500th Post: Pork Tenderloin on the Big Green Egg

Posted by JohnGL

I was all comfy in my bed, the idiot box tuned to H2, a channel specifically designed to prep one’s brain for sleepy-time. Hearing Peter Weller’s voice, I thought I was dreaming. The lid of one of my freshly-diagnosed astigmatic and presbyopic eyes opened a bit; this wasn’t showing 5342 of RoboCop or Buckaroo Bonsai, Weller was standing on the side of what he said was a dam in Egypt built thousands of years ago. At least that is what I thought he said. No water — liquid, frozen, or vapor — was within miles of this Martian landscape.

I would have killed to have Weller as a history instructor in college.

Interrupting my thoughts of higher education, my Samsung Galaxy S3 issued a soft ting ting, the “Temple Bell” ringtone that indicates I have a text message. I look at my phone in utter disbelief:

Cooked a pork tenderloin tonight, marinated for an hour and a half, very well cooked (white but juicy), but it seemed like the flavor didn’t take, and it was kinda bland. Used an Ina Garten recipe, but just didn’t get the deep flavor like you got. Thoughts on where I might have gone wrong?

“Where did you go wrong? Where do I start? And why do you feel you need this information at 11:10pm on a Sunday night?” I ask myself rhetorically. “What am I, the food emergency hotline?”

Even at this hour, or perhaps because of the hour, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida runs through my sleepy head. It happens every time I hear the words Ina Garten. Weller, unabated, continued his monologue about Menes and the 49 foot tall dam he built around Memphis.

Ina Garten’s  gotta dam in Memphis, bay-bee. Why not 50 feet? Helluva dam, regardless.

Enough of the bedtime stories.

Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin -- the Alcoholian

This, dear reader (I assume there is only one of you at this point), is a properly cooked pork tenderloin. It isn’t white. It’s pink-ish.

How does it get this way?

Well, a Big Green Egg (BGE) helps. A lot.

Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin -- the Alcoholian

I start the BGE with a 50/50 mix of competition briquettes and natural lump charcoal, dumping and spreading the coals after about 15 minutes. Closing the lid, I tune the vents so the Egg is at 215°F.

After scraping the grill surface, I apply the pork tenderloins and forget about them for about a half hour.

Let’s back up a few steps.

Pork Tenderloins, devoid of silver skin

Preparing the pork tenderloins properly leads to that “deep flavor” to which that late-night texter alluded.

The flavoring started about 24 hours earlier when, after removing the silver skin and some errant sinew, the tenderloins got a good dose of kosher salt. That’s it. No kidding.

Getting that out of the way makes me feel much better.

I put those pork tenderloins back in the fridge until about an hour before they were to hit the Big Green Egg. At that time, I added a touch more salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Impressive, no?

Wandering back to the Egg, all that we do is flip those tenderloins and walk away for another half hour.

If you are going to do a side dish, now’s the time.

Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin with Quinoa

This one is Pork Tenderloin with Quinoa, Sauce Marsala, and finished with Hawaiian salt.

Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin

This is Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin with cheesy pasta. Below is the same dish with a cream sauce over the pork.

Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin with Cream Sauce

And below, one of my most favorite dishes…

Big Green Egg Pork Tenderloin and Corkscrew Pasta

Sliced pork tenderloin, corkscrew pasta, smothered with a cream and butter sauce infused with Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, and oregano.

And, if you’re truly inspired, a stove-top pork tenderloin paella:

Stovetop Paella with Pork Tenderloin

The socarrat was perfect.

11:15pm: Trying my ribs again tomorrow, do they need a day, too? Some people boil them for ten minutes before they marinade them. Do you do that?

Read the f’ing blog [St. Louis Style Ribs] and your [rib] cooking problems shall go away.

Ina Garten indeed, ah baby!

This entry was posted in Meat, Techniques and tagged , by johngl. Bookmark the permalink.

About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

17 thoughts on “500th Post: Pork Tenderloin on the Big Green Egg

  1. Gonna make this tonight! And will definitely include a sauce. I’ll try the stock suggestion and wing it.

      • Follow up on last night’s tenderloin.

