Last night was the 4th of July. By 10 PM the persistent cadence of small explosions filled the air, as countless self-stylized neighborhood ordnance specialists set off their fireworks. By midnight most of the explosions had died out. Though there was the occasional "whump", followed by a loud report, followed by an even louder, beery cheer. I love fireworks; I just don't want to be around them when the beer takes over and a Roman Candle "sword fight" becomes a good idea.
The other time honored 4th tradition is the cook-out. This is where Dad, who doesn't cook all year, gets to show off his grilling prowess employing a grill that produces more BTUs than the sun. I've said it before, grilling is some of the hardest cooking out there. You have to be constantly on alert for flare-ups, hot spots and over cooked protein. I swear, Mom gets Dad to grill just to put him in his place; she knows how tough grilling is.
Unlike, sauteing, which requires my "get it hot, cook it fast" approach, the variables of grilling are far more complex. For the most part you want to grill steaks over high heat. But everything else needs to be babied a bit, this is true for chicken, pork, burgers, hot dogs, vegetables and fish.
The best advice I can give you for grilling everything but a steak is: "get it hot, then turn it down". I pre-heat my grill on high for 10-15 minutes and then, just before cooking, I turn the burners down to medium. This approach still gives you grill marks, while giving your meal a chance to properly cook.
Well it's Saturday, still time to cook-out tonight and tomorrow. Here's an easy marinade for pork tenderloin. Marinade the pork for as long as you can, up to 24 hours. Tenderloins are relatively thin and grill up quickly, so most of the flavor in this meal happens overnight. Enjoy, and remember to keep your fingers away from the fireworks.
Grilled Apricot-Honey Pork Tenderloin
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup apricot nectar
1/4 cup honey
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP Mustard
2 pork tenderloins
Salt & Pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil for brushing the grilling grate
Combine the apricot preserves, apricot juice, honey, vinegar and mustard in a medium bowl.
Pre-Heat your grill. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade (discard the excess). Lightly dry the tenderloins with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before slicing.
There you go, easy, hopefully no explosions, and another meal with something a bit more intriguing than burgers. Happy Birthday America, see you soon. Until then, remember, you can do it, you can cook.