Welcome to my first in hopefully a long series of all things food related posts!
Quick background – I am an avid purveyor, consumer and cook of high-quality local foods, especially meat. In this post inspiration is drawn from a truly awesome experience I had at my local co-op. Here’s the co-op if you’re interested. I highly recommend them, again especially their meat section:
Anyway, I was in the market for a fresh pork tenderloin to grill. Usually I purchase their ‘Pastures a Plenty’ pork products. It’s a local farm ~20 miles west of the city, and produce THE cleanest most wonderful pork I’ve ever had.
However, as there were no Pastures a Plenty tenderloins on the shelf, I inquired if it possible for the butcher to cut one for me from the ‘main’ loin piece. I also asked if I could actually see what she was cutting from. Now keep in mind pork tenderloin runs ~$13/lb. But to my surprise the entire loin cut could be purchased for only $6/lb.! I couldn’t resist. She even made one cut at the sirloin. Here’s what I brought home:
The cut on the left is the entire sirloin roast. On the right in the a) tenderloin on bottom and b) center loin chops. Keep in mind there are still bones/joints in it. Somehow I needed to cut out the loin chops. Youtube it! His ‘starting point’ was a bit less broken down, but around 4:00 in the video he get to the point I needed – Sheet Boning:
After that I was pretty easily able to cut out the loin chops. From this..
Now you can see the familiar cut. Yes I could trim that fat but eh, I like porky fat.
So now question is, how to cook these three distinct cuts? Breakdown is as follows:
- Sirloin roast – low and slow on the kettle Weber
- Chops – medium-high direct heat on the charcoal grill
- Tenderloin – pesto marinade and indirect on the grill
- Sirloin roast – I’ll use a standard dry rub, recipe is:
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- pinch of fennel sees
I’ve been researching a new Kamado-style cooker but have not pulled the trigger on one yet (that will be another post). In the meantime I’ll use my good ol’ fashioned Weber grill. Here you can see the setup – charcoal in ‘minion’ style on one side and dry rubber sirloin on the other:
Start time was around 10:30 am. I’m looking for slow heat increments until it hits around 190 F, at which point it should be good. Why 190 F? Great question! The reason is, connective tissues break down around 190 F. In addition, dissolving collagen into gelatin and fat rendering requires low and slow temps. Here’s a pic of the final product. Temp reading was ~195 F, but I did not sustain that temp very long, maybe ~20 mins.
My only criticism was it was slightly dry. This is probably due to one, sirloin being more lean than traditional shoulder or butt and two, too long a cook time. Next time I will ramp up the heat sooner to hit 190 F, and also wrap in foil half way thru.
Stay tuned for part 2 in the pork series, where I demo those wonderful pock loin chops and tenderloin!