Saturday, May 15, 2010

Grilled Bourbon Tenderloin

They would kick me off The Next Food Network Star for what I'm about to suggest. Is anyone else a fan of the show? I think it was last season that they were so upset with a woman for suggesting that a meat marinade could be cooked and served as a sauce. Horrors! I understand that we don't want anyone to get sick, but I made this dish and cooked the marinade as a sauce two days ago -- and I'm still alive. Shh. Don't anyone tell them over at Food Network. Okay?

Seriously, if you're concerned about the sauce having touched raw meat, set aside part of the marinade before you add the meat and cook that portion as the sauce.

In The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, one of Sophie Winston's favorite meats is pork tenderloin. It's so versatile and is great with all sorts of fruits and sauces. Now that it's finally grilling season here, I thought of Dave and hauled out the bourbon. Bourbon isn't my drink of choice, nor is it a favorite of my guest who shared this meal, but we both like the flavor that it imparts. So, if you're not a fan of straight bourbon, don't let that deter you. It mixes nicely with the other flavors in this marinade.

When you buy the pork tenderloin, don't mistakenly buy a large piece of meat. It should be about 2 inches in diameter and somewhere around 10 inches in length. It often comes packaged in a sealed plastic sleeve. Read the label. I'm sorry to say that many companies add preservatives to it. Look for one that says "no preservatives."

While it's not an absolute necessity (the old cut and peek method still works, after all), I used my handy-dandy Thermapen to check the temperature. These little beauties are expensive, but when I add up the number of $11 to $30 meat thermometers I've bought and thrown out after a year, it's worth the expense. It also makes a very nice gift for a special cook in your life!

Grilled Bourbon Tenderloin

2 or 3 pork tenderloins
1/2 cup Bourbon
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup apple vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 generous tablespoon chopped dried rosemary
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

Combine the ingredients and place the meat in the liquid to marinate for at least two hours. Turn after one hour to be sure both sides are marinated.

Remove the meat and place on a moderately hot grill. CLOSE the cover. Cook approximately 18 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 155 degrees. When you remove the meat from the grill, let stand for at least five minutes before slicing.

CAUTION: Do not overcook! The meat should be soft. If you overcook it, it will become dry and tough.

While the meat is cooking, place the remaining marinade in a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer at least 10 minutes, or until the meat is ready. Slice the meat into half-inch rounds and spoon the sauce over the meat to serve.

One tenderloin provides about three servings.


Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure, debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
Independent Bookstore List: here
- Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!) - Centuries & Sleuths (Julie's local mystery bookstore) - Barnes & Noble -

And while we're here...

Avery is offering FREE BOOKMARKS on her website. Click this FREE BOOKMARK link to send her your information.

She also has a "fan club" contest (separate from Julie's) that is running until this FRIDAY. Click this CONTEST link to see how to enter. Hint: the instructions are in the last paragraph of the newsletter.


  1. This recipe looks fabulous. The bourbon and apricot flavors; the soy, garlic, and rosemary - my taste buds are dancing just reading the ingredients. Have a great weekend!

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. My year without my grill is difficult when you post these TERRIFIC recipes, and this is a terrific recipe.

    One suggestion... Plastic ziplock bags for the marinade. You can squeeze the air out and get the juices coating more of the meat. You still need to flip at half time to get a good covering, but it will work better.

    You may see this soon on my site for faux grilling.

  3. I purchased a pork tenderloin yesterday and was wondering how I could prepare it rather than just grill it. This is perfect. Thanks.

    Thoughts in Progress

  4. Great recipe, Krista! And I LOVE bourbon in a marinade. I'm also one of those who looks for "no preservatives"--thanks for the reminder that they can be used for pork tenderloin production and to steer clear!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. I cook my marinades all the time and so far -- knock wood -- we haven't gotten sick. I don't understand what Food Network's problem is as long as you actually cook the marinade. Heck, I sometimes thaw things on the counter, too. I know, I know... that's wrong. Don't tell anyone.

    My husband and I love pork tenderloin and this marinade sounds wonderful. Grilling is one of the true joys of summer!


  6. PS - I meant to add -- Wonderful post, Krista!!

  7. I have a similar recipe (without the bourbon) for chicken in the oven. I always figure if the marinade comes to a boil it's okay, and we've never gotten sick from it.

  8. Krista,

    This looks FANTASTIC! We love a good pork
    tenderloin. I have a rosemary bush out back
    that I love to snip for cooking. Don't tell but
    we cook the marinade, too, and yes, I even thaw on the counter sometimes;-)

  9. Thanks, Cleo. A lot of flavors, but they combine nicely.

    Dave, Ziplock bags are great for marinating -- and no washing! : ) Can't wait to see this recipe on your site.

    Mason, we must have been on the same wavelength! It's rare that I find nice pork tenderloin around here. I grab it when I can! I hope it turns out as well for you as it did for me.

    Elizabeth, if you love bourbon, I think you'll like this! Frankly, I even liked it cold the next day.

    Is it warm enough to grill there yet, Julie? Shh, I thaw things on the counter first, too. It take days for some things to thaw in the refrigerator. When Lucy Zahrey, the poison lady, spoke at Malice, she referred to some research that indicates that foods with mayo and creamy ingredients don't go bad immediately from lack of refrigeration, but from the bacteria in the food from the hands of the person preparing it. I'd like to read that research. It's an interesting theory.

    ~ Krista

  10. Thanks Dru and Juju!

    Cindy, that sounds like an interesting recipe for the chicken. Hmm, now my mouth is watering!

    Jenn, such shocking revelations today! Now I'm getting very curious. I wonder if lots of people commit these sins?

    ~ Krista