Okay kids, it’s officially here. GRILL SEASON IS ON BABY!!!!!! Now out here in the great Pacific Northwest it’s the mid 50’s with steady rain, but no reason not to grill though, right? So with grill season in mind, I bring to you a recipe from the good folks at Maker’s Mark bourbon. You guys know I’m a bourbon lover, and that my favorite is Maker’s Mark. There is a quality to this bourbon that is head and tails above the rest. It may be because they use water from an onsite limestone spring fed lake. It could also be the corn and grains. It may also be the fact they use a small number of barrels per batch. Personally, I think it’s just the fact that the company is run by folks who give a damn about producing a quality, uniquely American product and it shows. Now, on with the grilling!
Maker’s Mark Marinated Pork Loin
2 ½ pounds pork tenderloins
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup water
¼ cup canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Rinse tenderloins and pat dry. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a small bowl until blended. Place tenderloins and marinade in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag or shallow dish. Seal or cover and chill at least 12 hours. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Sprinkle evenly with salt.
Grill, covered with grill lid, over high heat 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 155 or so, turning occasionally. Remove from heat, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes or until thermometer registers 160.
Okay, that’s the recipe from the Maker’s Mark folks. Now, you know me. I can’t leave well enough alone sometimes, so what I would do here is also slice up some crisp Granny Smith apples into thick rings, about ¾” thick. You want to end up with about 3-4 slices per serving. Make a bourbon glaze out of around 6-7 ounces of Maker’s Mark, about 2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar and a touch of nutmeg. While the tenderloin is off the grill and resting, grill the apple slices, brushing with the glaze as they cook. The apples should be tender, but not mushy. No more than 2-3 minutes a side, depending on heat. Be careful of flare-ups from the glaze.
Slice the tenderloin into ½-¾” medallions. Place 3-4 of the grilled apple slices on the plate, and arrange some of the pork medallions on top. Garnish with a small apple peel twist, and drizzle just a little of the glaze if serving adults. Serve this with a veggie or salad of your choice. I’d go with grilled corn dusted with ancho chili powder.
As for the drink? Only one choice in my opinion. A Maker’s Mark Mint Iced Tea. In a mixing glass muddle 4-5 mint leaves and a teaspoon of raw sugar. Add 2-3 ounces of Maker’s Mark, ice cubes and fill with your favorite non-sweet iced tea. Shake, then strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. The taste of Maker’s Mark goes so well with this dish that I would forgo the wine in favor of this cocktail.
Ah, grillin’ season. Gotta love it.