Albuquerque Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Albuquerque Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Excerpted from Grilling (Lebhar-Friedman Books, April 2006). © 2006 by The Culinary Institute of America. Used by permission of the publisher.

Makes 6 servings

Pork tenderloin cooks quickly over a brisk fire, but you can substitute other meats, as well as poultry and even some fish.

3 pounds pork tenderloins
Albuquerque Dry Rub, as needed (recipe follows)
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Olive oil, as needed

1. Blot the tenderloins dry with paper towels. Sprinkle all sides of the tenderloins evenly with some of the dry rub. Cover the tenderloins and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 12 hours.

2. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. If you are using a charcoal grill, build a fire and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a moderate coating of white ash. Spread the coals in an even bed. Clean the cooking grate.

3. While the grill is heating, make the mop: Simmer the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan over high heat until it reduces by half. Add the molasses and sherry vinegar, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Remove the mop from the heat and reserve 2 tablespoons to drizzle on the pork after it is cooked.

4. Brush the tenderloins with a little of the olive oil. Place the tenderloins on the grill and cook until the meat is marked on the first side, about 3 minutes. Turn carefully and brush the upper side of the tenderloins with some of the mop. Turn the tenderloins again when the second side is marked, about 3 minutes, and brush with the mop once again. Grill for another 8 to 9 minutes, covered, then turn once more and brush with mop again. Finish grilling on the second side, covered, until the pork is cooked, another 8 to 9 minutes.

5. Remove the tenderloins from the grill. Allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Drizzle the reserved mop over the pork slices and serve.

Albuquerque Dry Rub

This makes enough dry rub to flavor about 3 pounds of meat, fish, or poultry. We suggest starting with whole spices for the best flavor, but you can always substitute ground spices if you prefer.

Makes 1/2 cup dry rub

1 tablespoon coriander seeds (or 2 teaspoons ground coriander)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds (or 2 teaspoons ground cumin)
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns (or 1 teaspoon ground pepper)
1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and toast, swirling the pan constantly, until the seeds give off a rich aroma, about 1 minute. Immediately transfer the seeds to a cool plate and allow to cool for a few minutes.

2. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Add the chili powder, onion and garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Grind the spices to an even texture. The rub is ready to use now, or you can transfer it to a jar, cover it tightly, and keep it in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry for up to 1 month.


Pomegranate juice is available in most supermarkets now. POM is one common brand. Pick up extra, because it makes a good summer cooler. Blend bubbly mineral water and the juice over ice and finish with a generous wedge of lime. A small tot of white rum turns this into cocktail material.
Consider purchasing an inexpensive coffee grinder to use exclusively for spices. Kitchen shops and large housewares retailers carry ones priced around $20. Buy one and you are launched into the realm of curries, dry rubs, garam masalas and improvisations of every stripe.As tender as it can be, pork tenderloin is a lean cut. Don't overcook. It should be slightly pink inside, or 150 degrees on an instant-reading thermometer.