Caribbean Pork Tenderloin

Gluten-Free, Grilling, Main Courses, Pork / Wednesday, June 24th, 2009


A few weeks ago, a preview for TLC’s “18 Kids and Counting” came on, and my nephew said, “That means they’ve had The Sex 18 TIMES!”

Not the most comfortable moment for my very-pregnant sister, but you’ve got to admit, the kid has an impressive mastery of cause-and-effect.

When Jeff and I decided to try this Grilled Caribbean Pork Tenderloin, I wasn’t exactly sure what we’d get, mainly because of the marinade. The tenderloin was supposed to soak for six hours in an opaque bath of coconut milk, Vidalia onion slices, fresh ginger, garlic, Scotch bonnets, dark brown sugar, lime juice and dark rum. And when you bring such disparate forces together, things either go right or wrong.

There is no middle ground.

Once Jeff finished grilling the tenderloin, I ran the meat upstairs to rest while I finished up in the kitchen. Usually my powers of putting resting meat out of my mind are strong, but not this time. I was a clock-watcher. I hovered. And when Jeff handed me a little bite while he was slicing the meat, I was not disappointed.

The “tropical” flavors aren’t over the top, but they’re definitely there, and the marinade makes for one tender tenderloin. Actually two, if you follow the recipe. The next night, we came in late from a party, sliced the second tenderloin into medallions, and ate it with our fingers straight off the plate.

And then we had The Sex 18 times.

Caribbean Pork Tenderloins

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Emeril at the Grill”

Servings: 4

  • 1/2 small Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced (Substitute with habaneros, if necessary.)
  • One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons cane or dark brown sugar
  • Two 1- to 1 1/2-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a large bowl, combine the onion, ginger, garlic, chiles, coconut milk, rum, lime juice and brown sugar. Place the tenderloins in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, and add the marinade. Remove as much air as you can before sealing the bag, and turn the bag to make sure the meat is well-coated. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, for 6 hours.
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-low.
  3. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade (discard the marinade), and blot them dry with paper towels. Brush the tenderloins with vegetable oil; season them with salt and pepper. Place them on the grill and cook, rotating as necessary, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the tenderloins reads 140 to 145 degrees F, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove them from the grill, and let them rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

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16 thoughts on “Caribbean Pork Tenderloin

  1. You know, I watched a little bit of that show about the couple that had The Sex 18 times for the first time the other night, and they weren't nearly as weird as I expected them to be. Just a nice, normal-seeming family roller skating, except there were EIGHTEEN KIDS. This pork tenderloin looks great. I don't think I've ever done a tropical marinade on pork before – I'll have to try this one!

    1. I'd never tried a tropical marinade, either, but this one was really good. Not too sweet. Not too spicy-hot.

      I was flipping through TLC yesterday and got hooked into "Little People, Big Pregnancy" or something like that. Wow.

  2. That looks absolutely fantastic! I'll have to put this recipe on my list!!!! Yummy!
    Eighteen times??? Really???!!!

  3. This looks amazing! I have this book and have been having a hard time deciding what to make next. This may be next on the list now!

    1. My copy is loaded with Post-Its. Every time I flip through, I find something new. Love that it's not the same-old beer can chicken and ho-hum burgers. Even the drinks look good.

  4. I love pork tenderloin and this one looks so good! I really wish I had the ingredients on hand to make it tonight. Love your post – and I agree with Cathy – that family is surprisingly normal considering they have 18 kids

    1. I've never seen that show, but I was hypnotized into watching "Little People, Big Pregnancy."

      I had to make a special trip for some of the marinade ingredients, but at least they were cheap!

  5. Yum! We have pork tenderloin a lot but just do a very simple herb rub and grill it. This looks very different and delicious. I like that it makes two tenderloins, like you said — leftovers are always appreciated! Maybe the second night making sandwiches with that chutney you recommended would be good…

    1. Ooh, second-night sandwiches is a great idea. I loved that the recipe was for two, too, especially since I knew we weren't going to have time for a regular dinner the second night. It was so nice to have the tenderloin waiting in the fridge when we got home.

  6. I need to get a pork tenderloin! Luckly I am making my grocery haul today! I LOVE caribbean spices! This looks fantastic! thanks!

  7. The joys of being a newlywed! :)

    I bet a tropical marinade is fantastic on pork. I love tropical flavored foods for summertime.

  8. Pork is my fave after something seafood and salad. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Lemme tell you eighteen times has got to be some kind of record.

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