My dad has a problem. It’s plagued him for years. He consumes this stuff more than just about anyone alive. He loves his cherry. Cherry what you ask? Cherry anything. He loves cherry ribs (wrapped in cherry bacon). His favorite smoke wood is cherry wood. He even puts maraschino cherry juice over his ice cream. So when we were brainstorming a recipe to do for Smithfield Pork, of course he had multiple options involving cherries. I had to reign him in a bit. Here is what the full title of the recipe should be: Cherry Smoked Pork Tenderloin Injected with Cherry Butter topped with a Maraschino Drizzle. We didn’t want to go overboard with the cherries, so we scaled it back a bit.
I partnered with Smithfield® Fresh Pork on this post because they want all of us to be grilling rock stars. So grab one of the many fine Smithfield pork products, from fresh ribs and pork tenderloin, to pork chops, to pre marinated pork which saves loads of time. Head out to Wal-Mart, like we did, and grab whatever it is that you are into and get after it. Always remember to grill and eat what you love. We live by that motto.
Pork Tenderloin Injected with Cherry Butter Ingredients:
- 2 packages of Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloins (each package contains two tenderloins about a pound each or two pounds per package)
- Salt to taste
- 2 sticks salted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup your favorite cherry flavored BBQ rub
- Enough cherry rub to coat the pork tenderloins
- 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice (optional)
Pro Tip 1 ~ You will also need a mortar and pestle and a ball of bakers twine
How to prep pork tenderloin
Remove the pork tenderloins from the vacuum sealed packages. There will be a little trim needed, but not much. While the tenderloin has what looks like silver skin, by no means is it chewy, so don’t remove it.
But any fat chunks will need to be trimmed off:
This stuff is so tender that all I really had to do was get the edge free with the knife and then pull with my fingers and the fat came off in my hand.
Once the fat is trimmed, hit the pork tenderloins on all sides with a coating of salt. Then line them up fat end to skinny and vice versa to tie them together:
Why tie pork tenderloins together?
Pork tenderloin is extremely lean. If we cook these individually, they will be done before we get much smoke flavor into them. By trussing them together, they insulate each other and can handle a lot more time in the smoke before they are ready for the sear. And by tying the skinny end to the fat and vice versa, we get a somewhat universal thickness that will allow both tenderloins to cook evenly. So let’s get at trussing these together.
For me, I cut a length of butchers twine and tie off one end:
Then create a series of loops down the length of the two tenderloins before tying off the other end. Form a loop around the meat and run the twine down a few inches to form another loop. Finally tied off at the bottom:
Pro Tip 2 ~ This can also be accomplished with four shorter pieces of twine that are each tied off in a knot
What should I inject into my pork tenderloin with?
How to make compound butter
Now let’s melt that butter in the microwave. While it is melting, we need to grind up that cherry rub or it will clog the injector:
I’m not kidding on the clogging of the injector. We started with one injector, but the needle was too narrow of a gauge to pull in the butter and rub. We had to switch to a thicker gauge needle and injector. So work that mortar and pestle well.
Now mix in the finely ground rub in the butter:
Then give it a whisk:
And then let’s get our cherry butter into that injector and into our pork:
And then poke the needle into the muscle but not all the way through and push a little bit of the cherry butter into the meat:
Notice my finger right over where the needle goes into the pork? That’s not an accident.
Tip 3: Hold a finger over the hole and leave it there when you slide the injector out. Keep the pressure on for a few seconds and it will reduce the amount of butter that comes back out when the meat contracts.
Still, a good amount of the cherry butter will come back out. Don’t let that go to waste. Roll the trussed pork tenderloins around in the leaked butter until all the butter is gone:
Then season the outside of the meat with more rub, the butter should act as an amazing binder:
Once the trussed pork tenderloins are injected and rubbed, it’s time to start the grill. You don’t have to use cherry wood here, but of course we did:
Any fruit wood would do here. While dad is partial to cherry, I love peach, pear, apple and apricot, all of which would be a great substitute here. A chunk or two is all you need:
If you need help deciding which smoke wood pairs with which meat, check this link for a lengthy list.
How to grill pork tenderloin injected with cherry butter
Set up the grill for two zone or indirect grilling. Coals and smoke wood on one side, the meat on the other. Or the coals and wood on the bottom of a kamado with the plate setter in between the coals and the meat. Target temp inside the grill is 300F
Place the trussed pork tenderloins on the side with no coals and close the lid:
Smoke the pork tenderloins until they reach an internal temp of 135F (according to my Thermapen). These took about 50 minutes:
Time to put the Sear in Reverse Sear
Now crank up the grill by opening vents, raising the coal bed (if possible), removing the plate setter, and/or add more charcoal, depending on your grill and what it takes to get the hot side up over 650-700F. In my case, I just raised the level of the coal bed and was good to go:
Now slap those cherry butter injected pork tenderloins over the high heat and get a char on them while taking the internal temp of the pork up to 145-150F:
Wait? 145? Yes, the USDA recommends that pork can be served at 145 so a little pink on that pork tenderloin is just fine. And trust me, it’s glorious and will change your life.
Sear on the top and bottom:
And don’t forget the sides:
Then remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes or so:
Cut away the butchers twine and slice. Now if you’re like dad, you haven’t gotten your cherry fill yet, so drizzle some maraschino cherry juice:
You could also make a glaze or drizzling sauce with some fresh cherries or just use them for decoration when plating along with some Swiss chard:
Pork tenderloin injected with cherry butter recap:
This is a wonderful combo of sweet and savory and most of all, juicy. The injector pushed the cherry rub and butter right into meat and it stayed there, to some degree, throughout the cook. Eat these medallions as they are, or slap them between a couple Hawaiian buns and make sliders. If you check the recipe card below, you will see that the this recipe serves 8-12. Not bad considering each package of pork was less than $10. That’s just over $1.50 per person plus a few other ingredients.
If you have any questions or comments, free free to leave them below or send me an email.
This post was brought to you by Smithfield® Fresh Pork. As you know, we don’t recommend any product we don’t absolutely believe in, and we believe in Smithfield pork.
Pork Tenderloin Injected with Cherry Butter
- mortar and pestle
- baker's twine
- 2 package Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloins
- salt to taste
- 16 tbsp salted butter (2 sticks), melted
- ⅓ cup your favorite cherry flavored BBQ rub (enough to coat the tenderloins)
- ¼ cup maraschino cherry juice (optional)
- Remove the pork tenderloins from the package and trim any fat as needed
- Salt the pork all the way around
- Truss the pork tenderloins together fat end to skinny, skinny end to fat
- Grind the rub in a mortar and pestle to make the powder finer
- Melt the butter and then add the rub
- Draw the cherry butter into an injector and inject every couple inches of the pork tenderloins, holding your finger over the hole to keep the cherry butter from coming back out
- Once all the tenderloins are pumped with cherry butter, roll the trussed tenderloins in the butter that has escaped the meat
- Rub the tenderloin down all the way around until completely coated
- Prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling with a target temp inside the grill of 300F
- Place the tenderloins on the side of the grill with no coals and smoke wood on the fire
- Close the lid and let the smoke and heat work their magic
- Once the pork tenderloins reach 135 kick up the heat of the fire to north of 650F and sear the pork all the way around and thus taking the meat above the USDA recommended 145F internal
- Once the pork is above 145F remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes
- Cut the butchers twine away and slice into medallions
- Optional to drizzle maraschino cherry juice over the pork
- Serve and enjoy