Saturday, July 5, 2008

Grilled Apricot-Honey Pork Tenderloin, Enough with the Burgers Already!

"Celebrate the birth of your nation by blowing up a small piece of it." - Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Kwik-E-Mart owner on The Simpsons, extolling the virtues of 4th of July fireworks.

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
by Crabby
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.

Place the tenderloins into a resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

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.

Brush the grate liberally with oil. Turn down the temperature to medium. Grill the tenderloins, turning once until the center is barely pink. Depending on the heat of your grill this will take anywhere from 8-10 minutes per side. Check the tenderloins with an instant read thermometer. Remove from the heat when the temperature reaches 140 degrees.

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.


eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Lovely pork dish. I also like the jalapeno glaze of the post before. Thank you for sharing.

What is the difference between apricot preserves and apricot nectar? said...

EC Vancouver,

Thank you for the nice comments. Apricot preserves are the same as apricot jam (and to a lesser extent apricot jelly). Apricot nectar is bottled apricot juice and pulp.

The preserves are something to spread on toast in the morning. The nectar is something that can be mixed with vodka to good effect.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, and I hope to make it tomorrow! Does the "2 TBSP Mustard" in the ingredients for the marinade refer to prepared mustard (like Dijon) or to mustard powder (like Coleman's)? said...


It refers to a prepared mustard. I like a country-whole grain or a honey mustard for a little for sweetness.

Anonymous said...

One of the greatest wine-food combos in the world is grilled pork with the Tempranillo grape from Spain. There are dozens of affordable Riojas(a region in Spain that specializes in Tempranillo)that would love this dish. Look on the label for the word "Crianza",as this indicates the wine did not spend too much time in a wood barrel and the fruitiness inherent in the wine will compliment the sweetness of the glaze.

Remember, you too can drink.


Anonymous said...

I *love* apricot and pork combinations. Thanks for the recipe.

hungryandfrozen said...

Hee, Roman Candle swordfighting is never a good idea! That marinade sounds so lovely :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the prompt response on the mustard, Crabby! As planned, I made the dish tonight, and it was delicious. (I admit that I did wind up using Dijon mustard in the marinade, though. Do you really think that a marinade containing a cup of apricot preserves, a half cup of apricot nectar, and a quarter cup of honey actually needs the additional sweetness that would be provided by 2 Tbsp of honey mustard [g]?)

Now, what I need is an idea of what to do with the remaining cold grilled pork loin, as one was more than enough for my wife and myself. Any suggestions? said...

Dick K, Glad to hear that the recipe worked out for you. Normally I use the whole grain "country" style mustard, but I made this once for a couple with notoriously "sweet teeth" (?), they loved the idea of honey mustard.

Leftovers!?, the evil nemesis of cooking! Suggestion 1, crusty bread, a sharp cheese, thinly sliced pork and horseradish sandwiches. Suggestion 2, and I don't have an "official" recipe here, prep some soba noodles and rinse well, toss with some rice vinegar, add cucumbers, sliced red peppers, green onions and diced pork loin for a pork-pasta salad. Suggestion 3, find a neighbor's teenager and give it to him, they'll polish off anything.

Good luck, thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

That looks great, a nice alternative to burgers. Also, I love the picture of the crab in your page header!

Anonymous said...

Had the tenderloin last night, and it was great! Also used WWB's suggestion for the wine, so we really didn't care what the tenderloin tasted like. Thanks, WWB! I have confidence! I can drink!