        Where I had great success:
        I couldn’t believe the juiciness just using kosher salt and then wrapping it overnight. Fantastic and perfect with the slight smoke flavor from the egg.

        Winged a sauce using chicken stock and fresh Thmye as the main flavor and then added beef Demi glacé at the finish. Felt like I was doing something illegal by combining chicken and beef with my pork. Came out great. This pork recipe is good solo, but having a sauce just put it over the top.

        Not mentioned, but can see in the pics this was set up for an indirect cook using the plate setter. If you let the grill get up to temp and not rushing the meat on, you can get great grill marks.

        Where I had to improvise:
        The pork tenderloin I had looked more like a beef tenderloin in terms of size. I would say mine looked the same as if you combined the two tenderloins in this recipe. I was planning on one hour at 215 but after about 20 mins realized that i would need longer or hotter. I cranked up the temp to 325 and placed a temperature probe in the center of the loin. I then just monitored the internal temp until it got to 160. That took about another hour, and I didn’t flip at any point. There was a fat cap on the top of this loin as well which I just left on, but made sure it was on top so I could get the fat to render down to my meat. I probably should have pulled it at 155 because I did not have the slight pink center I was shooting for. In spite of that, it wasn’t dry, but made me wonder how much better it could have been.

        Also, lost some juices after cutting into it after a 10 min rest. Given the higher temp and larger size, another 5 or 10 mins would have helped there as well.k

        Overall, the family was impressed and I had requests to make this again. Thank you for the receipe. I find your writing style to be inspirational with the low key approach. You make it seem like anyone can cook. I have never “winged” a sauce before, but felt empowered thanks to you. Keep up the good work!

        • Wow, Rick, thanks so much for the comments and the compliments! I’m very happy that you had such great success your first time out!

          The biggest obstacle one has to overcome in cooking is fear. Once you get by that initial hurdle, it just becomes a learning process like any other.

          Keep at it! It sounds as though you are off to a really great start!

        • Oh, nearly forgot, you won’t have a pink center at 155F either. If you want pink, you’ll need to pull it off at about 140-145. Even then, carry over heat will continue to cook it for several minutes. Thanks again!

          • Thanks for the tip and encouragement. Spoke to the butcher yesterday and he said I had a Pork Loin, which is a different, larger and fattier cut than Tenderloin because of the fat on top, which may be an alternative if anyone thinks Tenderloin is too lean. I’m sure you have an opinion 😉 Thanks again for the info!

  2. I had to laugh at “read the f’ing blog!” about how to cook ribs!

    I made ribs over the weekend. I was wooed by $1.99/pound ribs and they tasted like ass – my rub and sauce was good, but they were really fatty and kinda gross.

    I need to (wo)man up and spend more $$ on ribs next time!

  3. Glad to see you’re posting again John – I haven’t had much success with pork tenderloin either; almost no fat, tends to be tasteless and if not timed carefully, powder dry. I miss the days before industrial hogs, when pork was fatty and the meat darker.

    • Hi Patrick, thanks for popping by again!

      While this method takes a while, especially for such small pieces of meat, it does preserve what “juice” is there.

      One step I did leave out in the post is allowing the pork to “rest”. I leave them on the cutting board, close together, wrap with foil, then insulate the foil with a couple of dry dish towels. It will keep them warm for while and they stay much more moist.

      We really like the slight smoky flavor imparted with this [Big Green Egg] method as well.

      Salt early, go low and slow, and it should improve things.

      Coming from Iowa, I too miss our farm-raised “fatty” pork.

      • The “rest” is great advice for any cut of roast meat, my technique is pretty much the same as yours. Add more minutes of rest for bigger cuts, the juices settle and the heat convects evenly through to finish the cooking. And I’ll bet that BGE adds some flavor, I notice that most of your platings use a good sauce too. I sure do enjoy reading your posts John and you’ve inspired me to try some dry aged beef for my next kitchen experiments.

        • I do like my sauces. Sometimes it’s as simple as a reduced stock, a splash of cream, herbs, spices, and butter to finish. Other times I’ll add wine, brandy, or some other libation into the mix, too.

          I’m happy to hear I’ve helped to inspire you to conduct additional experimentation. 🙂

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