Give Pork Tenderloin The Steak Treatment With A Green Peppercorn Sauce

Grilled pork tenderloin comes together fast and takes on classic French flavors in the hands of Georgia's Top Chef Kevin Gillespie

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Classic Steak Diane is served with a sauce of sautéed and cooked down onions, garlic, whiskey, stock, cream and crushed green peppercorns. Unlike black peppercorns, the green ones have a bright fruitiness to them. I love the same sauce on pork. I brine the pork first to keep in juicy and then grill it whole. The grilling only takes about 10 minutes, and while the meat’s resting, you make the sauce. Photo credit: Angie Mosier.

Course.  Dinner. 

Cuisine.  American.  French.

Makes. 4 servings

Takes. 15 minutes prep, plus 1 hour brining. 30 minutes cooking.


1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup Morton coarse kosher salt

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 1/4 pounds

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

1 carrot

2 stalks celery

1 small onion

1/4 cup bourbon or rye whiskey

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon jarred green peppercorns

1 tablespoon minced parsley

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

About the pork. Try making this recipe with pork leg filet, too. The back leg of a pig has a cluster of muscles and connective tissue holding the meat to the bone. You can use your hands separate all the muscles apart, using a knife only when necessary. Just take out any of the whole muscles from the leg; for this recipe, you want a piece about 1 1/4 pounds. Trim off silverskin, tendons and ligaments because these cause toughness. Trim off excess fat, too. You’ll be left with a long, beautiful boneless, lean piece of meat.

About the peppercorns. Jarred green peppercorns are unripe peppercorns preserved in vinegar brine (pickled). They are available in most supermarkets. Crushing them helps release some flavor and aroma since they are only briefly cooked in this recipe. Crushing also flattens out the peppercorns so they don't roll off the meat as easily. They are soft, so it doesn't take much to crush them. Click here for more info on green peppercorns (and all peppercorns).


1) Make the brine. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, salt and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to completely dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and pour into large metal bowl. Stir in ice cubes until mixture is cooled. It should take about a quart of ice cubes. Pour the brine into a gallon sized zip top bag and add the pork. Squeeze out excess air and brine for 1 hour.

2) Remove the pork from the brine and pat completely dry. Brush the tenderloin with oil and season on all sides with the pepper.

3) Fire up. Heat a grill to medium direct heat. Grill the pork, with the grill top closed, 5 minutes, then flip, grill 5 minutes more and repeat on final side until the interior temperature reaches 140°F. If using a grill pan, heat over high heat, grill the pork covered with a domed lid for the same times. Remove the pork from the grill to a plate and tent to keep warm. The pork will cook a little more as it rests. Rest the pork for about 15 minutes before slicing. Make the sauce during that time.

4) Make the sauce. Peel the carrot then finely dice the carrot, celery, and onion.

5) Heat a skillet over high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and swirl until shimmering. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, reduce the heat to medium and cook, tossing occasionally until the onions are translucent and soft, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the whiskey and carefully tilt pan away from you, toward the flame and ignite. You can also use a long match to ignite the pan. Toss the vegetables and agitate pan until the flames burn out. Add the stock and cream, bring to a boil and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced in volume by half, about 5 minutes.

6) Crush the green peppercorns under a heavy skillet or the broad side of your knife blade. Mince the parsley.

7) Strain the sauce into a bowl and discard the vegetables. Return the sauce to the skillet, stir in the mustard and peppercorns. Return the sauce to high heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, swirl in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

8) Serve. Serve a spoonful of sauce over each slice of pork.


This recipe is adapted and republished with permission from Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim. This book features more than 100 easy recipes using every part of the pig to its fullest.

Dave Joachim Editor David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks including four on barbecue and grilling, making him a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.” His Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. 




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