This past week, with the unseasonably warm weather here in southwest Ohio, we have been spending an excessive amount of time outside. The timing couldn't be better, as we are using it to ready the house for spring. There is nothing better than spending all day under the sun working in the yard, knowing at the day's finish line will be good beer and a grilled dinner.
Tonight, dinner had a slight change of scenery. After skipping a year, we decided to strip and re-stain the deck. This multi-step backbreaking "adventure" resulted in temporarily moving the grills to concrete. Needless to say, it was quite enjoyable working the kettle on the "ground floor".
All the moving also revealed that the Performer is starting to show signs of wear. Keep in mind, this is the second bowl I have had. I replaced the first red one 6 years ago.
Dinner is a mix of several different recipes from Weber's Charcoal Grilling cookbook. Since I couldn't find a pork tenderloin at the store, I opted on just a pork loin. Along with the loin came the necessary (at least to me) brine:
1 quart of cold water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
I soaked the loin in the brine for about 5 hours...while still stripping the deck.
Once most of the outside work was done, I went back to working on dinner. I was going to say "thinking" about dinner, but truthfully, I never ever stop thinking about it!
Cajun Spiced Pork Loin with Red Bean Salad
Adapted from Weber's Charcoal Grilling
For the rub:
2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp light brown sugar
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Remove the loin from the brine. Rinse and pat dry. Coat the loin with approximately 2 tbls of dijon mustard. Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl, then rub the loin with the rub. Hmmm, seems there is an almost excessive amount of rubbing going on here....anyway, I digress.
Allow the loin to rest at room temperature, prep your grill for indirect, and feed Tessa. She would really appreciate it.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 tbls fresh lime juice
In your trusty cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook until the garlic begins to brown, which is about a fast minute. Stir periodically.
Immediately add the remaining salad ingredients.
Mix well, remove from the heat, and set aside.
Meanwhile...back to my loin
Grill the loin over direct heat for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes. Once the outside is well browned, move over to indirect heat and grill for an additional 20-30 minutes.
The loin is done when the internal temperature is 150 degrees. Be sure to check it with a thermometer. When it is done, allow it to rest several minutes, then slice and serve.
The loin turned out moist and delicious. The salad...well, the salad was just amazing. Both worked well as leftovers too, which is one of the great things about grilling a "big" meal for only two people. There is plenty left for lunch throughout the week.