We know cocoa powder is generally used in desserts; however, occasionally, I’ve added it to savory dishes with wonderful results.
Unsweetened cocoa adds a deep flavor to meat, particularly, when it is combined with chili powder, in a dry spice rub. To that mix, add a little cinnamon, brown sugar and seasonings to coat pork tenderloin. I let it stand for about an hour, but for even more flavor, coat the meat and refrigerate it overnite.
I saw this recipe on CHOW, and Bill and I were amazed with how good it turned out. I adapted the recipe slightly, omitting cumin, as that’s one spice not bought, nor used here. The spicy rub is easy, has a nice deep color for the pork and tastes scrumptious! I will be repeating this soon!
Cocoa-Chile-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients for the spice rub:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine; set aside.
For the tenderloins:
2 (1 to 1½ pounds) pork tenderloins
1-2 tablespoons oil
Trim pork of any silver skin and pat dry with paper towels.
Using your hands, rub the tenderloins all over with the oil.
Sprinkle them with all of the spice mixture, and rub until evenly coated.
Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Heat grill to medium. If the meat has been refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
Place tenderloin on grill, cover grill and cook, turning every 5 minutes, until the pork is browned all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145 to 150 degrees, about 20-30 minutes.
Transfer pork tenderloins to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Cut crosswise into ½” thick slices and serve.
“He shoveled the bacon out on a plate and broke the eggs in the hot grease, and they jumped and fluttered their edges to brown lace and make clucking sounds.”~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden