Bringin’ The Heat: Ajvar Marinated Pork Tenderloin
As grillers will do, I was sitting, thinking, pondering, and generally daydreaming about meat. Namely, a piece of pork, and more specifically, a pork tenderloin. It was to be this day’s project, and hopefully, this day’s great dinner. The only unknown was the direction in which this tenderloin was going to be taken. I thought about all the flavor possibilities that sounded plausible. And then, just like that, these thoughts were quickly and simultaneously blown out of the water when my wife, arm raised with jar in hand, simply asked, “Hey, what about this?”
“Would this be good on the pork?”
“Perfect”, I thought. “A darn fine idea!”
Ajvar is a traditional Serbian condiment, made mostly of a combination of tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, garlic, and also chile peppers and eggplant, depending on the amount of heat you’re looking for. This mixture has it all, great flavor, super texture, and an amazing color that I can’t wait to see seared and smoked on this piece of meat. However, most grillers, including me, can rarely leave anything alone the way it is. We prefer to tinker and tweak, so I included fresh ground garlic, soothing my inner rebel, and then happily forged ahead.
I wasted no time giving this tenderloin a luxurious Ajvar massage, just up to that point where I started feeling self-conscious about it and decided that it was time to let it rest. ☺
After the Ajvar spa session, it was time for a generous sprinkling of roasted garlic and red bell pepper, along with a helping of seasoned black pepper.
Tons of flavor going into this one…
To get that flavor sealed in, this beauty is going directly over the coals to get a good sear on it. Give it a good couple minutes on all sides.
The smell of the Ayvar and garlic was a great sign of what was to come. After the sear, I moved the pork over to the indirect side, to go into the slow mode, letting it meander through the smoke like a fly fisherman in the early morning fog.
There’s something about a great grill aroma lingering about the yard while one piddles around, filling the time in between wanting to eat, and actually eating. But while the grill is performing it’s voodoo like magic, a little more prep was to take place in the kitchen.
You see, I do understand that some people frown upon a meal that is void of some sort of vegetable, whether it be green or some other color. In this instance, we filled that void by putting cauliflower into an aluminum pie tin, adding in a bit of olive oil and seasoned pepper, then laying it next to the pork, letting these two partners of the plate share this grill.
With the aroma tempting me like the sirens of Greek mythology, and the internal temperature of the pork letting me know that it was at the finishing point, it was time to remove the grill’s bounty. The color of the pork was amazing. Deep red-orange, with a brilliant glaze.
That peppery Ajvar makes its presence known immediately, but doesn’t linger. With that first crusty, crispy bite, all those great flavors come through, and the freshness is evident. Like a quick spark on the tongue, with the smooth, sweetness of the roasted cauliflower at the ready to put out any mouth fires that one may incur.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired