It’s official: grilling season is underway!

I pulled out one of my long-lost, all-time favorite grill recipes last weekend, and apparently I haven’t made pork tenderloin in years, because the boys told me they’d never had it before. And they were kinda peeved that I had held out for so long because they all loved this easy, yummy entré!

Pork tenderloin isn’t the most flavorful meat on its own, but the simply blender marinade adds some tangy citrus flavor and a hint of spice from the cayenne. Truth be told, I don’t always have both variations of chile powder in the pantry, and I often just double up on whatever’s on hand. It’s always good. The recipe calls for four hours of marinating; I’ve gone longer and it’s even better. Pork tenderloin is quick and easy to grill, and it takes on a nice, tasty char.

But the best part of this recipe is hands-down the Spicy Orange Vinaigrette. You make orange “syrup” by boiling down fresh-squeezed orange juice, and then you combine it with Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, and olive oil to make a tangy, emulsified “dressing.” You absolutely must use fresh-squeezed (store-bought is fine) rather than pasteurized juice from a carton, and you need to have patience to let it reduce to less than a tenth of its original volume. I’m not gonna lie: it takes a while. I tripled the recipe and it took almost 40 minutes to get to syrup consistency. For most of the reducing time, it will seem like nothing is happening-then, all of a sudden, the juice will have turned dark amber and will thicken. It’s imperative that you keep an eye on the pot from this time until it’s done, as it can quickly evaporate and burn. And there’s nothing yummy about burnt orange syrup.

Take a peek at what 9 cups of orange juice looks like when it’s almost done reducing into orange syrup:

I can’t rave enough about the Spicy Orange Vinaigrette. It’s a versatile sauce that would complement almost any grilled meat: chicken breasts, veal tenderloin, even flank steak. Its sweet/tangy/spicy creaminess would be a welcome condiment to any barbeque, and I hereby pledge that I won’t let so many years go by again without making this simple, satisfying dinner.


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Orange Vinaigrette

Adapted from “Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay”

    • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
    • 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
    • 3 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1 teaspoons salt
    • 2 (2 pound) pork tenderloins

Combine all ingredients except pork tenderloins in a blender and blend until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade, pour the remaining marinade into a large baking dish or sealable plastic bag, add the tenderloin and coat. Cover/seal and refrigerate for 4 hours. Remove pork from marinade and grill for 10 to 12 minutes basting with the reserved marinade. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing into 2″-thick pieces. Drizzle with Spicy Orange Vinaigrette.

Spicy Orange Vinaigrette

    • 3 cups fresh orange juice
    • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
    • 1 cup olive oil

Heat orange juice on high in a medium saucepan and reduce to 1/4 cup. Be patient; this can take up to half an hour. Keep an eye on the juice near the end, as it will begin to caramelize quickly and can burn if it reduces too much. Let cool slightly. Combine the orange syrup, vinegar, mustard and ancho chile powder in a blender and blend 30 seconds. With the motor running slowly add the oil until the dressing emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

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