Recipe Of The Day: Grilled Pork Tenderloin

If you have a grill, then chances are it's getting a lot of use this summer. While steak, burgers and hot dogs tend to reign when it comes to American cookouts, some of the most searched-for grilling recipes are for salmon, shrimp, zucchini, ribs and even pork chops. But if you haven't been grilling pork tenderloin, then you've been missing out. (Read on for tips or jump to recipe.)

Our 50 Best Grilling Recipes

Pork tenderloin — not to be confused with flatter, wider pork loin — is a narrow, boneless, extra lean yet tender cut of meat that comes from the muscle along the backbone of the pig. It cooks up quickly, is mild yet flavorful and is a low-fat, low-calorie animal protein, which makes it a great choice for weeknight dinners. It's also one of those cuts that can be served simply for an everyday meal or dressed up for a special occasion.

The tricky part about pork tenderloin is that it can dry out quickly if you're not careful. To prevent this, recipes will often call for quickly searing it on the stovetop then finishing the tenderloin in the oven, much like you might prepare a steak tenderloin, aka filet mignon. 

But during the hottest months of the year, we suggest finding a way around turning on the oven. That's where grilling comes in. A marinade combined with a quick dance over hot flames ensures you have the tastiest, most tender tenderloin you can imagine.

You have two options when it comes to preparing the pork. You can keep it whole, which is easier but will require a bit more cooking time. Or, you can butterfly the tenderloin, which will cook faster and more evenly.

Don't be intimidated by butterflying; it's one of those cooking techniques everyone should know. All you have to do is cut the tenderloin lengthwise down the middle so you can open it like a book. Then you can pound it flat so it's an even thickness.

Once you've done that, you can marinate your pork tenderloin. Any favorite meat marinade will work, but if you're looking to try something new this hoisin-mint sauce is a flavor-packed option that will delight your taste buds. Made with a mixture of hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, ginger and fresh mint it comes together quickly but makes a big difference for your meat. In the recipe that follows, the pork tenderloin is marinated in the hoisin-mint mixture and drizzled with a fresh portion of it after cooking.

Whether you're working with charcoal or gas, the butterflied pork tenderloin won't take more than 10 minutes to grill. With some onion slices served alongside, it's almost a complete meal. All you need to round it out are some no-cook side dishes for summer barbecues or weeknight dinners.

Grilled Butterflied Pork Tenderloin With Hoisin-Mint Sauce

This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune


For the Hoisin-mint marinade and sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons pureed ginger (refrigerated in a tube) OR finely minced fresh ginger
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves, about 6 large sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

For the Grilled butterflied pork tenderloin with hoisin-mint sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin-mint marinade, see recipe
  • 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin (or boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts OR 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
  • 1 very large white onion, peeled, cut into 4 to 5 thick slices
  • Thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
  • Cooked jasmine rice


For the Hoisin-mint marinade and sauce:

Step 1: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate covered for up to 1 week.

For the Grilled butterflied pork tenderloin with hoisin-mint sauce:

Step 1: Divide the hoisin-mint mixture in half; set aside half of the mixture to use later as a sauce.

Step 2: Trim and butterfly the pork tenderloin as follows: Use a sharp knife to remove all of the silver skin from outside of the tenderloin. Then cut the tenderloin lengthwise down the middle, making an incision about 1 inch deep. Open the cut like a book. Make a lengthwise incision about ½ inch deep on either side of the first cut. Again, open the tenderloin like a book or unfolding a letter. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the meat; use a meat mallet to pound the tenderloin into a uniform ¾-inch thickness.

Step 3: Put the pork tenderloin on a baking sheet; spread the remaining hoisin-mint marinade over both sides of the meat. Let stand at room temperature, about 30 minutes, or refrigerate loosely covered up to several hours.

Step 4: Prepare a charcoal grill; let coals burn until covered in gray ash. Or heat a gas grill to medium hot. Heat the grill grate.

Step 5: Put pork and onion slices on grill directly over the heat source; cover grill and cook, 7 minutes. Flip meat and onions. Grill covered until pork is nearly firm when pressed and onions are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Step 6: Remove to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly.

Step 7: Drizzle meat with the reserved hoisin-mint sauce. Sprinkle with sliced mint leaves. Serve with grilled onions and jasmine rice.