This grilled, sweet tea brined pork tenderloin is an amazingly simple and delicious weeknight dinner! It only takes about 15 minutes of active prep/cooking! Scroll down for video.
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Those of you who know me well know that this blog is chicken thighs and pork shoulder, not chicken breasts and pork tenderloin. I am a firm believer in a couple of principles: (1) fat is flavor; and (2) moderation is the key to eating whatever you want. I decided a long time ago that I was willing to eat a little bit less of something if I thought it tasted better or had a better texture than the thing that I could eat more of.
Did that even make sense? I feel like I was ramblinnnnng. Sorry about that. It happens sometimes.
Great Cut for Grilling!
The thing is, another principle that I live by is never say never. I actually don’t have anything against chicken breasts and pork tenderloin, I just happen to like thighs and shoulder a little bit more. Here’s the thing about pork shoulder, though: as much as I love it, it is a bit of a pain to cook. I mean, it’s easy enough. Low and slow, you know, or you can do it in the Instant Pot and that goes pretty quickly. However, this is the summer of grilling for me, and I was certainly not going to be tending a pork shoulder for hours on the grill or in my smoker. Sooooo…if I was going to grill some pork, tenderloin or chops seemed to be the way to go.
Sweet Tea Brine!
I am sure that most of you have heard of sweet tea brined fried chicken. One of my favorite places to eat fried chicken here in town, Public House, brines their fried chicken in sweet tea and it is ?????. I like to let other people fry chicken for me, though, so I knew that I wasn’t going to go there. A sweet tea brine, though, seemed like the perfect way to season a grilled pork tenderloin and keep it good and juicy. And you know what?
IT WAS. Another way to keep your grilled pork tenderloin from drying out is to not cook it to death. DID YOU READ THAT? You don’t have to turn your pork into shoe leather to safely eat it, regardless of the rumors that you may have heard. You want to cook it to an internal temperature of about 140˚ and then let it rest to redistribute the juices and allow just a little bit of residual cooking. Listen to me and your pork will be just a little pink, but totally safe to eat, and so tender you won’t believe your taste buds.
This sweet tea brined grilled pork tenderloin deserves a spot on your dinner table. Trust me. The brining takes 5 minutes of active work, then 10 minutes of grilling, and quick rest, and dinner is on the table. I even threw some broccoli on the grill for a perfect side dish. Try it!
Yield: 4 servings
5 minPrep Time:
10 minCook Time:
15 minTotal Time:
- 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
- 4 cups sweet tea (see notes for recipe, or use store-bought)
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- BBQ sauce, for serving (optional)
- In a container large enough for the pork tenderloin, whisk together the sweet tea and the salt. Place the tenderloin in the container, cover, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, turning once.
- When you are ready to grill, remove the tenderloin from the brine. Pat dry with paper towels and let stand at room temperature while you prepare the grill.
- Preheat the grill to high. Generously brush the grates with oil. Grill the tenderloin for 10-12 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140?.
- Remove the tenderloin from the grill and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Rest wrapped in foil for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with BBQ sauce if desired.
Prep/cook time does not include inactive time to brine or rest the tenderloin. To make sweet tea, boil 1 cup water and steep a family size tea bag in the water for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Add 3 cups cold water and refrigerate until cold.