Preparing a pork tenderloin on the grill has got to be one of my favorite meals of all time.Â It was a regular staple of my cooking arsenal years ago, but over the past few years I have been dealing with a charcoal grill rather than a gas grill, and for the way I like to grill pork tenderloin, it was just too much trouble with the small, portable charcoal grill I had (it was all I had access to).Â I tried it several times, but not only was it a challenge getting a full pork loin to fit on that little grill, but I was never able to control the heat well enough to handle the cooking the way I wanted it done.Â Now that I have a new Viking gas grill to work with… oh boy, oh boy, oh BOY!
The thing about cooking a pork tenderloin on the grill is that it’s really easy to get really good results, and to really impress your friends, family or whomever else might be sitting at your table.Â On top of that, cooking pork is actually quite healthy.Â Pork is very low in fat, and is very adaptable to many different recipes.Â It also takes on flavors very well, so if you want to add a wet or a dry rub, or perhaps a marinade (from a simple store-bought Italian dressing, which is something I like a lot, to more fancy, home-made concoctions handed down through the generations…)Â The one thing you do need to be careful about is that because pork is such a low fat content meat, it has a tendency to dry out quickly if it’s not prepared properly.
So how do you prepare it properly?Â Well, one thing you can do (other than the store bought Italian dressing technique I just mentioned), is to soak your tenderloin in brine for anywhere from 10 to 12 hours, or even as much as 24 hours if you want to.Â Brine is simply salt water.Â You can add 2 to 3 tablespoons of good salt (I prefer Kosher salt, but many people swear by sea salt) to a quart of water and just let the pork loin soak in that, covered, in the fridge.Â Doing this will help ensure you have a nice, juicy pork loin when you take it off the grill.
As for grilling, you will need to cook on 2 different temperatures.Â This is why I like my new gas grill so much; I can crank it up to get it good and hot, then just turn the dial down when it’s time to slow cook.
You’ll want to use very high heat at first to sear the outside. And remember, as opposed to chicken breasts or steaks where you are cooking 2 sides of meat, this cut is more like a tube, so you can think of it as having 4 sides to sear. On high heat it should take about 3 to 4 minutes per side to get some nice, dark grill marks on the meat. After that, turn the heat down and finish it off. This will insure that you have a tasty, crunchy outer layer of meat and still a very tender, juicy and delicious inside.