Pork tenderloins are small enough that they are often grilled whole. But, in the end, they must be cut up for consumption. One way to skip that step is to cut them into chops or steaks and grill them that way. And you get the added bonus of increasing the surface area of the meat, which in turn increases the available area for caramelization, which we all know is delicious. So, is it a chop or is it a steak? Some may argue that since it is from a pig that it must be a chop. But some may find the lack of bone to be argument enough that it is a steak. But not all steaks have bones and certainly neither do all chops. Fair is fair. But really, a chop is a steak and vice versa. So call it whatever you want.
- 1 pork tenderloin
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Safflower oil
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Chop Recipe: Lightly Seasoned with Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Pick the right pork tenderloin. You may have noticed that your grocer is trying to get you to buy marinated pork tenderloins. These, I assure you, are an inferior product to a fresh, plain, raw pork tenderloin. They are an attempt by the producer to dupe you into buying off their surplus product. Don’t fall for it. Even though they are giving out free samples, and hey, it’s not that bad, trust it me—it is in your best interest to avoid it. Buy fresh.
- Cut the pork tenderloin into 5 or 6 pieces. Most pork tenderloins are around the same size, so you may as well cut yours into 6 pieces too. Don’t worry about trimming any fat, it’s pork fat, it’s all good. There is a little silver skin or connective tissue you could trim off if you want. But really that’s about it. Assuming that you are using a gas grill. Heat up your grill to a medium high-heat.
- Season the pork tenderloin chops. As far as seasonings go, just stick to something simple: salt, pepper, maybe some garlic flakes. Keep it simple, as this is tender, delicious meat, and it doesn’t need the altering flavors of strong herbs and spices. Don’t forget to rub the seasoned chops with a drop of safflower, canola, or vegetable oil to keep them from sticking to the grill.
- Place the chops on the grill. Once the grill has been heating up for 10 minutes, place the chops on the grates. Leave the lid off and watch the chops as they cook. If they begin to burn, lower the heat. This technique of grilling is quite hard to teach through writing. It may even be hard to teach through video. It is something that you will learn with practice. Like with most cooking, it doesn’t happen overnight.
- Rotate the chops for grill marks. After a few minutes, rotate the chops 30 degrees in either direction and onto a new piece of grate. This will give the chops the proper grill marks—elongated diamonds instead of little squares. This is for aesthetic purposes as much as taste. The extra crispy bands running across the pork are extra tasty.
- Flip the chops over. After a few more minutes, flip the chops over and cook the other side. You will know when to flip them because the chop’s sides will begin to get brown. As the other side cooks, you may choose to rotate the chops for the grill marks if you want or, if you are satisfied with your first attempt, you may leave it. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork chops. You are looking for an internal temperature of no less than 150° F.
Tips & Tricks
- You may have noticed that your grocer is trying to get you to buy marinated pork tenderloins. These, I assure you, are an inferior product to fresh, plain, raw pork tenderloin. They are an attempt by the producer to dupe you into buying off their surplus product. The world of supply and demand is fictional. Even though the supply greatly outweighs the demand, the companies have figured out that by extending the shelf life of their product, they can recoup loss without profit margins being negatively affected and yet maintain the illusion of heightened demand. This is not all that uncommon of an occurrence in the world of food. It’s capitalism at its finest. Don’t fall for it. Even though they are giving out free samples, and “hey, it’s not that bad, trust me—it is in your best interest to avoid it. Buy fresh, chemically-unaltered pork.