Pork Tenderloin on Gas Grill
Method 1 of 4: Prepping the Meat
- Buy fresh meat with a healthy pink color to grill. Tenderloin is a very lean meat, making it easy to dry out and make tough, regardless of how you cook it, especially if you're worried about cooking it well-done because you're concerned about freshness. It's perfectly fine to cook pork to medium if you've purchased fresh meat from a reputable source, and it'll be much more delicious to buy it and cook it right away, when the meat is at its peak freshness.
- Discard pork with any grayness or discoloration, and with any strange odor. Fresh pork should be bright pink and should have no noticeable odor.
- Trichinosis, a parasite once common in undercooked and raw pork products, has been virtually eradicated in commercially-available pork. In the US, there are roughly 11 cases of trichinosis reported each year, most of which are contracted from wild game, not pork you bought at the store. While it's not necessary to char the heck out of pork for fear of this stomach bug, pork is as susceptible to spoilage as any meat.
- Clean the meat and trim away any imperfections. Tenderloin should be mostly pink and clean, with few bits of connective tissue or fat attached. If you get a piece that does have some, trim it off and discard it.
- Do not rinse raw meat in the sink, which can spread bacteria around your clean kitchen. Simply pat it dry with a paper towel, if there are any undesirable bits stuck to it.
- Consider marinading the meat before grilling it. Because tenderloin is such a lean meat, it's particularly amenable to marinades, rubs, and different seasoning combinations. Rub the meat with the marinade of your choice. This might include your own blend of spices or a ready-made marinade from the store. Store the meat in a covered bowl or in a zip-lock bag, then refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours before grilling. Some good flavor combinations for pork tenderloin include:
- For classic sweet-sour pork marinade, mix a quarter-cup of olive oil, a clove of minced garlic, and a tablespoon each of brown mustard, soy sauce, brown sugar, with a teaspoon of red pepper flakes if desired. Vary the amounts to taste. Rub into the meat and refrigerate overnight, turning the meat periodically.
- For a spicy-sweet marinade, mix a cup of orange juice, a tablespoon of tomato paste and Dijon mustard, and a teaspoon each of garlic powder, chilli powder, white sugar, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Add a handful of chopped cilantro to the mix.
- For a sweet barbecue-style marinade, mix 2/3 cup of molasses and a half cup of brown sugar, a half teaspoon each of red pepper flakes, allspice, salt and pepper, then add 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Bring the pork to room temperature before grilling. After marinating your pork in the cool refrigerator all night, you need to let it sit out on the counter for an hour or so before putting it on the heat, to bring the temperature down and ensure a more even cooking. If the meat is cold through before you put it on the grill, it'll cook unevenly, and it'll be difficult to cook it all the way through without over-cooking it.
- Season the meat on the outside immediately before grilling. Some tenderloin lovers like to remove the pork from the marinade and add a dry rub just before the meat goes on the grill. Depending on what you've marinaded the meat in, or if you've marinaded it at all, you might opt for a stronger or simpler rub, depending. A dry rub can help to create a caramelized crust that can add a different layer of flavor to the meat. You can use commercial dry rubs, or make up your own. Whatever you use, take a handful of spice and simply rub it into the meat after adding a bit of olive oil to the outside so it sticks.
- Simple seasoning: Rub the tenderloin with about a tablespoon or two of olive oil, then sprinkle the outside liberally with kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
- Dried spice seasoning: Rub the tenderloin with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and a mixture of a teaspoon each of oregano, cumin powder, coriander powder, garlic powder, and thyme.
- Fresh herb seasoning: Rub the tenderloin with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, then toast up a tablespoon each of fennel seeds, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds in a dry skillet. When they get fragrant, remove them from the pan and crush them in a mortar and pestle, or crush them with the flat side of a kitchen knife. Mix with a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, two tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Massage into the pork.
- Start the grill 20 or 30 minutes before grilling tenderloin. When your meat's ready to go, you should start the grill about an hour before you plan on eating. You want to give the grill about 20 or 30 minutes to heat up to the proper temperature (it'll be quicker with a gas grill) and about 20 minutes total cooking time, with ten minutes for resting. Start it about an hour before you want to eat so you won't' have to rush around.
- On the gas grill, you can probably get away with starting the grill a few minutes before you put the meat on. You want to have a cooler spot on the grill, though, so heat a section to one side so you can move the meat elsewhere and let it cook slowly over indirect heat.
- On the charcoal grill, pile your coals to one side of the grill and let them reduce to a nice charred ashy glow before you put the meat on. This way, you'll be able to sear them over the coals and move them to the other side of the grill to finish them.
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What is a good method for indirect cooking a pork tenderloin on gas grills?
The best way to indirectly cook pork tenderloin on a gas grill is to wrap it in tin foil. Add your marinade and other ingredients, then tightly wrap in tin foil to seal. You can also place it in a pan and place the pan over the grill, but the tin foil method works best.