Saturday, December 4, 2010

Island Spice Pork (Tender)loin

Stop the presses!  This might be one of the most succulent meats I have ever eaten.  The combination of sweet, savory, and spicy makes my taste buds go wild.  Yes it's snowing and fricking cold outside but this dish takes you to the Caribbean has a jerk type of flavor.  Previously the only way I had ever had pork loin was the way my mom served it - marinated overnight in pickling spice.  While that is also delicious, it didn't have the flavor complexity that this dish offers.  I have found a new "serve to company" entree...and it's simple (no marinating needed!) yet can make a beautiful presentation.  You can do it too - it's that simple.  Your guests will think you're a culinary genius!

I put the (Tender) in my title because the original recipe calls for tenderloin.  However, I made it with a regular old pork loin that I had stored in my freezer and wanted to use up.

Do you know what the difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin is?  I didn't until recently.  Most pork recipes that I bookmark call for tenderloin and thus have very short cooking times.  I remember once I made a recipe and used a loin instead of tenderloin and wondered why it took three times as long as the recipe called for.  Apparently, pork tenderloin is much thinner and thus can cook much more quickly.  Once I figured out the difference, I simply adjusted the cooking time.  Personally, I like the pork loin because you can serve so many people out of a single cut of meat.  Oh and did I mention the leftovers as sandwiches also taste delicious?

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Island Spice Pork (Tender)loin
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For the spice rub:
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2½ lbs. total) - Note: Used 2.5 pound pork loin
2 tbsp. olive oil

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. (2-3 cloves) finely minced garlic
  • 1½ tsp. Tabasco sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork to blend. Pat the mixture over the pork tenderloins or pork loin.
  2. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tenderloins in the skillet and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove from the heat, leaving the pork in the skillet.
  3. Stir together the brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl until blended. Spread the mixture evenly over the tops of the tenderloins.
  4. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 20 minutes (increase to approximately 1 hour if using pork loin), until an instant-read themometer inserted in the center of each tenderloin registers 140˚ F. Loosely tent the skillet with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Source: Adapted by Annie's Eats from Pennies on a Platter, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

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