Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple & Habanero
Juicy, a little sweet, and a lot spicy if you want it so!
This recipe is close to my heart because it’s a riff on a dish I prepared in my final exam in culinary school twenty years ago. The original dish was a juniper berry-and-gin pork loin roast conceived by the great Alain Sailhac of Le Cygne and Le Cirque fame. He told me, as I remember it, that he developed this recipe for the maiden voyage of the QE II. I had not made this dish in nearly twenty years but when a friend gifted me a bottle of his delectable fermented pineapple-habanero sauce, I knew I wanted to create something evocative of that pork loin roast. Grilled pineapple is an effortless side dish dish and garnish that helps to amplify the pineapple notes in the pork while subduing the habanero's aggressive heat. Serve with any green and you're golden!
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; paring knife; carving knife (optional); dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; meat mallet for crushing juniper berries (optional); mixing bowl; whisk; casserole or resealable plastic bag; strainer; pastry brush; grill; tongs and metal spatula
3 pork tenderloins
¼ cup tamari
¼ cup pineapple juice
2-3 tablespoons habanero sauce
2 tablespoons juniper berries, crushed
3 tablespoons gin
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 garlic cloves minced
5 slices of fresh pineapple
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil for grilling
1. Trim the pork tenderloins of any excess fat and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
ILOC tip: if you buy a whole pineapple peeled from your local grocer to use for the pineapple slices, there likely will be at least ¼ cup pineapple juice in the bottom of the container to use for the marinade. It's all about technique, not torture!
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the tamari, pineapple juice, habanero sauce, crushed juniper berries, gin, agave, thyme, salt, and garlic. Set aside.
3. Place the pork tenderloins in a casserole or resealable plastic bag. Carefully pour the marinade over the pork (seal the casserole with plastic wrap or close the plastic bag). Refrigerate for four hours up to overnight.
ILOC tip: turn the pork - or the resealable bags if using - once while marinating.
4. When ready to grill the meat, preheat the grill to 400F.
5. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and from its sealed container. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside. Strain and reserve the marinade to baste the tenderloins as they cook.
ILOC tip: line a sheet pan with foil to hold the prepared pork tenderloins. Once the pork is placed not he grill, remove and discard the foil. Use the clean sheet pan to hold the cooked pork and pineapple. It's all about technique not torture.
6. Lightly brush the pork tenderloins and pineapple slices with vegetable oil, then season generously with salt and pepper.
7. Cook the pineapple for 4-5 minuets per side, and the pork 5-8 minutes per side for medium rare, or 8 minutes per side for medium. Remove the pineapple and pork from the grill and tent with foil to rest for a few minutes minutes.
8. Slice the pork against the grain, sprinkle with additional sea salt if desired, and drizzle with the additional habanero sauce. Serve immediately with the grilled pineapple.