Yeah i-dren, pork tenderloin is probably de best din’ for jerkin’. All kidding aside, this is just too good, tender, juicy and full of flavour. This has been one of my favorites for a while and it just keeps getting better every time I make it. But before I give away my secrets, here’s a picture of the end result:
This is the same marinade that is used in some of my other posts, the new content is just some tips to make this truly special. Jerking is an art, an you can’t rush art, but really this takes no time at all.
Marinate 5 hours to get the taste. I repeat: marinate 5 hours. You can marinate 24 hours if you like but if you do, leave out the soya, the salt and the vinegar (the tenderizing ingredients) for the first 20 hours or so otherwise the pork will turn to sawdust.
I found that fresh grated nutmeg is the way to go (you will taste the difference). This is really easy if you have a good micro-plane. While the micro-plane is out, it’s probably a good idea to fresh grind the cinnamon as well. I always use fresh ground pepper from a pepper mill. Lately I have started to use tellycherry pepper and I find that to be superior to plain black pepper. No need to buy the expensive stuff, I bought mine at Costco. I have not ground my allspice yet, but will try that in the future (grind in a coffee grinder).
In traditional jerk style cooking, smoke is a key ingredient. I have not done this as I use a gas BBQ. But will be trying this soon on the gas grill using a trick from Matt Dunigan Road Grill cookbook.
There needs to be heat, at the very least, a little burn to wake up your papillae, a bit more (a good burn) if your people can stand it. If anyone eyes are tearing, that’s probably too much. I use whole jalapeno and augment with scotch bonnet pepper in a bottle or dry habaneros chopped in the coffee grinder. It’s not easy getting this just right every time.
Now the last thing is cooking, do NOT overcook. The pork tenderloin needs to be a little pink in the middle otherwise it’s going to be dry. I cook at high heat on the BBQ with the lid up to get good char marks but my BBQ does not cook that hot. I flip every 5-6 minutes (4 sides when they are round).
For a side, I suggest the Jerk Sweet Potato fries found in the Jerk Rib recipe.
Now if you do all this and it’s not mouth watering good, then you need to keep working at it cuz it’s so good when you get it just right.
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup scallions, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons salt (I used one tsp, will try 1 and 1/2 next time)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 habanero chile pepper or substitute jalapeno (whole if you like heat) or serrano or crushed (liquid) hot peppers
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp of soya sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
Makes about 1 cup; enough for about 2 pounds of meat.
Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Put mix in a plastic bag and add meat; knead the bag a few times if you can. An hour before cooking remove the bag from the fridge and lay it on a cooling rack to allow the meat to reach room temperature.
Mash it up (i.e. Break a leg in Jamaican)