Jerk Pork Tenderloin
With this BBQ recipe, I combine two of my favorite things, jerk seasoning and pork tenderloin. The reason I like jerk so much is that while it can be fiery hot, it still has a ton of flavor. It’s not mind numbingly scorching to the tongue. It’s not hot just to be hot. And the reason I love pork tenderloin so much is that as a husband, father of two toddlers, owner of this website as well as working 40 hours a week with my regular job, I don’t often get a chance to do all day cookouts, or even half days. The pork tenderloin allows me get my grilling fix in under two hours. And jerk pork tenderloin may be one of my favorites.
This is an extremely simple BBQ recipe. There are two ingredients if you can find a pre-made jerk marinade or jerk seasoning. Luckily, there are a couple places here in St. Louis that carry this:
Walkerswood is an amazing product. But be careful. If you’ve never had it before, and even if you love hot stuff, go easy. The pain will not be just when you eat it, but it will bleed over into the next day. Trust me. Go light, cut with some oil, whatever. One note. When you first open this jar, it is not as hot as it will become after some air gets in the jar and you leave it in the fridge for a few weeks where it will somehow gain in heat and flavor intensity. I have no idea how this works. All I know is the first time I had it, the spiciness was perfect, then I had it about a month later and it was a lot hotter. I have repeated this phenomena over and over. The only difference now is that I actually like jerk after it gets even hotter, but then I’m nuts with this kind of stuff.
Now, if you can’t find Walkerswood, we have a recipe for a jerk marinade you can make from raw ingredients. Considering my lack of free time, the pre-made stuff is the way to go for me, but when I was single, I was all about making everything from scratch. If that’s you, here’s our jerk recipe from the third Grillin’ Fool, Tom and his wife Tracy.
Jerk Marinade Ingredients:
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 scotch bonnet peppers (if you can’t find this at your grocery use a fresh jalapeño)**
1 tbsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dark rum
juice from one fresh lime
juice from one fresh orange
Combine all the ingredients for the jerk marinade in a food processor or blender and pulse until it runs smooth.
Coat the pork tenderloin with the jerk, and put in the refrigerator over the night:
The following day, prep the jerk pork tenderloin for the grill. Or in this case, two tenderloins. Most of the time a package of pork tenderloin has two inside. With as little fat as there is in pork tenderloin, a single pork tenderloin will cook extremely quickly and thus there is a very short window between done perfectly to dried out. To compensate for that, tie two of them together so they insulate each other and thus increase cooking time and allow more of that sweet wood smoke to penetrate without drying the meat out.
Here’s how to tie them together:
Remove the pork tenderloins from the jerk marinade and place them on a cutting board or platter with the fat end of one tenderloin paired with the skinny end of the other and vice versa:
Then stack them on each other:
Now get a 3 to 4 foot length of bakers twine and tie one end together:
Then run the twine under the meat:
Then run the twine beck through itself to create a loop:
Then pull the loop tight:
Rinse and repeat:
Then do a final loop around the end:
Tie off the last loop and cut off the excess twine:
And here we have one section of twine that trusses the entire length of meat together:
That’s how to tie pork tenderloins together.
I know some are thinking, “Why not just cut five lengths of about nine inches and make five knots?” Sure, that can be done, but once I did this method a few times, I was able to do this in less than ten seconds. And I can make two cuts and all the string can be pulled off as one length when the pork tenderloins are cooked. After the pork tenderloin cooks, the strings sort of disappear and it’s hard to find all of them.
BTW, doing this and getting pics by myself was not easy and I got all kinds of jerk marinade on my camera!
Some are wondering about the silver skin and fat on the pork tenderloin. Don’t. Any on the outside will melt away and baste the meat. And the silver skin isn’t chewy like it is with beef.
Now it’s time to get the grill ready to finish this BBQ recipe.
The grill is prepared for two zone grilling with coals (and smoke wood) on one side and the meat on the other:
That’s a chunk of peach wood.
Close the lid on the jerk pork tenderloin and leave the grill alone until the temperature drops or you see no more smoke. The target temperature is 300:
I had the tenderloins pretty close to the coals and thus they browned more than I had planned. So instead of smoking for 60 minutes and then searing, I smoked for 90 minutes and skipped the sear. But doesn’t the sear get that wonderful flavor from the browning? It does, but I got that already with how close the meat was to the coals. The browning is what is important, not how we get it:
And here we have jerk pork tenderloin on the cutting board resting:
The reason to let it rest is when the meat comes off the heat, the juices are in an excited state and moving a million miles an hour. Slice right away and the juices will spill out all over the cutting board and while the first couple of bites will be fine, but by the time you get to the end, you’ll need some sort of sauce to choke it down.
After about ten minutes, clip the twine and separate the jerk tenderloins:
If you weren’t someone who believed in resting before, I hope the the above picture changes your mind. If it doesn’t, nothing will. Pork tenderloin is extremely lean, yet that meat is glistening with juicy fat.
Here’s another picture with a different camera setting to show the nice smoke ring:
I won’t bother showing this plated, because those pictures were a let down compared to the above two.
But I have two more pictures for you to show one of my favorite things to do with left over jerk pork tenderloin (or any pork tenderloin for that matter). Some are asking how there could be any left over. Because I made those two tenderloins just for me. One to eat that night and the other to make pork tenderloin sammiches the next day.
Slice the cold tenderloin and layer it on top of a loaf of bread that has a compound butter slathered on each side. I wish I could tell you what’s in the butter, but it was given to me from someone else and he’s not telling:
Warm this under a broiler for a few minutes, lay down four slices of provel and put back under the broiler until the cheese browns a little:
Jerk pork tenderloin for dinner and jerk tenderloin sammiches for lunch the next day: It doesn’t get much better than that for me.
If you have any questions about the above dish please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.
If you liked the jerk pork tenderloin recipe and are interest in another BBQ recipe with pork, click here for many more.
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