Since I started creating and writing up my own recipes, I have fallen behind in reading my cooking magazine. I finally got around the Cook’s Illustrated for May-June. They had a recipe for grilled pork tenderloin that sounded interesting, so I thought I would try it.
I though their marinade a bit one dimensional, but their techniques seemed like good ideas. Starting with their recipe, I tossed out ingredients that I disapproved of and added some things to make it more Sichuanese. Twenty minutes seemed like an absurdly short marinating time, so I prepared my meat the night before.
A pork tenderloin is a long piece of meat, two inch around at one end tapering down to one inch at the other. The usual way to cut up a tenderloin is to cut it straight across the grain. This produces boring cylinders of meat that start off large and end up small. This is not ideal for even grilling. My solution was to roll-cut the tenderloins, which produces even, interesting shaped, 1×2 inch pieces of pork.
After Dinner Note: This dish came out very nicely. The pork was tender, juicy and flavorful. The only change I made to the posted recipe from what I actually made, was to increase the amount of the marinade—so that I could have some sauce to serve at the table on the side .
Karl’s Sichuan Barbecued Pork Tenderloin
4 Tbs. Hoisin sauce
4 Tbs. Shaoxing, rice wine
2 Tbs. light soy sauce
2 Tbs. dark soy sauce
4 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
2 tsp. Sichuan pepper, ground
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 tsp. black vinegar
10 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
2 pork tenderloins (about 2 lbs.)
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. corn starch mixed with 1 Tbs. shaoxing
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a small pot and set it aside.
2. Cut the tenderloins into even chunks.
3. Sprinkle the pork with the salt and toss to coat the meat evenly.
4. Put the pork in a seal-able gallon bag and add half of the marinade.
5. Mix the sauce into the meat, press the air out and seal the bag. Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.
Tip: Cover the rest of the sauce and reserve.
6. String the meat chunks on metal skewers and blot the pieces dry with paper towels.
Tip: You are not trying to wipe off the marinade, you are just trying to soak up any excess moisture.
Note: Discard any marinade remaining in the bag.
7. Put the skewers on a wire rack and let them air dry for one hour.
8. Heat the remaining marinade/sauce in the pan and add the cornstarch to thicken it.
9. Remove the pot from the heat and pour half of the sauce into a cup.
Tip: You will use this as a basting sauce on your meat half way through its cooking time.
Note: Reheat the rest, just before serving, as a side sauce at the table.
10a. For a charcoal grill, clean and oil the grate and build a single layer of coals. Cover and let the grill heat up for five minutes.
10b. For a gas grill, clean and oil one side of the grate. Turn on all the burners, close the lid and let it heat up for 15 minutes.
11. Lay the skewers directly over the heat and cover the grill.
Tip: For the gas grill, turn off the unused burners after you close the lid.
12. Char the meat for 3-4 minutes, undisturbed.
13. Turn the skewers over and baste the meat with the sauce.
14. Insert a constant read thermometer into the thickest piece of pork and close the grill.
Tip: Cook’s Illustrated called for a temperature of 140º F. I thought this was just a bit under done. I prefer to set my alarm at a temperature of 142º F.
15. Leave the grill undisturbed until the alarm goes off, about 4-5 more minutes.
16. Remove the skewers to a platter and wrap with aluminum foil.
Tip: In the foil, the meat will continue to cook to an internal temperature of about 145º F
17. Remove the meat from the skewers and arrange on the serving plate.
18. Serve warm, garnish with the green onions.