I’ve cooked pork tenderloin in several ways before this and, although they were delicious, I wanted to try something different. So, I went in a Korean direction and marinated a couple of butterflied tenderloin in a mixture containing the spicy chili pepper paste, “gochujang”. Since it’s such a lean piece of meat, overcooking has to be avoided carefully or the result will be dry.
I was going to make lettuce wraps with the sliced meat but I forgot to buy the lettuce, so I used some leftover wonton ‘cups’ from my freezer. The result would make a lovely appetizer.
Korean (Gochujang) Pork Tenderloin – serves 3-4
1/2 cup gochujang
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey** or brown sugar
1**-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1 large piece of pork tenderloin (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs)
pinch of salt
** What I used
Garnish – bunch of cilantro
In a large bowl, whisk together the gochujang, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and fish sauce until it is totally combined.
Butterfly your pork tenderloin so that it can open like a book, and is about 1 1/2 inches thick.
Season the pork with a good pinch of salt. Place the marinade in a large Ziplock bag, and place the pork into the bag. A large bowl with a lid is another option. Marinate the pork for 12-48 hours.
When your pork has marinated, prepare a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. (You can broil the tenderloin in the oven if it’s too cold to grill outside or you don’t have a grill pan.) Pull the pork from the marinade, and reserve the marinade to the side.
NOTE: If you want to use the marinade as a sauce, place it in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for several minutes. Pour some into a separate bowl so you can use some of this to baste the tenderloin while it’s grilling and not contaminate your sauce with any raw meat juices.
Grill the pork tenderloin, flipping it occasionally and basting with the reserved boiled marinade, until the pork is just cooked through and is no longer translucent at all in the center. Remember, your pork will keep cooking when removed from the grill.
Let the pork rest for 5-8 minutes, and then thinly slice across the grain and on the diagonal using a sharp knife.
Serve the slices fanned out on a platter atop the cilantro leaves and stems, and pass extra gochujang for dipping on the side. You may also serve the pork over plain cooked rice, dressing the meat with some of the cooked marinade.
For the ‘lettuce’ cups, make this quick and tasty pickled coleslaw. The pork tenderloin is also good in tortilla wraps or on buns.
Quick Pickled Coleslaw
2 cups coleslaw vegetable mix
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp wasabi paste
a pinch of black pepper
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and spoon over the coleslaw and cilantro leaves. Let sit for at least half an hour. For filling the cups, tilt the bowl so that the extra dressing drains off.
Assembling the wonton cups
Spoon one or two tablespoons of the pickled coleslaw into each wonton cup. Add sliced pork tenderloin and drizzle some spicy mayo over the top.