Published July 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
A savory filling boosts flavor and helps this lean cut stay moist on the grill—if you can keep the stuffing from leaking out.
Pork tenderloin has many advantages—short cooking time, tender texture, and uniform shape—but it easily overcooks and sorely lacks in flavor and juiciness.
We wanted to infuse this pork roast with flavor by stuffing it with a rich-tasting filling that was more than skin-deep. We also wanted to nail down a consistent cooking method.
We decided to develop our recipe for two tenderloins, which would make enough to feed four to six people. We butterflied each piece by bisecting it lengthwise, opening it up like a book, then pounding it to an even thickness. This helped create more surface area for the filling, which we rolled up inside the tenderloin before trussing to prevent leakage during cooking and carving.
We needed to keep our filling’s bulk to a minimum, as a traditional bread stuffing would ooze out as the tenderloins cooked. We opted for three robustly flavored pastes made from ingredients that required nothing more than a whirl in the food processor. Layering raw baby spinach leaves over the fillings freshened their rich flavors and added bright color.
Next, we addressed the grilling method. Lean pork tenderloin needs a forgiving heat source that won’t parch the meat’s exterior before the interior has a chance to cook through. We opted for a modified two-level fire, where all the coals are spread evenly over one side of the grill, leaving the other side cooler. This produced tender meat with perfectly warmed-through fillings and a nicely browned exterior (thanks to a coating of dark brown sugar).list of recipes