During the early 1990’s when I was in culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI I met this suave, dark headed, charismatic, character named Michael McEwen who was a fellow student and classmate, on the first day of our Nutrition Class. He walked in with this confident lean and “shit eating grin” that I can only snicker at now, then proceeded to slide into the desk next to mine as if the seat was coated in butter. After Michael’s initial Bostonian “Hahwahya?” (that’s How are you) and my Okie “Heyhow’zit goween?”(that’s How are you) both of the slowly dying, flickering, light bulbs above our respective heads, realized that neither of us was geographical kinsmen. In my opinion, there is no better way to start a long lasting friendship, than not comprehending what the hell the other person is saying.
After school, Michael bee-bopped around earning his culinary stripes then landed an executive chef position with a restaurant group in the Boston area. Letters (yes, that’s when people still wrote letters) were sporadic with the two of us. Michael was in Massachusetts and I was in Florida working our butts off and loving every minute of it, but we managed to catch up when we could. Those letters, then eventually emails, of sharing horror stories and successes in our respective journeys in the kitchen, were always filled with food talk and new menu ideas to bounce off of each other.
I’m not sure why it stuck with me, maybe because it sounded good or maybe because the Pork Council really started promoting the “new white meat” and everyone was really getting into pork tenderloins, but Michael started telling me about a new menu item he was playing around with called Molasses Cumin Grilled Pork Tenderloin. Something new and exciting, and I had never thought about using molasses, in essence, as a barbecue sauce. Well, the molasses idea stuck with me and I have used it many times; Either at Scotty’s Restaurant, catering gigs, or my personal chef clients. Thanks to the kid from "P’bdee" (that’s Peabody) Massachusetts, the molasses cumin glaze for pork has transcended the late 90’s through Y2K (or is it millennium?), and now is revamped for In the Kitchen With Scotty and my Barbacoa Seasoning. I hope you enjoy!
1 1/2- 2 pounds trimmed pork tenderloin
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves smashed and chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup molasses (I use Oklahoma’s own Cheatwood’s Sorghum with Molasses)
3 tablespoons In The Kitchen With Scotty “Barbacoa Seasoning”
- Rinse and trim any excess fat, silver skin, and anything “not meat” from the pork tenderloin. You want a nice smooth clean solid piece. If you are not sure or confident in trimming the tenderloin, your favorite butcher will be happy to take care of that for you.
- In a large nonmetal bowl combine the grapeseed oil, lime juice, chopped garlic and fresh cilantro; Mix to combine. Add the trimmed pork tenderloin, coat evenly, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour. Remove the tenderloin and let it “warm up” on the counter while you’re getting the grill and glaze prepped.
- When you’re ready to grill, prepare and preheat your outdoor (or indoor if you prefer) grill. In a small mixing bowl add the molasses and Barbacoa Seasoning. If by chance you do not have my Barbacoa Seasoning, you can substitute with a combination of ground cumin, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix the molasses and seasoning together into a smooth grilling glaze. Reserve half of the molasses mixture to use as a condiment, and use the other half to glaze the meat while cooking. Avoid using the same molasses that you grill with and then use it as a condiment. Using the words of Alton Brown… “that’s not good eats.”.
- Place your marinated pork tenderloin on the hot grill. Cover and cook 12-15 minutes, rotating every 2 minutes. Around 10 minutes into grilling start basting/glazing the tenderloin with a basting brush and the molasses barbacoa glaze. Be sure the glaze has been applied and “cooked on” the entire tenderloin. I generally remove the tenderloin from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees…. because well-done pork tenderloin is dry…very dry.
- As with all meat, let the tenderloin rest at least 15 minutes before cutting. This allows all the natural juices to absorb back into the meat and not run out all over your cutting board.
- Slice the pork tenderloin 1/4-1/2” thick and shingle on a platter or three to five slices per plate. Drizzle with the reserved half cup of molasses and Barbacoa or serve the glaze on the side.