Grilled Jalapeño-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Yesterday I meant to post the recipe for the grilled pork tenderloin which we made at our Foodbuzz 24 x 24 swanky party, but I got sidetracked by 5 hours of homework. And today I got sidetracked by all that worky work busy bee stuff.
The pork was a big hit, as it has a “wow” factor. God, I hate using that term. But it really does. Sigh. I need to get the hell out of Corporate America, because I find CorpSpeak infiltrating my everyday conversation. I won’t drive down CorpSpeak Lane right now because it makes me completely insane, and as much as misery loves company, I won’t let this be a showstopper.
Get it? I used a CorpSpeak Term on you. Showstopper. Get it?? Huh? Never mind. Anyone have an icepick I can shove up my nose with which to mix my brain up?
If you’re doing a small pork tenderloin, like a 1 to 2 pounder, follow the stuffing recipe like listed below. But if you’re doing a big honkin’ hog, like the one we did this weekend which was about 5 pounds, double the stuffing.
Now, if you want to do this right, you’ll need to brine it the night before (or, the morning of, at the latest). Brining isn’t daunting at all, and in fact it’s super simple to do and will ensure that your pork doesn’t dry out when cooking. This is especially important if you’re cooking a big huge tenderloin. I’m going to get completely non-technical on you with this brine recipe: in a saucepan on the stove, combine a couple of cups of water with a handful of Kosher salt, a handful of brown sugar, and a couple of black peppercorns. What is a handful? I don’t know. Two or three tablespoons worth? It doesn’t really matter. Just get it in there. Turn the heat on, bring it to a boil, and let it boil for a few minutes, stirring to ensure that the sugar and salt dissolve. Then turn it off and let it come to room temperature. If you’re in a super big hurry, toss some ice in there to get it to cool down more quickly. Put the pork in a Tupperware-type container with a tight fitting lid, and pour the liquid over it. Add plain water if said liquid doesn’t cover the meat completely. Cover with the lid, and put in the fridge overnight.
A few hours before you’re going to cook, make the stuffing:
. 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
. 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
. 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
. 2 tablespoons oregano, chopped
. 2 tablespoons lime juice
. 2 teaspoons garlic, minced or grated on a microplane grater
. 1 shallot, diced
. 2 tablespoons olive oil
. Salt, pepper
Put all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Next, take the pork out of the brine and throw the brine away. Rinse the pork under cold running water, washing off all the brine. Pat dry with paper towels and put it on a non-wood cutting board. By non-wooden cutting board, I mean one of those big plastic ones, because you’ll never be able to disinfect the wood one with all the porky germs you’ll cover it with. You’ll want to stuff the pork, so in order to do so, get a sharp knife and cut the tenderloin from one end to the other, straight down the middle WITHOUT cutting through all the way. This will butterfly the pork so that you can open it up a bit. Next, take the flat end of a meat tenderizer/meat hammer/tin can and pound away until the pork is evenly flattened all over. Don’t go insanely crazy with it by taking out your aggressions or anything, but you do want it to be much thinner than before.
Once you have it flat enough to your liking, spread the filling in the middle all the way down the length of the tenderloin. Then, roll the two long sides together and get some butcher’s twine ready. You’ll want to truss it, which means tie it up so that the filling doesn’t fall out. If you’re afraid to truss, just cut a bunch of short lengths of twine and tie the pork up at intervals. But it’s easy to do once you get the first one going; like a brown paper package tied up with string (cue Julie Andrews here). Once you have your pork all bondaged up and ready to go, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two.
When you’re about ready to cook, get your grill going. Take the pork out of the fridge, unwrap the plastic wrap, and oil the pork with a bit of canola or vegetable oil. Salt and pepper it all over – but don’t go too crazy on the salt, as it will have soaked up some from the brine. When the grill is ready, plop the tenderloin down on the hottest part and flip it around to get some good grill marks every few minutes. After you get some initial grill marks, move the pork over to the cooler side of the grill and put the lid down. Cook until you’ve reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees F (making sure you’re temping the meat and not the stuffing), usually about an hour or so. And this, my friends, is why you need a meat thermometer. How else are you supposed to know if the pork is cooked? You can’t tell if it’s ready by looking at it. Those digital things are super inexpensive these days. If you don’t have one, get one.
Anyway, once it’s reached 155 degrees F internal temperature, pull the meat off to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise during this time, but mainly, the meat will rest which is VERY important. Then, carve and eat.
Man, this was a long winded recipe. Perhaps not necessarily for a school night, but most definitely to be made on a day when you’ve got some time and want to impress people.