November 17, 2010

Double-Spiced Jerk Pork Tenderloins with Grilled Pineapple Wedges

I was in something of a Jamaican mood this past weekend.   No, I'm not talking about reggae or ganja.  Instead, I'm talking Jamaican food.  I planned out several dishes I wanted to make.  The cornerstone of the meal would be jerk pork tenderloin, which would allow me to get some more grilling in before winter weather set in.

In looking over the various versions of jerk pork I have in my recipe library, I realized right away that I wanted to do something a bit more interesting than just the standard jerk spice rub.  Great as that is, I've been there and done that in a lot of varieties.  I wanted a wider range of flavors than one typically finds in jerk, and that's when I got the idea:  I'd do a marinade that featured citrus and herbal elements in addition to the standard jerk spices, and after the tenderloins had soaked in that for the better part of the day, I'd overlay that with a more standard jerk seasoning rub, adding a second layer of spices.   Considering what to put in the rub, I added some brown sugar and some kosher salt, knowing that when grilled, these ingredients would produce a dry, crisp outer layer, sealing in juices for moist, juicy pork.

The result, I'm happy to say, was exceptionally good, more than enough so to justify the extra time and effort.  The tenderloins grilled up with a crispy layer of spices, but they were tender and moist inside, and they packed a lot more flavor than one usually gets out of pork tenderloin. 

Since fruit and pork go so well together, I also decided to grill up a fresh pineapple.   In the past, when I've grilled pineapple it has either been on skewers along with meat and vegetables, or grilled pineapple rings, cut horizontally across the a cored, peeled pineapple.   I recently saw something that caught my eye in a cookbook, however:  a pineapple cut into vertical slices and tossed on the grill along with some sort of meat.  I decided to go with that idea. 

This also turned out great.  The grilling intensified the sweetness and tartness of the pineapple, and the chunks of pineapple tasted great along with bites of the jerk tenderloin.

I also served a couple other dishes with this meal, but I'll write about those over the next couple days.  This recipe stands well on its own, and it is a definite keeper.

Double-Spiced Jerk Pork Tenderloins with Grilled Pineapple Wedges

yield = 4 servings

1       bunch green onions, white and green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2    habanero pepper (or 2 jalapenos), chopped
1/2    cup (packed) parsley leaves
1/4    cup orange juice
2       tablespoons lime juice
2       tablespoons light brown sugar
1       tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1       2-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1       teaspoon ground allspice
1       teaspoon ground cloves
1       teaspoon salt
1/2    teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

2       whole (1 pound each) pork tenderloins

Spice Rub
3       green onions (white parts only), minced fine
1       habanero pepper, minced fine
2       teaspoons light brown sugar
1       teaspoon ground allspice
1       teaspoon garlic powder
1       teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2    teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2    teaspoon ground cloves
1/2    teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2    teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg

Pineapple Wedges
1      whole, fresh pineapple

Add all of the marinade ingredients in a food processor and puree into a thick, gloppy paste.

Put the tenderloins into a large zipper-close bag, then pour the marinate paste into the bag.  Zip the bag closed, leaving some air in the bag, and shake the bag to coat the tenderloins with the paste.  Open the bag, press out as much air as possible, then zip the bag shut again.  Refrigerate, turning occasionally, for at least two hours or preferably overnight.

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl.

Remove the tenderloins from the plastic bag, shaking loose excess marinade, and discard the bag along with the marinade.  Use your hands to rub the spices into the meat on all sides.  Place the tenderloins in a baking dish and cover the dish, but do not return the tenderloins to the refrigerator.

Preheat grill, brush grill rack with oil, and heat rack. 

Halve the pineapple from top to bottom.  Set one half on a cutting board and cut at a diagonal toward the core to make three wedge-shaped slices.   Repeat with the other half pineapple. 

Place the tenderloins on the grill over direct heat and cover the grill.  After 10 minutes, flip the tenderloins and place the pineapple slices on one of the cut sides over direct heat.  Cover the grill, then after another five minutes flip the pineapple slices.  Cover the grill again and cook for 5 minutes, or until the pork tenderloins reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees.   Remove the tenderloins from the grill to a plate and tent with foil, then  do the same with the pineapple slices.  Let the tenderloins rest for 5 minutes before slicing, then serve.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the advice on cleaning a grill. Spreading degreaser over the grates prior to scraping with a brush would aid in easier residue removal. Good post.