For Easter this year, I have decided to change things up a bit. I am going to take the traditional ham that we tend to cook every year and put a twist on it, literally! I want to grill something new and exciting within the pork family, and what sounds more exciting than brined pork tenderloin grilled on the rotisserie?
I love pork tenderloin for many reasons. It is the most tender cut of pork and is considered one of my go-to quick meals. It doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes to cook, and within that time, I can prepare a wonderful meal and have plenty of leftovers. Speaking of pork tenderloin leftovers, there are so many delicious options for meals for the rest of the week. Slice it thin, and you have a delicious deli sandwich or use the griddle and make a hot, cheesy Cuban sandwich. I will even slice the tenderloin on the thicker side, and then cut into thin strips to make street style tacos. So many wonderful meals all from the pork tenderloin!
For this recipe, I place the pork tenderloin in a brine to give it additional moisture and flavor and cook it on the Bull BBQ Rotisserie, rotating it slowly into a grilled “pseudo ham,” or what I call “pork perfection.” By using a brine, you can say goodbye to what can be a dry piece of pork tenderloin if cooked for just a few minutes too long. By adding this simple step, it not only assures you a perfectly moist and flavorful piece of meat, but it also eliminates the fear of overcooking and drying the meat out.
The brining solution is simple. The basic rule of thumb is for every tablespoon of Kosher salt, add one cup of room temp water to dissolve the salt. I like to add aromatics and dry spices to boost the flavor. Some of my favorites are bay leaves, black peppercorns, crushed whole garlic, lemon rind and juice, and even a fresh rosemary sprig. The world is your oyster, so experiment and find what aromatics you enjoy the most when it comes time to creating your brining solution. Whether it is chicken, a pork chop, or in this case the pork tenderloin, be sure to make enough solution so that the entire piece of protein is submerged in the brine. Since the pork tenderloin is so lean wth little fat, it does not require that much time to soak in the brine before it is ready to cook. A minimum of 30 minutes up to 90 minutes works nicely. Soaking this particular cut of meat for more than 2 hours is not recommended because the brine can start to break down the proteins in the meat and turn it into mushy consistency. Important note – once the tenderloin is removed from the brine, rinse it off and pat it dry with a paper towel to avoid the meat becoming too salty.
Once on the Bull BBQ Rotisserie, step it up another notch and use the Bull Basting Brush to add a sweet jam glaze as it slowly turns. Evenly coat all sides of the tenderloin, allowing it to form a crispy outer layer with additional sweetness from your jam of choice. Add a grilled seasonal veggie along with the grilled pork tenderloin, and your entree is complete.
My husband is a farmer and brought home a box of beautiful Delta Queen asparagus. My general rule of thumb with any grilled veggie is simple: toss with evoo, and season with salt and pepper. I like to grill asparagus until the spears have nice color on them, but still a little bite in texture. Top with Parmesan shavings and enjoy!
How about another twist on our traditional holiday meal? I would also like to teach you how to cook a berry crumble in the Bull BBQ. That is right, baking dessert in the bbq! Start with a Bull Pizza Stone on top of the grill, and then place a stainless steel cooling rack on top of the stone to elevate the dessert pan. This turns the grill into an oven! With the bbq lid closed, you can adjust the fire and use the temperature gauge on the lid to control the heat as though you were cooking it in your own oven in the house! Just make sure to use enamelware pans (even disposable pans would work). I like to use a cast iron pan to bake my berry crumble. I find using the cast iron pan a nice touch for presentation, served with some vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream! Important note: my cast iron pans are seasoned very well and are less likely to react to the acidity of the berries. If you have cast iron pans that are new and less seasoned, use something else to avoid this acidic reaction.
As a final touch for this year’s twist on the traditional Easter meal, I want to share one of my favorite aperitifs, the Aperol Spritz. It is the perfect cocktail for the spring and summer seasons. This cocktail is packed with tons of flavor, and with very little alcohol content, it is the perfect drink for the hot days of summer ahead of us.
I recently went out to dinner with my family and was reminded by a dear friend how delicate and delightful this drink can be. It will give the traditional mimosa a run for its money on those hot spring and summer days ahead! The Aperol Spritz is the perfect balance of sweet, slightly bitter, and bubbly all in one glass, a true definition of the Italian Aperitivo, and it is incredibly easy to make.
