Saturday, July 25, 2009

Grilleration! Pork loin and Mexican corn on the cob...Yummy!

Today was a grilleration day and with hubby's help we had a terrific grilled dinner tonight of brined & dry rubbed pork tenderloin, grilled corn on the cob - Mexican style, and white jasmine rice. Today's recipes come from two of our grill cookbooks, one by the Cook's Illustrated Magazine group and the other by grill experts, the Jamisons. For those interested in adding these great cookbooks to their collection, here is a link to them on Amazon.com:





Both of these books are great and full of lots of recipes we are looking forward to trying, but tonight we used the recipe and directions for Charcoal-Grilled Pork Tenderloin from pg 86 of the first book, The Best Recipe: Grilling & Barbecue along with the recipe for Flame-Seared Corn on the Cob from The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining. The pork recipe calls for a 1 hour brine followed by either a dry or wet rub before grilling and we chose to use the dry Curry Rub for Pork from pg 77. Both the pork and the corn were fantastic and hubby did a superb job as grillmaster for the evening. Here are the recipes and my results:

The Recipes:

Charcoal-Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Serves 6 to 8

Pork tenderloin are often sold two to a package, each piece usually weighing 12-16 oz. The cooking times below are for two average 12 oz. tenderloins; if necessary, adjust the cooking times to suit the size of the cuts you are cooking. For maximum efficiency, make the flavor rub and then light the fire while the pork is brining. If you opt not to brine, bypass step 1 in the recipe below and sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt before grilling. Use a spice rub whether or not the pork has been brined -- it adds extra flavor and forms a nice crust on the meat. If rubbing tenderloins with dry spices, consider serving with a salsa (see pg 75) for added moisture and flavor.
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt or 1.5 tbsp table salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 pork tenderloins, 1 1/2 - 2 lbs total, trimmed of silverskin
  • 1 recipe of wet spice rub or 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 recipe dry spice rub (posted below)
  • disposable aluminum roasting pan
  1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 cups hot water in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups cold water; cool the mixture to room temperature. Add the tenderloins, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hr. Remove the tenderloins from the brine, rinse well, and dry throughly with paper towels. Set aside.
  2. Light a large chimney starter filled with hardwood charcoal (about 2.5 lbs) and allow to burn until all the charcoal is covered with a layer of fine gray ash. Build a modified 2-level fire by spreading the coals evenly over half the grill bottom. Set the cooking rack in place, cover the grill with the lid, and let the rack heat up, about 5 minutes. Use a wire brush to scrape clean the cooking rack. The grill is ready when the coals are hot.
  3. If using wet spice rub, rub the tenderloins with the mixture. If using a dry spice rub, coat the tenderloin with oil and then rub with the spice mixture.
  4. Cook the tenderloins, uncovered, over the hottest part of the grill until browned on all four sides, about 2.5 min on each side. Move the tenderloins to the cooler part of the grill, and cover with a disposable aluminum roasting pan. Grill, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin, registers 145F, or until the meat is slightly pink at the center when cut with a paring knife, 2-3 minutes longer. Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board, cover with the disposable aluminum pan, and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice crosswise into 1" thick pieces and serve.

Curry Rub for Pork

Enough for 4 chops or 2 tenderloins. This rub works especially well with the Pineapple Salsa

  • 4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over oiled but unseasoned pork (do not sprinkle pork with pepper) before grilling.

Flame-Seared Corn on the Cob

If you cook ears of corn on the grill in their husks, as many people do, you steam the kernels instead of searing them. By stripping the husk first and exposing the corn directly to the fire, you get a much deeper taste. The kernels shrink up slightly, condensing the flavor of each bite.

Cooking method: Grilling
Serves 6 as a side dish

  • 6 large ears corn, husks and silk removed
  • about 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, preferably unsalted, melted
  • flaky salt, such as Maldon or French Fleur de Sel
  1. Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to medium (4-5 seconds with the hand test).
  2. Brush the corn lightly, using a couple of tbsp of the butter.
  3. Grill the corn uncovered on medium heat for 20-22 minutes, turning on all sides to cook evenly and brushing with more butter after about 10 minutes. This cooking time is longer than technically necessary to cook the corn, but it concentrates the flavor of the kernels, contributing to the deeper taste.
  4. Brush the corn again with butter, sprinkle with salt, and serve right away.
Esquites - Ears of corn Mexican style
Dress the grilled corn with the rich mayonnaise (recipe follows) slathered over each ear. Sprinkle with ground dried red chile, cotija cheese, or queso fresco and offer lime wedges to squeeze over as well. It's much better than it may sound to the uninitiated.

Rich Mayonnaise:
Start with 1 cup of mayonnaise. Mix in 1-2 tsp olive oil and a pinch of coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt. Use it like regular mayo or for something different smear it on corn-on-the-cob and then sprinkle the top with Mexican style cotija cheese.

My Results:

I began following the directions for making the dry spice rub. As mentioned in previous recipes, I buy curry powder in bulk and store it, with a few extra bay leaves, in my freezer in mason jars, which you can see in the photo below. I mixed the ingredients up into a small prep bowl and set aside as shown in the second photo.





The spice rub smelled fantastic from the start so I was really looking forward to the end results. After mixing up the spices, I created the brine for the tenderloins and placed them in a large plastic bowl in the refrigerator to brine. Here are the ingredients I used:



While the pork was brining, hubby lit the charcoal for the grill and I whipped up the rich mayonnaise and prepped the corn for roasting. Here are the corn ingredients:



I purchased pre-prepped corn from our local grocery which had been mostly de-silked and had part of the husk and base removed, so all I had to do was remove the remaining husk and silk. Makes it very nice for quick prep with a little one underfoot. The husks and silks went into our composter out back...

After an hour, when the coals were nice and hot,I drained, rinse and dried the pork loins, rubbed them generously with olive oil and then rubbed them down with the curry rub. Boy did these smell amazing!



Hubby took them out to the grill and followed the instructions for grilling them, turning to ensure even browning. He also added the corn at that time, although in hindsight realized we should have started the corn a bit earlier since the pork was done quite a bit before the corn.

Here is a photo of the finished tenderloins, ready for slicing:



I didn't make any sauce or salsa to go over the meat, which, in hindsight I would probably do next time. The meat was perfectly cooked and very delicious (thanks to hubby's expert grilling!) and was neither over nor underdone. I think that a nice orange marmalade sauce (just some melted marmalade with a little soy sauce and ginger added) would be perfect on this meat as would the pineapple salsa mentioned in the recipe. Next time...

And here is the grilled corn in all it's Mexican splendor:



If you have never tried corn this way, please, please do! It is absolutely fabulous! I have had it this way at carnivals and fairs in the area but never made it at home. My husband and brother-in-law had neither one had it this way and both loved it, each eating at least two ears! We couldn't locate cotija cheese on our shopping trip but instead used a local queso fresco which was fantastic with a salty bite that was perfect with the rich mayo slather. Yum yum!

All in all this was a fabulous meal. Even little E, our 10 month old, enjoyed the roasted corn (sans the Mexican topping) and she has always refused corn in the past. I did serve some white jasmine rice with this to cut the heat of the curry rub, but it was probably not necessary as the curry was hot, but not overbearingly so. We will definitely do this again, perhaps with one of the other rubs in the book, or maybe just as we did this time. I hope you'll give this a try yourself and let me know how it works for you. For tonight, we have four very happy tummies in this house! Be sure to check back tomorrow for a "company" dish we're taking to a family meal...

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