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Coffee-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Relish

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 111

Think twice before you toss out your watermelon rinds; their neutral flavor readily absorbs the sweet-spicy seasonings in this relish. Ground coffee beans infuse the pork with rich, earthy notes.

For the relish
  • 4 lb. watermelon
  • 2 Valencia oranges
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium jalapeño, finely chopped (with ribs and seeds)
  • Kosher salt
For the pork
  • 1 T bs. very finely ground coffee beans (preferably French roast)
  • 2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 T bs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1-lb. pork tenderloins, trimmed
Make the relish

Cut the flesh away from the watermelon rind. Cut enough of the flesh into 1/4-inch dice to yield 1/2 cup (reserve the rest for another use). Using a vegetable peeler, remove the dark-green skin from the rind and discard. Cut the rind into 1/4-inch dice; you should have about 3 cups.

Slice the ends off one of the oranges. Stand the orange on one cut end and cut off the peel and white pith to expose the flesh. Cut the orange segments from the membrane, cut each segment into 3 pieces, and put them in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining orange.
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine 2/3 cup water with the watermelon flesh and rind, orange segments and juice, brown sugar, vinegar, shallot, jalapeño, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rind is translucent and the mixture thickens, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt, and let cool to room temperature.

Make the pork

In a small bowl, combine the coffee, brown sugar, chili powder, and 2 tsp. salt. Add the olive oil and mix well. Rub the mixture evenly over the pork and set aside.

Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking.

Put the tenderloins on the hot side of the grill, cover, and cook, flipping once, until grill marks form on 2 sides, about 4 minutes per side. Move the tenderloins to the cooler side of the grill and continue to cook, covered, until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 140°F to 145°F, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Slice the pork and serve with the watermelon rind relish.

Serving Suggestions

Get your cookout off to a fresh start with a simple Heirloom Cherry Tomato, Fennel & Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 540; Fat (g): fat g 17; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4.5; Protein (g): protein g 44; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 51; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 790; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 110; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was really good! I did not use the watermelon relish but served slices of the tenderloin atop a bed of polenta and grilled asparagus! The pork was cooked to perfection at 140 degrees as suggested!

This was incredible! My husband declared it a keeper!! So delicious and simple but so elegant. Just lovely!

Did not try the relish yet... but the tenderloin rub I will certainly use again and again!! Great flavor:)

Excellent recipe! I made the relish and my husband of course couldn't guess what it was made of. I would personally add more jalapeno next time (like a whole one at least to give it more kick) and the pork was scrumptious!

Excellent pork tenderloin recipe! Flavorful and juicy--the ground coffee gave it a nice depth of flavor. We ate the delicious leftovers in salads and Cubano sandwiches for nearly a week now, and they were fantastic as well. A few changes I made to the recipe: I did not make the watermelon relish (it's not watermelon season here yet). I also used about 1.5X the recommended amount of dry rub, added a minced garlic clove, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours. If you grill to just the recommended temperature and let the pork rest at least 10 minutes once it comes off the grill it comes out perfectly juicy! I will definitely be making this one again!

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