Feb 11, 2016

Are You A PORK LOVER?

I'm a pork lover, always have been and always will be. I'm in good company, because Hawaiians also love pork as much as I do. Three of my favorite pork recipes are Roast Pork Belly, Pork Ribs using my Pork Rib Rub, and Rosemary Pork Rib Roast with Mustard Gravy

One of my favorite cuts of pork is pork tenderloin, because it's tender, with no fat, and it couldn't be easier to cook. I usually buy two of them so I can have leftovers to use in Potluck Fried Rice or Stir-Fried Pork with Ginger and Napa Cabbage, but my favorite is to make chopped pork tenderloin sandwiches topped with my "Memphis-Style" Hawaii Barbecue Sauce, then piled high with my Sweet Memphis-Style Coleslaw (see photo below).

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Brown Sugar



There are many ways to cook pork tenderloin, but let's talk about how easy it is to just roast it. I think pork tenderloin needs a little extra flavor. Sometimes I will marinate the tenderloin overnight in a zip-loc freezer bag with soy sauce, fresh ginger, and sesame oil. Other times I will make Sweet and Savory Roast Pork Tenderloin with honey and oyster sauce. But here is a simple way to prepare pork tenderloin by giving it a rub made up of salt and pepper to taste, with a tablespoon of brown sugar. The salt and pepper seasons the pork, while the brown sugar gives the pork a chance to caramelize a little while in the oven, giving it that burnt sugar crust. Naturally you can add other herbs and spices to the rub depending on your taste. Sometimes I'll add chopped rosemary and minced fresh garlic to the dry rub.

Chopped Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
with Sweet Memphis-Style Coleslaw

Click on photo to view larger
After you have given the pork tenderloin a flavor rubdown, grab a large, heavy oven-proof skillet. I use a cast iron skillet that I have had for many years, and is essential in my kitchen. Put the skillet on a burner that has been turned up to medium-high heat, swirl in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. When the oil gets hot, carefully add the seasoned tenderloin. Sear the meat, turning every 2 minutes or so until it's browned on all sides, for a total of about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400˚F. Place the hot skillet, with the browned tenderloin, on the center rack of the oven after it has come up to temperature. Roast the meat for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning it over halfway through cooking, until the tenderloin reaches 140˚F with a meat thermometer inserted into its middle, or until the juices run clear when poked with a knife. At that point, remove the skillet from the oven (you don't want to overcook it because it will get dry), and place the tenderloin on a cutting board. Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing it across the grain into 1/4 inch ready-to-eat medallions. Serve with brown rice or sweet potato steak fries, steamed asparagus drizzled with lime juice and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. 

A one pound pork tenderloin will easily serve 2 people.


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