A nice, tasty grilled meal that’s ready in about 30 minutes.
Pork tenderloin is the new boneless, skinless chicken breast. It’s quick cooking and endlessly adaptable. If you’re not familiar, the tenderloin is a long narrow, tapered muscle that lies just below the loin starting just behind the last rib of the pig. It’s about the size and shape of a forearm, about 10 inches long, and weighs about two pounds, perfect for 2 to 3 servings. Tenderloins are often sold in two-packs so you get 4 to 6 servings of the tenderest cut on the hog. It has a mild porky taste that plays well in just about every cuisine from Italian and French to Chinese and Thai. Pork tenderloin can be grilled quickly over direct heat, and it’s often cut crosswise into disks called medallions, which are ideal for quick pan searing. Don’t confuse it with pork loin, a larger log of meat that can be up to 3 feet long and weigh 16 pounds.
Serve with: Chenin blanc
- ¼ pound thinly sliced pancetta
- ½ cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin (about 2 tenderloins)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Fire up. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking by placing a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets on one side of the grill’s charcoal grate in order to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to about 400°F on the indirect side. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 400°F on the indirect side.
- Prep. Cut two 12-inch squares of waxed paper or parchment paper. Place 1 paper square on a work surface. Lay half of the pancetta slices on the paper, overlapping them by about 1 inch to create a square large enough to accommodate the length of a tenderloin. Spread half of the mustard evenly over the pancetta and then scatter half of the sage evenly over the mustard.
- Season the tenderloins all over with the salt and pepper. Lay 1 tenderloin on the pancetta square about 1 inch in from the edge nearest you, placing it parallel to the edge. Fold the uncovered edge over the tenderloin and, using the paper, tightly roll up the tenderloin in the pancetta. Repeat with the second paper square and the remaining tenderloin and other ingredients. Let them rest in the paper while the grill finishes heating.
- Cook. Brush the grill grate clean. Remove the paper from each tenderloin, and put the tenderloins on the grate away from the fire. Put the lid down and cook until the pancetta is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pork registers 145°F, 20 to 25 minutes. If the pancetta is not crisp, use a spatula and tongs to move the tenderloins directly over the fire for the last 3 to 4 minutes of cooking, leaving the grill uncovered and turning the tenderloins frequently.
- Serve. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut into slices ½ inch thick.
This recipe is adapted with permission from Williams-Sonoma Grill School by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim. This book features more than 100 easy recipes and 30 essential lessons for cooking on fire.