Saturday, June 27, 2009

Apple wood smoked Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze

Although I had to go into work for a little bit today, it was a pretty nice Saturday. I was really eager to open up the deck and fire up the Weber to try out a new grilling recipe. I made it home by 2:30 and the coals were hot by 3:00. I set up the grill for indirect heat, and since I was using apple wood to smoke, I filled the drip pan with a can of apple juice concentrate for a little extra sweetness. I've read that the drip pan is more for heat distribution than flavor, but I've also read recipes that include placing herbs into the drip pan, so I was curious to see if it would make a difference.

It just so happened that pork tenderloins were on sale, so luckily we got two. The picture above shows when I just put them on the grill. I applied just a light rub this time. I had a lot of flavor already in the smoke and glaze. I didn't want a spicy, peppery pork rub getting in the way.
Above you can see my new grill thermometer. Ordinarily I would gauge temperature just with my hand but in this case I felt I needed a little more control with my heat. The picture above is just after the first flip. (about 1 1/2 hours into cooking)

We're almost done at this point. I had the timer set to check on things every 15 mins. If it needed more heat, I added more coals. If it needed more smoke I added more chips. I was also glazing pretty often too. I used a simple glaze of real maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and white vinegar at a 3 to 2 to 1 ratio respectively (I tossed in a pinch of brown sugar just for kicks too). At this point I was keeping a close eye on the meat temperature itself. A pork tenderloin can technically be done pretty quickly. The trick lies in managing the fire so it cooks low and slow.

Once the meat temperature reached 160, it was time to take it off the grill. It ended up with a total cook time of about 2 1/2 hours.

After letting the meat rest about 10 mins, I carved off some slices and served it with wild rice and a salad courtesy of Alexis. With the apple wood smoke, combined with the sweetness of the maple glaze on top of juicy tenderloin, there was a lot going on. To handle that much flavor, I paired it with a nice Gewurztraminer wine. Overall, I'll probably be doing this one again. Maybe next time I'll actually find a recipe for the glaze instead of just throwing some ingredients together. As for the apple juice in the drip pan. I think it added more to aroma then flavor, but it's definitely something to experiment with more.
The Result: 9 out of 10 from Alexis

1 comment:

  1. As Bri's dining guest, trust me it was delicious! And it smelled amazing!