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Caribbean-Style Grilled Pork Tenderloin

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Serves 4-6

Yields about 1/3 cup of rub, enough for four chops or two 3/4- to 1-lb. tenderloins.

For more surface and crust, butterfly the tenderloin. If you do, mix a double batch of rub so you’re sure to have enough. If you don’t have a mortar and are using ground spices, crush everything in a small mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

  • 1-1/2 Tbs. ground allspice
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Scant 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 habanero chile (cored, seeded, and ribs removed), finely minced
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb. each) or 4 pork chops, trimmed of fat and silverskin

Heat a gas grill to medium high, or prepare a charcoal grill. If you’re using whole allspice, grind it in a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. If you’re using ground allspice, put it in a small mixing bowl. If you’re using fresh bay leaves, toast them briefly to dry. Crumble the bay leaves and grind them in the mortar with the allspice. Add the thyme and grind a few times so the leaves release their essence. Add the paprika, cloves, nutmeg, salt, habanero, and garlic; crush or grind until well combined. Pat the rub all over the meat. Grill uncovered, turning just a few times, until the meat is springy when squeezed, 18 to 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150°F. (The USDA recommends 160°F, but I like mine juicier.) Transfer the meat to a platter and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Butterflied variation:

Make an incision down the length of the tenderloin, cutting two-thirds of the way into the meat and stopping a few inches above the end where the tail narrows. Open the tenderloin like a book, pressing the meat with the heel of your hand to flatten it evenly. The tenderloin should be a uniform 3/4- to 1-inch thickness. Repeat with the second tenderloin. Pat the rub all over the meat. Grill uncovered until the meat is springy when poked, 12 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 200; Fat (g): fat g 6; Fat Calories (kcal): 50; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2; Protein (g): protein g 32; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 3; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 360; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 90; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This rub produces flavorful crust and very tender pork. An alternate indoor cooking method works well. Pat tenderloins with rub, then sear in nonstick skillet for 5 minutes until browned on all sides. Roast in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes to internal temperature of 140. Let rest 10 minutes until temperature raises to 150 degrees. Slice and serve.

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