Apple Bourbon marinated pork tenderloin. It sounds pretty fancy. Sounds like something you’ll put some serious time into. That really wasn’t the case. I did very little in the way of preparation for this meal other than warm the grill up and peel the pork loin out of a wrapper. Let’s face it, you can’t cook something truly epic every night of the week. Sometimes after a long day at work you just need something quick and good that wasn’t microwaved. Tonight was one of those nights for me. So with that in mind, I decided to cook some pre-marinated pork loins.
I’m no stranger to these pre-marinated tenderloins; they’re a summertime staple with my friends and me. They’re relatively cheap and can feed a decent amount of people if you buy enough of them. I came to realize that even though I’ve eaten more than enough of these, I’ve never looked at them with a critical eye. As you can see above, the tenderloins come neatly tucked away in a vacuum sealed package, swimming in their own slimy form of marinade. One of these would be more than enough to feed my wife and I, so I went ahead and made two; leftovers make the best lunches. After skinning the wrapper off of them, I realized two things. First, they smelled terrible. And second? They look quite strange and almost a little sad in their raw form.
When was time to throw these on the grill, I realized I had made a mistake. I had lit the grill as soon as I got home from work. I cranked it up to high heat on both burners and left it go for around 15 minutes to “clean the grates”. Why I do this is beyond my understanding but I do it anyway. This was a mistake on my part.
Once the pork was up to temperature, I pulled them off and took them into the house to slice. These things looked somewhat awkward sitting there on the plate. However, they smelled amazing. They smelled nothing like they did when they were first unwrapped. There was a sweet aroma of apples wafting off of these two with a slight undertone of a smokiness that I’m sure was supposed to be Bourbon.
Some things that I’ve found with these pre-packaged pork loins are as follow:
- When you’re picking these out in the store, try to get one that’s uniform in thickness from end to end. One of the loins that I cooked tonight was more triangular in shape which led to one end drying out while the other stayed juicy and tender.
- I can’t stress this enough: use a meat thermometer! People seem to be afraid of juicy pork for some reason. 160° F is considered safe for pork, and has the interesting side effect of being an internal temperature that results in moist, flavorful pork. This is true for all pork loins, not just these.
- These things are way too salty. I’m not sure if rinsing them before cooking will cut down on some of the saltiness, but I’m willing to give it a try next time.
The pork was, as the package promised, tender. It was juicy. And above all else it was flavorful. I forgot just how good these things were. For the price of them and the amount of time invested in them, they’re well worth it. Some day I may try to duplicate this marinade on my own, but for now these will do quite nicely.