Thursday dinner: Pecan-planked fig-marinated pork tenderloin

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Back in February, I picked up a jar of fig jam to use in a panini recipe. Since then, the jar has waited patiently in my refrigerator to make another appearance.

Four months later, it got the call.

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Fig is a pretty cool flavor that has an earthy sweetness to it. Before Nabisco ruined the Fig Newton, they were the gateway for most kids to learn about figs. F. Oliver’s ripe fig balsamic vinegar is a nice blend of the tangy vinegar and the sweet fruit. It makes the perfect foil for the jam to thin it and create a thick, marmalade-like marinade.

IMG_3634WHAT WORKED: The plank. Pecan makes a stellar wood for planking and grilling meat. The nutty flavor from the smoke marries nicely with the fig.

WHAT DIDN’T: The grill. The Char-Broil infrared has worked marvelously thus far, but the grates are meant to cook meat evenly. They did not do a very good job with the wood.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She said that she liked it.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: The marinade, yes. The plank, probably. I need to figure out the best method of using wood grilling planks on this surface.

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Creepy. It looks like one of those science class fetal pigs.
Creepy. It looks like one of those science class fetal pigs.

Pecan-planked fig-marinated pork tenderloin
By Jared Paventi

  • One large pecan grilling plank
  • One 3/4 to 1 1b. pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup fig jam
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I used a fig-flavored vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large baking dish, submerge the grilling plank in water and use a weight to keep the entire piece of wood under water. Soak the wood for at least two hours.

Whisk together the fig jam and vinegar in a small mixing bowl until blended. Add the  oil, salt and pepper, and whisk until combined. Score the pork with a fork or knife and set in the bowl. Marinate for at least a half-hour.

Preheat your grill to its highest setting for 10 to 15 minutes. Set the pork on the plank and spoon a small amount of the remaining marinade over the meat. Reduce heat to medium-high and set the planked meat on the burner. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until juices from the meat run clear. Transfer the meat to the grill grates and cook 1 to 2 minutes each side to finish. Remove from the grill and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

NOTE: Discard the plank after use. Never reuse planks.

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