Tonight, I had the best pork I’ve ever had. Actually, no. The only pork I’ve ever had. Because growing up, I hated pork! It was always the tasteless, overcooked, dry cousin of chicken; why eat it? But I’d never really had well-prepared pork and honestly never cared too.
Until tonight. We had two pork tenderloins sitting in our fridge and I knew that these had to be good — become good. My mom suggested looking in the Joy of Cooking to find a grilled tenderloin recipe that she’d used before to great success. (Where was I?!) The recipe called for oil, salt, pepper, and a 10 minute grill on each side. Simple enough! But then, in typical Joy fashion, there were the various changes that could be made to the original recipe. The Southwestern Dry Rub caught my eye, and I went to work on making a spice rub so that it could sit on the pork for at least an hour or so before grilling time. And I (gasp) replaced fresh cumin seeds (to be toasted and ground) for some pre-ground cumin, because that’s what was in our spice drawer. I don’t think there ended up being too much of a difference.
Knowing that the pork would be spicy, I decided to also follow Joy’s idea of serving with a pear chutney. However, the book’s version called for almost 2 hours of prep/cook time. So, I took some seemingly-vital ingredients and some store-bought ones (I had time for a quick run while the pork marinated) and hoped for the best. I ended up using Bartlett pears because they felt the most ripe at the store, but I’m sure D’Anjou pears would’ve worked just as well.
Served with some mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and roasted broccoli, the pork dinner ended up being memorable and, most importantly, a positive pork experience. For any pork-doubters, or people cooking for pork-haters, definitely utilize this recipe and basic cooking method: Spice rub + quick grill (don’t overcook!) + chutney = foolproof dinner.
- 2 Pork Tenderloins
- Southwestern Spice Rub (recipe follows)
- 3 ripe or nearly-ripe Bartlett pears, medium diced
- 1/2 cup All-Natural Pear Preserves
- 2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
- 6 Whole Cloves
- Olive Oil
- 1 Small Shallot, minced
For the Pork Tenderloin:
- Make 1 cup of the Southwestern Spice Rub in a small bowl by combining: 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 cup paprika, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp crushed red pepper, 2 tbsp salt, and 2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns.
- Place the pork tenderloins on a sheet pan and thoroughly cover and massage with the spice rub. Use all of it. Cover and place in a fridge 2-12 hours, removing when ready to grill.
- Grill for about 20 minutes total, turning occasionally, on a medium-hot grill until the internal temperature is about 150º.
- Remove to a warmed plate, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes.
- Slice on a bias (diagonal) and serve.
For the Pear Chutney:
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the minced shallot and cook for a few minutes until translucent.
- Add the diced pears and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the pear preserves, cider vinegar, cloves, and a tablespoon of water.
- Bring to a boil, and then simmer covered for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before serving.