It's no secret that pork tenderloin is susceptible to drying out.
So for our grilled loin, brining is crucial: The salty brining solution not only flavors the meat with brown sugar, garlic and thyme but also helps to tenderize it and make it juicier.
After the brine has done its job, the meat is rubbed with coriander and fennel, grilled, then served with peperonata, a sauce made of sweet peppers and tart vinegar.
To learn more, read "Love on a Rooftop"
Grilled Pork Loin with Peperonata
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, plus brining time
Cook Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 10 minutes, plus brining time
For the Peperonata:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
2 orange bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Zest of half a lemon
For the Brine:
8 cups water
½ cup salt
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
8 garlic cloves, smashed
5 sprigs of thyme
1 lemon, quartered
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
One 4-pound boneless pork loin
For the Grilled Pork Loin:
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and finely ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground
¼ cup olive oil
Parsley leaves, for garnish
1. Make the peperonata: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and juicy, about 25 minutes. Add the garlic and vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, add the lemon zest, and season with salt. Transfer to a non-reactive bowl to cool. Do ahead: You can make the peperonata one day head of time and store it in refrigerator until ready to use. Remove from refrigerator an hour before serving to bring it to room temperature.
2. Make the brine: Combine all ingredients except for the pork in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the salt and sugar have dissolved, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large pot and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold. Submerge the pork loin into the chilled brine and put it back in the refrigerator. Let the pork marinate in the brine for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
3. Make the grilled pork loin: In a small mixing bowl, combine the fennel, coriander and olive oil. Remove the pork from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Transfer the pork to a parchment-lined sheet tray and rub all over with the fennel-coriander mixture. Roll up the pork loin and tie with kitchen twine at 1½-inch intervals. Set the pork aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the salt to redistribute throughout the meat.
4. Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot grill for indirect grilling. Carefully oil the preheated rack. Place the loin on the rack, fat side up. Close the lid and grill, covered, until the pork is cooked through but still has a hint of light pink in the center, about 1 hour 15 minutes or until the pork registers at 140° on an instant-read meat thermometer. Remove the twine and transfer the pork to a platter. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with pepperonata and parsley leaves.
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