"It's another tequila sunrise, staring slowly across the sky. " -The Eagles
Just the word Tequila piqued your interest, didn't it? You can admit it, I won't tell. Well unlike tequila shots, there won't be any regrets the next morning when making this spectacular summer dish I am about to share with you. It's simply lean and quick-cooking pork tenderloin, bathed in a beautifully herbaceous, slightly acidic and gorgeously green marinade. I swoon over it ever summer. Just the color of the marinade gets me going! I did not create this recipe though I tweaked it ever so slightly , increasing the amount of cilantro called for. However I no longer recall the original source, so I apologize for not being able to give proper credit here*. You will be happy to know that once the meat is cooked , the flavors still shine bright. You can slice it and eat it plain or create tacos or quesadillas with the meat as well. It's equally delicious with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, too, so why not try both? Its a great dish to entertain with as well- nothing ordinary about it yet it is so super simple to make!
Tequila-Jalapeno Pork Tenderloin serves 6-ish or more depending on how large your tenderloins are
1 cup packed cilantro (leaves with stems ok)- about 1 small bunch
2-3 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded, depending on your tolerance for spice (I use 2)
1/2 cup roughly diced onion
3 small cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3)
2 Tablespoons Tequila (I use Jose Cuervo Gold )
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon honey or granulated sugar
2 pork tenderloins (or try with boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1. Make Marinade: Combine all ingredients in blender jar.
2. Blend on high until mixture is smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute.
3. On a clean cutting board, butterfly the two pork tenderloins. To butterfly, cut not quite through each tenderloin, lengthwise, with a very sharp knife, so it opens like a book. Do not cut through!
4. Place tenderloins in a ziploc bag or non-reactive dish . If using a dish, pour half the marinade on top. Turn the tenderloins over and pour the remaining marinade on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over-night. If using a bag just pour the marinade into the bag over the tenderloins and seal.
5. When ready to cook prepare charcoal grill or preheat gas grill to medium-high heat. Clean and oil cooking grates. When ready, remove pork from marinade mixture and discard remaining marinade. Place pork onto cooking surface and grill, covered for about 7 minutes per side, turning once.
6. When done I cook mine to 145 degrees internal temperature but USDA says cook to 165 degrees F, you decide what seems good to you). Remove from grill and let rest 10 minutes before slicing (cooking will continue with carry-over heat).
7. Slice thinly cross-wise against the grain and serve immediately with sides of your choice.
I hope you love it! What's your favorite way to prepare pork tenderloin? Please share in the comments below!
* I was thinking the recipe originally was featured in Fine Cooking magazine, but I searched and searched the web for anything similar and came up empty handed.
"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."- the late great Paul Prudhomme
I just found this quote, and it perfectly sums up how I feel about food- fresh, simple and delicious. I don't want the caviar and fancy techno cooking (not that I wouldn't enjoy eating that- well, not the caviar-have had it-not impressed, but it's not central to how I feel about food and cooking). I think Mother Nature got pretty much everything right. Think of a ripe peach. Really, can you improve on that? I don't think so. It's also fitting for this recipe I have to share with you today. The humble pork rib. It's tough and not much to look at, but transforms beautifully with a little time and inexpensive seasoning.
I know it is probably blasphemous to suggest oven BBQ to anyone from certain regions of this country, but I am a working mother of two with other interests and no smoker in my backyard. Granted these ribs will lack the sweet touch of smoky goodness only real hardwood will give you, but they are satisfying and delicious if you are a rib lover. And they couldn't be easier. You do need to plan to start them at least 24-48 hours ahead of when you want to cook them as they need time to let the seasoning work its magic. You can scale this recipe up or down as long as you have the oven capacity, in case you want to make them for a crowd. The spice seasoning should be adequate for several racks of baby backs and will store fine for up to 4 months in an airtight container in your spice cabinet (would be great on BBQ or Beer can Chicken, too). The smoked paprika and smoked salt help bring a touch of that wood-smoked flavor to the ribs, but you can substitute sweet paprika and more kosher salt if you prefer. Ready to get started?
Oven-Baked BBQ Ribs -serves 4-6
2 Racks of baby back ribs
Yellow Mustard (such as French's)
Seasoning Rub (recipe below)
Barbecue Sauce (your favorite or my recipe below)
1. Lay out a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil (long enough to enclose the ribs completely) for each rack of ribs preparing.
2. Spread a thin layer of yellow mustard on top and bottom of ribs.
3. Sprinkle seasoning rub all over both sides of the ribs. Gently pat it down into mustard to adhere.
4. Wrap securely in foil, place on a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
5. Remove ribs from fridge 30 minutes before cooking. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Place ribs, on tray, into oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until ribs are very tender. Remove ribs from oven. Preheat broiler.
6. Unwrap ribs and slather tops generously with barbecue sauce. Return ribs to oven and broil until caramelized. Watch carefully so the sauce doesn't burn!
7. Remove from oven, cut into portions (I do every 2-3 ribs), serve with your favorite BBQ sides such as coleslaw, corn and watermelon! Be sure to have extra napkins on hand-this is messy good stuff! ♥
Barbecue Seasoning Spice Rub (Adapted from How to Grill by Steven Raichlen)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup smoked paprika
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
2 Tablespoon hickory or apple-wood smoked salt
4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
Sweet and Zesty Barbecue Sauce -makes approx 1 1/2 cups
(Don't be put off by the long ingredient list. It's mostly just measure and dump)
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup Ketchup (I like Heinz the best)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or smoked salt)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
dash or two of liquid smoke (optional)
1. Over medium heat saute onions and garlic in a little vegetable oil until softened and translucent.
2. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
3. Cook, stirring often, until sauce is reduced and thickened. Cool slightly before transferring to glass container. Store in refrigerator for up to a month.
thick and rich and zesty- just the way I like it! : )