Brining pork tenderloins are a quick and easy way to add some flavor and moisture to a very lean cut of pork. It’s fun to add spirits to your brine and drive the theme home by serving cocktails that echo the flavors of the brine. Yes, that means I have made a whiskey sour brine using lemons, granulated sugar and bourbon, as well as a spiked cider brine using apple cider and Calvados.
The relatively short brining time (1 1/2 to 2 hours) gives the meat a flavor that is pleasant, but not overbearing. Feel free to add your favorite dry rub or just season the pork with a bit of salt and pepper prior to cooking.
Pineapple and Rum Brined Pork Tenderloin
2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 to 2 pounds each), trimmed
1 cup warm water
4 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice (we used fresh squeezed)
5 Tablespoons rum (we used Bacardi Gold)
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1. To make the brine put the warm water and kosher salt into a large bowl or large, sealable plastic storage bag. Stir the water until the salt dissolves. Add the cold water, pineapple juice and orange juice to the salt water. Stir until blended. Add the rum, lime juice, brown sugar, chili flakes, cloves and black pepper. Stir until blended.
2. Add the trimmed pork tenderloins to the bowl or plastic bag. Stir the brine to coat all sides of the pork. Cover the bowl or seal the plastic bag and put the pork and brine into the refrigerator. Brine the pork tenderloins for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring the brine mixture over the pork once or twice during the brining period.
3. Remove the pork from the brine. Throw away the brining liquid. Pat the tenderloins dry. Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper or a dry rub of your choice, if desired. Let the tenderloins sit for 15 to 30 minutes so that the meat can come to room temperature.
4. Roast or grill the tenderloins until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145 degrees. Put the tenderloins on a platter and lightly cover or tent the meat the meat with foil. Rest the meat for 5 minutes. Remove the foil. Serve the pork hot, or continue to cool, uncovered and serve the pork when warm, or at room temperature.
©Recipe Sally James Mathis
©Photography Taylor Mathis