Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BBQ Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Captain's Log

Whoo boy! I tell you what! I have put in eight hours for the new job (training and orientation........ split between two non-consecutive days) and I am whupped! Also wedding planning. And I'm getting up at 6am these days in order to reset my sleep cycle for once the job starts full time. Maybe this has something to do with my exhaustion? You see, I'll have a 6:30am start time every day starting June 1, and I care deeply about my 9-10 hours. I'm trying to stay ahead of the curve. I am one of those people who needs a lot of sleep. If you couldn't tell.

Anyway, I might be a little more glib than usual in this post because I'm hurtin for couch time! 

I started with the basic slew of pantry ingredients that I like to use for BBQ pulled pork:
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Tomato paste
  • Brown sugar
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Hot sauce of some sort
  • Something smoky (either liquid smoke or smoked paprika)
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Cocoa powder
  • Mustard of some sort
  • Black pepper
  • 1-3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced or grated or smashed or whatever. I'm sure garlic powder would be fine too.
I literally raked items off the counter in order to take this picture.
Forgot these in the original photo shoot.
Other delicious (and traditional) BBQ things you might consider adding:
  • Cinnamon
  • Coffee (either brewed or instant)
  • Cola
  • Onion powder and/or sliced fresh onion
I do not add salt to this recipe because a lot of the items listed above are already plenty salty.

One of the main reasons I wanted to post this recipe is because it came 100% from my experience (no base recipe), and it's very forgiving. I prepared the marinade in 10 minutes after we got in from a grocery run, literally splashing some of each item into a freezer bag, very nearly willy-nilly. This isn't a statement on my expertise, I mean to convey that this is a "can't lose" combination of ingredients. 

Once everything was in the bag, I rubbed it around to mix and dissolve the sugar, added the meat, marinated for three hours, then baked it. That's it! BBQ magic! For posterity as well as educational purposes, though, I'll try to be a bit more detailed regarding the proportions in the BBQ sauce/marinade.

All of the following are estimates. 
  • 1/2 c brown sugar 
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 c cider vinegar
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 T smoked paprika (or 1tsp liquid smoke)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1T cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin  (I don't like cumin much. But I appreciate its contribution in a controlled setting such as this. Use more if you like it.)
  • Cayenne and hot sauce to taste
Mix all these items together in a bowl or, shoot, just do it in the freezer bag! Of course, you can taste the sauce before adding the meat and decide for yourself if it needs more of anything. I've never done this though. Like, not even the first time. I'm wild that way. I tend to taste the sauce for this purpose at the end, rather than the beginning. The culinary community recommends tasting at both stages.

The pork tenderloin I used was 2.2 lbs, pictured below.
I cut this in half so it would fit in my freezer bag. See how the meat has a different muscle section running along the top? This part separated in the process of marinating so I actually ended up with four pieces of meat rather than two. Perfect for His and Hers portioning!
Here's a shot of the marinade in the bag:
I know it looks kinda gross. This is so you can get a sense for quantity.
E'erbody in the bag gettin saucy
I let this sit in the fridge for three hours, then baked (ON FOIL COVERED PAN) (THE FOIL IS ESSENTIAL) at 450°. I started taking the internal temperature at 20 mins, in part because I didn't bother to read instructions anywhere and I didn't know how long it would need! I do know, though, that pork is supposed to get to 145°. I think the total cooking time ended up being 30-40 mins, plus 5-10 mins resting before we cut into it. So.... if you're following this recipe for your own purposes, start with 30 mins if your tenderloin is the same size as mine. 

NB: The temperature continues to rise a little after you take it out of the oven.

As for that beautiful marinade: I put the pork in a foil-covered pan to cook and I poured the marinade in a saucepan. As the pork cooked, I boiled the sauce to kill off anything from the raw meat and also to thicken it. Midway through roasting, I basted the pork with the thickened sauce. Once the sauce has boiled a while, you can start tasting it and making improvements as needed. I added black pepper and cider vinegar to mine in order to wake it up. It ultimately got thick enough to coat a spoon and it was flippin amazing for drizzling/dunking the finished pork.
That's sliced garlic you're seeing. Also this is pre-boiling, which is why it's not thick and luscious. 
This is what the meat looked like when it was done:
See the blackened foil? Don't ruin your pans! Foil is your friend!
Nice, right? The hot oven plus sugary sauce is what makes it blacken so nicely. Delicious! Tenderloins are amazing, as well, for staying tender and juicy. This was super good. I highly recommend it. Of course, if you have access to an outdoor grill, you should use it. 

I'll still post about pulled pork the next time I make it because the procedure is different, but the sauce is pretty much the same. ... I'll also make an effort to actually measure so the recipe can be followed more faithfully.


  1. Oh Man!!!!! Aunt L here......this pulled pork looks delicious.
    I thought I made a good pulled pork but mine does not compare!

    1. Thanks! We should swap recipes and/or techniques. I want to learn!