07/19/2024

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For many home cooks, cooking a meal on the grill can be intimidating, especially when it comes to cooking a piece of meat rarely used in the kitchen. But Chef Dale Talde, a Top Chef alum and host of Tastemade’s All Up In My Grill video series, says there’s no reason to feel nervous when grilling pork tenderloin this summer.

“We all need more in our lives,” Talde says of the other white meat. In his own kitchen, the process of grilling the perfect pork tenderloin begins hours before grilling time.

How to grill pork tenderloin in brine
“I like to marinate it first,” Talde says. “So put it in a salt, sugar and water solution: If you have a pork tenderloin, bone-in or bone-out, cut it into about an inch round and put it in the brine for an hour to an hour and then half. If you can, [brine] for two hours, the longer the better, but not more than 24 hours.

Brining is the process of soaking the meat in brine to soften it and make it juicier, Talde says, which will ensure the pork tenderloin stays moist and tender throughout the cooking process – while also adding some flavor.

How to season a roasted pork tenderloin
To add even more flavor, it’s essential to coat the outside of the pork tenderloin with more than just salt and pepper.

“I like a sweet and spicy [seasoning] with pork,” Talde says. “So brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika, cilantro, cumin, garlic powder – any traditional barbecue rub. For me, sure, it’s great to make your own, but there are a lot of great rubs out there …… I’d find your own rub [with] the flavor profile you’re looking for.”

How to Roast a Pork Tenderloin
While Talde makes it all sound simple, he understands why pork can be intimidating.

“There are different cuts,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s not like a steak, where you get a rib-eye steak, New York, a porterhouse, a hanger steak – cook it hot and fast, grill it on top, cook it to medium and slice it.”

“Just like pork, pork shoulder needs to be long and slow cooked, or chops [need to be cooked] low and slow,” he continues, “I think for people with a bad pork tenderloin there’s still some shock of cooking it too long, dry and almost fragile.”

Once the marinade and seasoning is complete, it’s time to head to the grill. Talde offers some guidelines to make sure grilling pork tenderloin is easy and results in a delicious end product.

“I like to grill something to about 130 or 135 degrees Fahrenheit,” he says, “and then let it rest [until the internal temperature] gets up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.”

“I like to put it right on the grill,” he says. “If you’re searing [pork tenderloin], maybe wrap it in bacon or prosciutto, but on the grill, you’re already dealing with a lot of variables, so let the pork and the smoke do the talking.”

The best way to roast a pork tenderloin
For grilling pork tenderloin, Talde says hardwood or charcoal is the best source of heat. “If you’re going to smoke anything, pork is the No. 1 priority,” he says. “If you can’t get a hardwood or charcoal grill and you’re using gas, make sure the sauce you pair with the pork is a little smoky.”

Talde says the delicious sauce is the perfect accompaniment when you need to serve the roasted pork tenderloin on a plate.

“Some care and a little finesse will go a long way, and you have to have a sauce,” he says. “I like Argentine red chimichurri with sherry vinegar and smoked paprika, lots of parsley, cilantro and garlic – but [whatever flavor you like], it needs a sauce.”

“Even with a modified barbecue sauce,” he adds, “the mustard sauce is great with pork.”

What side dishes go with grilled pork tenderloin?
Once the pork has been seasoned and roasted to perfection, the final step is to plate it with a side dish to complement its rich, bold flavor. Say goodbye to the days of dry pork and mashed potatoes: Talde suggests a lighter, more refreshing accompaniment for summer.

“Fruit pairs well with pork – peaches, nectarines, walnuts – anything that’s in season right now, lightly toasted with honey, vinegar and mustard, maybe,” he says. “I love lettuce: simple lettuce has such protein and makes a very light Chinese meal. I like that you don’t rely on heavy starches [but offer] a couple of pork meatballs, some vegetables and some fruit to accompany it.”

Chef Dale’s Five Spice Pork Tenderloin with Bacon Mustard Balsamic Vinegar and Peaches
Courtesy of Dale Tard

Marinade ingredients.
2 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Mix well and set aside.

Pork Ingredients.
4 1-inch pork tenderloins

Your favorite spice mixture

1/4 cup maple syrup

Salt to taste

2 sliced peaches (for garnish)
Instructions.
Add the pork chops to the brine and let sit for at least two hours, or up to overnight.
Remove the pork chops from the brine and season them with the salt and your favorite spice mixture.
Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Once hot, cook pork chops to medium (160 F when checked with a meat thermometer), about 5-7 minutes per side.
Using a brush, coat both sides of the pork chops with maple syrup, then immediately remove them from the pan or grill.
Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Bacon Mustard Vinaigrette Ingredients.
1/2 cup chopped bacon

1 large shallot, sliced

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Balsamic Vinegar Instructions.
In a medium-high heat skillet, fry the bacon until crisp, stirring with a spatula to avoid sticking.
Once crisp, remove bacon, add green onions and cook for 1 minute until they begin to soften.
Next, add the mustard, honey and vinegar and stir.

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