Cocoa-Chile-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin Recipe
Cocoa powder is the sort of ingredient usually seen in dessert recipes, but unsweetened cocoa powder adds a deep flavor to meats when used as part of a spice rub. For this pork recipe, mix together chili powder, cocoa powder, brown sugar, cumin, pepper, and a bit of cinnamon and coat pork tenderloins all over with it. For the best flavor, let them sit overnight, but you can also grill them right away. Serve with a Tangy Cabbage Slaw for an easy and light outdoor dinner.
Game plan: After 30 minutes, the spice-rubbed tenderloins are ready to be grilled, but for more developed flavor and juicier meat, let them sit for up to 24 hours.
For the spice rub:
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dutch-process or natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the tenderloins:
- 2 (1- to 1-1/2-pound) pork tenderloins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine; set aside.
For the tenderloins:
- Trim the pork of any silver skin and pat it dry with paper towels. Using your hands, rub the tenderloins all over with the oil, sprinkle them with all of the spice mixture, and rub until evenly coated. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium (about 350°F to 450°F). If the tenderloins have been refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
- Place the tenderloins on the grill. Cover the grill and cook, turning every 5 minutes, until the tenderloins are browned all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F to 150°F, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.