I prefer to use a large, oversized wine glass, adding ice and an orange slice before pouring the drink contents. Aperol is an amazing product from Italy. It is made with amaro botanicals like bitter orange, cinchona, gentian and rhubarb. Just like with cooking, you can mix and match Aperols for flavor variety. Some of my favorites are: on the rocks or as a variation of the Negroni, substituting the Campari for the Aperol. I also prepare it like a highball, with bubbly, with vodka, or even with fresh citrus added to it. Be adventurous this spring and summer and come join me for an Aperol Spritz!
I love holidays like Easter because they bring family together, amazing food to the table, and create many memories to cherish as we grow older. I hope my Easter holiday meal will bring as much enjoyment to your table and family as it does mine. This Easter, while we are sitting at the table enjoying the meal, I plan to ask each family member to share one of his or her favorite all-time meals. Perhaps it is a recipe they have created, or one that their grandmother cooked for generations and they enjoyed as a child. I urge you to do the same. It will open the door to endless conversation, wonderful memories, and recipes to be shared! Don’t forget to toast with your Aperol Spritz to great health, lots of laughter, and to fun times grilling with Bull BBQ!
Buona Pasqua & buon appetito!
-Chef Amy Aberle-Rogan
- 1 pork tenderloin, 2.5-3 pounds, 2 small pieces to a pack
- 1 small jar fig spread, Dalmatia Brand is good to use
- Salt and pepper
- For the Brine:
- ¼ cup salt, Kosher
- 4 cups water, room temp
- 1 small lemon, rind and juice
- 4 black peppercorns
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed skin removed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig rosemary
- Place room temp water into a bowl.
- With a whisk, add the salt and stir until it has dissolved.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients: lemon rind and juice, peppercorns, crushed garlic, bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Then pour and completely cover the tenderloin in a small glass or plastic container for 30 minutes.
- Once ready, rinse the brined pork tenderloin under fresh water, pat dry with a paper towel and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the fig jam into a bowl and add a little water to loosen, stirring with a spoon. This will make it easier to brush onto the pork as it is turning on the rotisserie.
- Remove the grill grates directly under the pork and place a disposable aluminum tray under to catch the dripping. Place the tenderloin on the rotisserie spit and place into the rotisserie motor. Review the video Bull BBQ Rotisserie if you need to refresh your memory.
- Turn the rotisserie burner on to high. Also, turn the rotisserie motor to on to start the rotisserie, continuously turn.
- After 20 minutes, lift the lid and with the basting brush, evenly distribute the fig jam onto the tenderloin. Adjust the temperature as needed, if too high, lower it a notch. Close the cover and let it continue to cook.
- Once 30 minutes has passed, lift the lid and do the same procedure with the jam and close to cover with the lid.
- At around 45 minutes, turn the rotisserie off, stopping it from spinning, and with the Instant Read Flip Tip Digital Thermometer, take the temperature in the center part of the pork tenderloin. If the temperature reads 145 degrees, the pork is done.
- Turn the heat off, carefully remove the pork from the rotisserie spit, and let it set on the Bull Bamboo Chopping Block to rest before slicing and as you grill your veggies to pair with pork tenderloin.
- 3 parts Prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 part Soda Water
- Fill a large, oversized wine glass with ice.
- Add an orange slice.
- Add the drink mix of 3,2,1 and enjoy! Cin Cin!
- For the Filling:
- 4 cups of fresh berries of your choice. I like to use 1 cup blackberries, 2 cups blueberries and 1 cup raspberries. (If you are using frozen berries, thaw and drain off excess liquid so that your crumble doesn’t get too watery.)
- ⅓ cup sugar, granulated
- 1 small lemon, zest and juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Crumble Topping:
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup flour, all-purpose
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Place the pizza stone on top of the grill and then the stainless steel cooling rack on top of the stone.
- Preheat grill to 350 degrees, turning all four grill dials just a little past low.
- For the filling: in a large bowl, gently toss the three berries with the granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon and lemon zest. Transfer to the cast iron pan. If you are not using a seasoned cast iron pan, grease the baking dish that you are using before placing the berry mix in.
- For the topping, in a Kitchen Aid using the paddle, combine the oats, flour, salt and brown sugar and stir on low. Add the butter and work completely incorporating all the ingredients together, resembling a coarse meal.
- Evenly sprinkle the crumble on top of the berry mixture in the pan.
- Place the skillet on top of the rack and close the lid. Let it cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the berries are bubbling and the crumble is medium brown in color.
- Remove and let it cool till ready to eat.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream. I bet you can’t eat another piece!