Grilling · Main Dish · Planked

Planked Maple-Molasses Pork Tenderloin

Planked Maple-Molasses Pork Tenderloin

Yes, pink-centered pork! If you learned to cook in the twentieth or early twenty-first century, or learned from someone who did, you probably learned to cook every last hint of pink out of your pork. And you probably used fattier cuts, because anything lean was like shoe leather when well-done. News flash: In 2011, the FDA changed its recommendation for cooking pork. Gone is the internal temperature of 165ºF, replaced by 145ºF, and what a difference it makes! The meat should be allowed to rest for at least three minutes before serving, and the new recommendation does not apply to ground pork. 

Now that trichinosis is no longer a threat, pork tenderloin has become one of my favorite cuts of meat. It’s tender and juicy when cooked properly, incredibly versatile, and rarely needs much prepping. This dish is quick and easy enough for a weeknight supper, and impressive enough to serve to company. How such incredibly little effort can result in something so blissfully yummy is amazing! You’ve really got to try this one. Be sure to use real maple syrup, it’s well worth it! An opened container of maple syrup keeps for a year in the refrigerator and indefinitely in the freezer, so you’ll have plenty of time to use it up.

I don’t recall where I first found a recipe combining maple syrup, molasses, and pork. I probably cut it out of the newspaper, back in the dark ages before the internet. I’d forgotten how tasty a combination it was, and didn’t initially remember why I hardly ever made it. Enter the nutrition app: Uh-oh. My old recipe earned a “D.” So did all of the other recipes I found online. I set out to find a way to enjoy this truly scrumptious combination without so much sugar and fat. After all, why bother buying a healthy pork tenderloin if you’re just going to turn it into something not so healthy? 

The resulting recipe is incredibly easy: measure, dump, refrigerate, soak, grill. Not even any chopping! The only time-consuming part is brushing the meat with sauce a few times during cooking, but that takes less than a minute. Be sure to watch everyone’s face as they take their first bite; you’ll see a lot of eye-widening and lip-smacking! Oh, and my nutrition app gives it an “A.”

You’ll find a printer-friendly version of the recipe at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

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2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp molasses (regular, not blackstrap)

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp ground ginger

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound

1 cedar plank, about the same length as your pork

Preparation:

1.) In a shallow baking dish, combine the first six ingredients (everything but the pork and the plank). Mix well. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture in a small bowl; set aside.

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2.) Add the pork to the remaining mixture in the baking dish. Turn several times to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Place the plank in a shallow pan, cover with water, and weigh down with something to keep the plank submerged. Let it soak for about an hour. (In a pinch, both can be pared down to half an hour.)

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3.) Preheat the grill on high. Remove the plank from the water and the meat from the marinade. Place the meat on the plank, and the plank on the grill. Drizzle the pork with a little of the marinade that’s left in the baking dish (not the bit you set aside in the first step), and discard the rest.

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4.) Close the grill and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for five minutes. Open the grill and brush the pork with about a third of the reserved marinade from step 1. Close the grill, and repeat twice more: 5 minutes, brush, close. At the last brushing, the meat will have been cooking about 15 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer to see if it’s done. If it’s not up to 145 ℉, give it another few minutes. Mine took 20 minutes in all; the length of time depends on the thickness of the pork and the temperature of the grill.

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5.) By the end of the cook time, there will be a lot of blackened drippings on the plank, but the pork will have a lovely, deep smoky color. When the meat is done, transfer it to a serving platter and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Planked Maple-Molasses Pork Tenderloin


Ingredients


2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
1 cedar plank, about the same length as your pork

Directions


1.) In a shallow baking dish, combine the first six ingredients (everything but the pork and the plank). Mix well. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture in a small bowl; set aside.
2.) Add the pork to the remaining mixture in the baking dish. Turn several times to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Place the plank in a shallow pan, cover with water, and weigh down with something to keep the plank submerged. Let it soak for about an hour.
3.) Preheat the grill on high. Remove the plank from the water and the meat from the marinade. Place the meat on the plank, and the plank on the grill. Drizzle the pork with a little of the marinade that’s left in the baking dish (not the bit you set aside in the first step), and discard the rest.
4.) Close the grill and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for five minutes. Open the grill and brush the pork with about a third of the reserved marinade from step 1. Close the grill, and repeat twice more: 5 minutes, brush, close. At the last brushing, the meat will have been cooking about 15 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer to see if it’s done. If it’s not up to 145 ℉, give it another few minutes. Mine took 20 minutes in all; the length of time depends on the thickness of the pork and the temperature of the grill.
5.) By the end of the cook time, there will be a lot of blackened drippings on the plank, but the pork will have a lovely, deep smoky color. When the meat is done, transfer it to a serving platter and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

3 thoughts on “Planked Maple-Molasses Pork Tenderloin

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