caribbean-tenderloin-1

A few weeks ago, a preview for TLC’s “18 Kids and Counting” came on, and my nephew said, “That means they’ve had The Sex 18 TIMES!”

Not the most comfortable moment for my very-pregnant sister, but you’ve got to admit, the kid has an impressive mastery of cause-and-effect.

When Jeff and I decided to try this Grilled Caribbean Pork Tenderloin, I wasn’t exactly sure what we’d get, mainly because of the marinade. The tenderloin was supposed to soak for six hours in an opaque bath of coconut milk, Vidalia onion slices, fresh ginger, garlic, Scotch bonnets, dark brown sugar, lime juice and dark rum. And when you bring such disparate forces together, things either go right or wrong.

There is no middle ground.

Once Jeff finished grilling the tenderloin, I ran the meat upstairs to rest while I finished up in the kitchen. Usually my powers of putting resting meat out of my mind are strong, but not this time. I was a clock-watcher. I hovered. And when Jeff handed me a little bite while he was slicing the meat, I was not disappointed.

The “tropical” flavors aren’t over the top, but they’re definitely there, and the marinade makes for one tender tenderloin. Actually two, if you follow the recipe. The next night, we came in late from a party, sliced the second tenderloin into medallions, and ate it with our fingers straight off the plate.

And then we had The Sex 18 times.

Caribbean Pork Tenderloins

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Emeril at the Grill”

Servings: 4

  • 1/2 small Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Scotch bonnet chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced (Substitute with habaneros, if necessary.)
  • One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons cane or dark brown sugar
  • Two 1- to 1 1/2-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a large bowl, combine the onion, ginger, garlic, chiles, coconut milk, rum, lime juice and brown sugar. Place the tenderloins in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, and add the marinade. Remove as much air as you can before sealing the bag, and turn the bag to make sure the meat is well-coated. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, for 6 hours.
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-low.
  3. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade (discard the marinade), and blot them dry with paper towels. Brush the tenderloins with vegetable oil; season them with salt and pepper. Place them on the grill and cook, rotating as necessary, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the tenderloins reads 140 to 145 degrees F, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove them from the grill, and let them rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro.