The most memorable time I made this pork was while on Spring Break vacation with my college-aged nieces and nephews. Though we all went our separate ways during the day (hiking, biking, shopping, etc.) we met back at the house for lunch and dinner as the “one thing” we could all agree on – I loved to cook and they loved to eat what they called “real food” instead of dorm and campus food. After several home-cooked meals in a row, my niece and her fiance planned to eat out that night. As they were getting ready for their date, she asked what I was making for dinner. After I described this pork dish, they decided they would rather “eat in.” I took that as a compliment and the dinner table was as lively as ever with the entire bunch!
But back to the present…. This dish is easy to prepare, quick to cook and very flavorful. The ginger lime marinade is sweetened with honey and balanced with soy sauce to create the perfect blend of sweet, salty and spice.
Pork Tenderloin – 2 to 2-1/2 pounds – these are the small, tender cuts of meat, typically pre-packaged. There are typically two pieces in a package. Look for “plain” (un-marinated).
Fresh Gingerroot – Peeled and rough chopped to equal about ½ cup – I have not found a good substitute for the real thing here. If I do, I’ll let you know!
Fresh Garlic – 2 to 3 cloves, peeled.
Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice – ¼ cup
Low Sodium Soy Sauce – ½ cup (I use low sodium because as the glaze concentrates during cooking, regular soy sauce can get too salty)
Honey – ½ cup
Toasted Sesame Seeds – ¼ cup – I found these “pre-toasted” in the Oriental section of the grocery – a great time saver. I keep them in the freezer between uses to maintain freshness.
Puree the gingerroot, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce and honey in a blender or food processor. It is most likely the ginger will still be fibrous and stringy, so I like to strain the marinade. I press hard on the ginger that did not puree to extract as much ginger juice and flavor as possible. Stir the sesame seeds into the marinade.
Place the pork in a glass or stainless pan and cover with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate several hours or over night. Remove the meat from the marinade. I like to use the leftover marinade to baste the pork while grilling it, but for safety, I boil it first for a few minutes to kill any nasty “raw pork germs” and then strain it.
Grill the meat until it registers between 160 degrees, basting with the cooked marinade as desired. Discard remaining marinade. Remove pork from grill to a clean platter and cover with foil. Let rest 10 minutes to redistribute juices.
When the weather precludes grilling, I simply brown the marinated pork tenderloins in a skillet with a small amount of canola oil and return to the marinade in the pan and roast according to the package directions.
I have also used this marinade for chicken breasts and chicken tenders.