Weekend Grilling: Pork Tenderloin Tacos
It’s going to be 90 sultry degrees here in Minneapolis on Sunday. Ugh. I’m not going to complain (is “ugh” a complaint?), but I’m not quite prepared for that level of heat and humidity. Guess I’ll just have to grab a cold beverage and head out to the grill…tough, I know.
If you’re looking for something to sear, I suggest:
The whole barbecued chicken I posted below.
Any of the multiple burgers I posted a year ago (including several vegetarian ideas).
My tips for great hamburgers.
This miso-glazed salmon.
These delicious grilled lemon shrimps on toasts.
The Korean-style grilled beef I posted last week.
Tandoori chicken skewers, so good with grilled naan.
My favorite way to grill vegetables – chapa-style.
Or…apparently I’ve had grilling on the brain these last few weeks…these pork tenderloin tacos.
I crave spicy pork—especially carnitas, or slow-braised pork shoulder, pulled apart, then roasted until crispy at the edges. Rolled into a soft corn tortilla… It’s beyond. While not difficult to make, a three-hour braise is too long for a weeknight dinner, so when a craving hits on a Monday-to-Friday, I pull off a cheat of sorts.
Also delicious, yet ready in 30 minutes: Thin slices of spicy pork tenderloin make a similarly porktacular (yes, I did just say porktacular) tortilla filling. Add your favorite carnitas garnishes. I like the contrast of creamy avocado slices with the crunch and heat of diced jalapeño and red onion. Add crumbled queso fresco (or feta), chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime to finish it all off. Flavor explosion, that’s the goal. Serve with corn or flour tortillas—your choice, just make sure they’re fresh and warm.
I grilled the pork on a Superior Planks cedar plank, which I wrote about for the printed magazine. As you can see from the pic, I didn’t follow the instructions and lit the plank on fire. A little pork-n-cedar inferno, right there on my deck. Despite the fire – which I easily put out with a bottle of water, it really wasn’t a big deal – the pork was delicious (you can see that it was unharmed, just nicely crusty). Grill your pork on a plank (perhaps without lighting it on fire), or directly on the grill, or on a grill pan inside the house. All fabulous.
Pork Tenderloin Tacos
1 pork tenderloin
1 tsp. each minced garlic, ancho chili powder, cumin, oregano, and coarse salt, mixed together in a small bowl with enough olive oil to make a loose paste
warm corn or flour tortillas
chopped red onion
chopped jalapeño pepper
sour cream (thinned with a bit of cream for drizzling)
crumbled queso fresco (or feta) cheese
Preheat grill. Smear herb-paste all over the pork tenderloin. Grill pork over high heat for approximately 10 minutes or until desired doneness. Let pork rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes (keep in mind that the pork will continue to cook a bit more as it sits). Slice thinly and serve in warm tortillas with garnishes. (Note: while pork cooks, prepare garnishes. While it rests, warm tortillas, wrapped in foil, on the still-hot grill for a few minutes.)