grill time: 30-45 minutes.

14. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Making it Peanut-friendly:

1. Pork tenderloin, when grilled DKL-style, is juicy enough on the inside and flavorful enough on the outside that Peanut calls it "chicken" and loves it.

2. When Peanut finally realized a few weeks ago that pork came from a pig, she was a little grossed out. Then she realized how tasty daddy's pork tenderloin is.

3. This night I served it with sauteed green beans with garlic and olive oil, and some oven-roasted potatoes with a 1/2 tablespoon of butter, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Cube the potatoes and cook them in a pyrex coated with cooking spray for about 45 minutes.

Peanut's perfect plate


  1. Great tips !! and Ha Ha very funny ! Looks like you need a lot of patience which is why I never grill. Will have my grill man read this post so he can make the perfec tenderloin !!Like Peanut's platter and the pork looks pretty perfect.

    1. Patience IS key. Ironic, considering I have very little yet and still good at grilling.

  2. Right off the bat I was looking at your "Tools" for grilling and wondering where the beer was. Glad to see you brought it in, it's a critical element.

    I gauge my grill time by the number of beers it requires...this is obviously an inexact science.

    1. Yes. This is a two beer kind of project.


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