This is super-sized Korean barbecue. Instead of traditional thin slices of pork, grilled quickly, I’m grill roasting whole pork tenderloin. As much as I love those thin slices, they’re too much work for me on a weeknight.
Did I mention my family is addicted to Gochujang, the spicy Korean pepper paste?1 I’ve been using it a lot, trying to satisfy their cravings…and my cravings.
If there’s a trick to this recipe, it is properly grilling the pork tenderloin. You can’t sear tenderloin over direct heat for the whole cooking time – they will burn on the outside long before they’re cooked in the middle. (And the gochujang marinade will make that worse – the sugar in the sauce burns quickly.) The key is the sear-and-move technique. Sear the outside of the tenderloin over direct heat, to get some grill marks going, then finish them over gentle, indirect heat. A remote probe thermometer makes this easy – poke the probe deep into the tenderloin, close the lid, and wait for the internal temperature to hit 145°F for medium doneness, with a hint of pink.
Recipe: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Gochujang Marinade
- Grill (I love my massive Weber Summit 670)
- Probe thermometer (I like the ChefAlarm by Thermoworks because it has high-heat safe probes…but even then, I’m careful with them.)
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Gochujang Marinade recipe. Super-sized Korean barbecued pork.
- 2 (1.25 pound) pork tenderloins, silver skin trimmed
- 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons mirin (or substitute rice wine vinegar plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 minced scallion
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Marinate the pork: Put the pork tenderloins in a gallon zip-top bag or a baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients – gochujang, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, mirin, and brown sugar – until the brown sugar dissolves. Pour the marinade over the pork tenderloins. (Squeeze the air out of the bag and zip closed if using). Marinate for at least least 1 hour, up to overnight, turning the pork occasionally to even out the marinade.
- Set the grill for indirect medium heat: Set up the grill for indirect medium heat – half the grill for direct medium heat, half the grill with no heat. For my gas grill, I preheat with all burners on high for 10 minutes, then brush the grill grates clean with my grill brush. I turn half the burners down to medium, and turn off the other half of the burners.
- Sear the pork over direct heat, finish over indirect heat: Remove the tenderloins from the marinade, letting any excess drip off, and put them on the direct medium heat side of the grill. First we sear the pork as if it has four sides: grill it until there are browned grill marks on the bottom, about 2 minutes, then give the pork a quarter turn. Repeat until each side has good grill marks: grill for about 2 minutes, turn, grill for another 2 minutes, turn, and a grill for 2 minutes on the last side. Move the pork to the indirect heat side of the grill, so there are no direct flames below it. (If you have a remote probe thermometer, now is the time to poke it deep into the thickest part of the tenderloin and set it for 145°F). Close the lid and cook until the pork reaches 145°F internal in its thickest part for medium, about 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice, sprinkle with the minced scallions and sesame seeds, and serve.
I love probe thermometers, but you have to be careful with them on the grill. The thermometer probe is only rated to 400°F on less expensive thermometers – if the wire runs over the flames on a grill, it will get MUCH hotter than that. Keep the probe wire away from the high heat side of the grill and it will be fine.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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