Fire up the barbecue and cook up a grilled pork loin this weekend. It's easy to make and tastes really good.
To avoid any misunderstanding, a pork loin is one of two strips of meat that lay along the outer sides of the backbone of the porker. A tenderloin is one of two much smaller strips of meat that lay along the underside of the backbone, inside the body cavity. Many people mistakenly call the loin a tenderloin.
The tenderloin is more tender than the loin, since that muscle gets very little use. The loin is still pretty tender, especially smaller ones from younger hogs.
To start, the loin is marinated overnight to add some flavor. Most pork loin you find in the stores nowadays have been injected with up to 8% of their total weight with a preservative brine. Salt and sodium phosphate are the main ingredients. They prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of the meat.
The good part about this is that this helps keep the price of pork low. The downside is that the end consumer has less control over the final taste of the meat. Bottom line is to be careful when marinating and seasoning "enhanced" pork products. Use very little if any salt and you should be alright.
For a three to four pound pork loin you'll need about a quart of marinade. Combine...
Pour the marinade over the loin in a covered plastic or stainless container (or in a large freezer bag) and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning several times.
Remove from the fridge about an hour before preheating the grill to take the chill out of the meat. It'll cook much more evenly and quicker if it's near room temperature when it hits the grill.
Preheat the grill to medium high. Drain the excess marinade from the loin, then pat it dry with a clean towel. Grill the loin over direct heat ten minutes per side. With a probe thermometer check the internal temperature. Remove at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium done pork, or at 150 degrees for well done.
Cover the meat with foil and a couple of towels to hold in the heat and allow the meat to rest for 10 to 15 minutes after it comes off the grill. The internal temperature of your grilled pork loin will continue to rise another 5 degrees or so, becoming perfectly done, tender and juicy.