Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin

I can't believe it's taken me 2 years to blog about this recipe. It's one of our favorites and is GREAT for summertime entertaining! I originally saw this recipe on an episode of "Good Eats with Alton Brown". The episode was all about pork tenderloin being the new week-night lean meat. Trust me, you've never had pork tenderloin until you've had this pork tenderloin.

(ok so that's not my photo, but dang it looks good!)

Every time we make this for company, someone asks for the recipe. For once, I took photos WHILE I cooked!!

Here are the players for the marinade(minus the lemons, plus garlic powder):

For one tenderloin, you need 1/2 cup fresh lime juice(about 4 limes). This takes a surprising amount of muscle. Maybe one of those squeezy handle things would be easier, but I have the old school kind. I usually make a man do this, if there is one around, so I can move on to other things.

Oh, you should probably do this step before juicing. You need zest from one lime. You don't have to have to zest it after it's been juiced. That's seems frustrating. I guess you could also buy an extra lime to be on the safe side.

Once all the juicing and zesting is done, add 1/4 cup of honey, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.

Mix it well.

The last ingredient is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The original recipe calls for 1 pepper chopped, but once that can is opened, you can't save the others, so why waste them. I add half the can, which is about 3 peppers. This does not make it too hot. Just give them a quick chop and set them aside.

Now for the pork. I'm only doing one tenderloin, but the package comes with two, so I go ahead and trim the fat and silver skin off of both and freeze the other.

Add the pork to a gallon sized zip lock bag. Pour in only HALF the lime juice mixture. The other half is for basting and resting. Add the peppers to the bag. Seal and mush it around. Pop it into the fridge for 2-6 hrs.

Now go get one of those men that I called for earlier. This is the man part. Not that girls can't grill. I just don't. So here's where the instructions get a little vague. We have a gas grill(I do know that much). And I've always heard that "low and slow" is best. I really don't know how many minutes it takes to cook. Maybe 20. Best to use a thermometer. Take it off the grill when it's between 140-145 degrees. That might sound low to some of you, but the expert chefs all do it this way and it's the only way to keep the meat juicy. Plus, it does keep cooking after it comes off the heat.

While your man(or maybe you are the man) is grilling the meat. Make a canoe/pocket out of aluminum foil to rest the meat.

When the meat comes off the grill, pop it in here and pour on the OTHER half of the lime juice mixture. Seal the pocket up and let it rest for 10 min.

This is a good time to chop up some cilantro garnish. It's not the same without it.

Now it's time to carve.

For plating, you can spoon on the juice from the aluminum pocket(for more flavor), and top with cilantro.

Here's what mine looks like. What it really needs is some Mexican corn salsa. Mmmm, I'll have to try that next time. I also serve it with cilantro-lime rice.

  • 1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
  • 1 lime, zest finely grated
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. Juice 4 limes, and zest one of them. Add 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 garlic powder. Mix well.
2. Chop 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
3. Trim pork and add to zip lock bag. Pour in half of the lime mixture. Top with peppers. Seal and mix.
4. Grill pork until center reaches 140 degrees. Rest for 10 min in an aluminum pocket with reserved juice.
5. Slice and serve with reserved juice and cilantro.

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