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May 2, 2014

BBQ MY WAY: Save some cash with grilled pork tenderloin

Holy cow ... have you seen the price of beef lately? Yep, it’s sticker shock, near or exceeding all-time record highs.

Starting in 2008, all economic variables started working toward rising prices for beef. You had an increase in fuel and feed costs, coupled with a drought. Basically, it became more expensive to raise the livestock.

So, farmers and ranchers held off on investing in expanding their herds and operations. Fast forward to today and basically we have a cattle heard population that is at its lowest since the 1940s. Less inventory with steady demand leads to higher prices. And it will take a couple years for this to fix itself.

So until then, why not learn to prepare the filet mignon of pork —the pork tenderloin? It’s lean, tender and delicious, and with some rub and/or sauce applications, it can be “off the charts” flavorful as well. Oh, and when it’s on sale, you can find it for less than $3 per pound.

Boom!

Here’s a little culinary pork refresher course: The pork loin is the large muscle that runs down the back of the pig. The tenderloin lies under the loin muscle. The meat is usually a bit darker and doesn’t get near the workout, so it’s very tender, and smaller than the loin. Usually, the tenderloins come packed in pairs at the grocery story.

In my opinion, pork needs more assistance from a flavor standpoint, so when grilling pork tenderloin, I like to use both a rub and a sauce. For this dish, we used a store bought barbecue sauce and the rub that I make, the recipe listed below.

Set up the grill (gas or charcoal) on indirect heat. Allow the tenderloins to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes or so. Liberally apply your rub to the entire tenderloin.

Place the tenderloins on the side of the grill that is opposite the heat source. Place the lid on grill and let it cook for 15 to 20 minutes. The goal is to cook the tenderloins to 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

With a basting brush, liberally apply your favorite tomato-based barbecue sauce to the tenderloins. Now, move the tenderloins directly over the heat. This is where you will earn your stripes as a BBQ expert.

With tongs, you will constantly be rotating and turning the meat as you continue basting with the sauce. If you let it sit too long over the heat, the sugar in the sauce will burn.

Your goal is to get it to caramelize slightly, which adds texture and color, but not let the sugars burn.

Once the pork has reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit, remove and let it rest for 10 minutes. With a sharp knife, cut a bit on the bias. The end product will have sweetness, heat and fantastic texture.

And since beef prices won’t be coming down anytime soon, this will probably be a grilled dish you will be serving quite frequently. Oh, and this rub recipe below, we always keep a big jar of it on hand. It’s great on salmon and chicken too.

Dave’s Rub

1/3 cup smoked paprika

1/3 brown sugar

2 Tbs black pepper

2 Tbs kosher salt

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp ground cumin

— Dave Lobeck is an Edward Jones Financial Advisor in Jeffersonville by day and a BBQ enthusiast on nights and weekends. He is also a Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. Liz is his wife. You can contact Dave with your BBQ or grilling questions at BBQ-My-Way.com or at davelobeck@gmail.com

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