by Chris Perrin of Blog Well Done
Boardroom presentations, client conferences, optional mandatory overtime, standing in line at the DMV... life is full of challenges. Still, nothing can compare to the daily pressure to get dinner on the table quickly before cranky children turn into little monsters. As a dad, I've largely gotten a pass on this trial, because my wife covered it.
So, the first few times I was faced with feeding our son, it was an unmitigated disaster. The longer dinner took (and the hungrier he got), the pickier he became. With each passing moment, the list of things he would deign to put into his mouth diminished, and God forbid if I didn't make it exactly the way Mom did! Family dinner became either an opportunity to perfect patience or... a trip to the ice cream shop.
Then I wised up. If it's past 6:30 and my son hasn't eaten, it's not the time to crack open a cookbook and experiment! (Yeah, that should have been obvious...) Instead, pretty much any meal started after 6:00pm better be one of the old favorites. This worked, but it was hard to get excited about stir fry or spaghetti, or even homemade pizza, after we'd had them six days in a row. It was time to find NEW favorites.
By playing around with food, I added several new dishes to our repertoire (and vowed to never again make several others.) One dish the entire house fell in love with is grilled pork tenderloin. This probably has something to do with the fact we're from Kansas City, the BBQ capital of the world. (Don't believe the hype about any other 'cue, we have the world's largest BBQ contest and more BBQ restaurants per capita than anywhere in the world.)
Anyway, making a proper barbecue (which means cooking low and slow over open flame) takes too long, but pork tenderloin grills up in only 20 minutes. Plus, it's a great all-around family ingredient. It's fairly lean (especially for pork), it's got a mild flavor that adults and kids can dig into, and it's inexpensive. An entire tenderloin only weighs about a pound and each one can feed two to three people. Add a little barbecue sauce and a side or two, and you have a great meal. It also makes killer leftovers.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Here is a basic grilled pork tenderloin recipe that can be prepped in less than 5 minutes and cooked in about 20. Feel free to make this recipe your own. You can change the spices, change the sauce, brine the pork the night before, do whatever you want. Just enjoy!
In fact, you don't even have to grill. You can sauté in a pan and then cook in a 350 degree oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 150.
2 pork tenderloins
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (plus more for serving)
1. If you have time, take the tenderloins out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. If you don't have the time, go to the next step.
2. Turn your gas grill on medium-high or build a three second fire in a charcoal grill. (A three second fire is when you hold your hand over the grill and it becomes uncomfortable to hold it there longer than three seconds.)
3. Sprinkle both sides of the tenderloins with salt and pepper.
4. When the grill is hot, put the tenderloins in the middle of the grill and close the lid. Come back in 7 minutes and flip the tenderloins.
5. Spread half of the barbecue sauce on the tenderloin and close the lid. Cook another 7 minutes.
6. Open the lid, flip the tenderloins and cover the top with the rest of the barbecue sauce. Cook another 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes.
7. If you have a meat thermometer, the pork is done when it has reached 150. If you don't, you'll have to slice the meat open to make sure it is not bright pink, the meat is warm all the way through, and the juices are clear.
8. Let the meat rest for 2-3 minutes, slice and serve.
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