Prior to really getting into planking, almost everything I saw adorning a wood plank on the grill was salmon. Not being a seafood guy, this wasn't much of an invitation for me to go out and purchase planks, but when I started thinking of planking outside of the realm of fish, my head was swirling with possibilities. The very first thing I tried has been my favorite so far: a planked maple-mustard pork tenderloin.
I started this tenderloin off with a brine, adding maple syrup, garlic, rosemary, and black peppercorn into the mix to give the pork more flavor and moisture. After a four-hour soak, I thought it only fitting that a maple brine called for maplewood, and rested the pork on a plank and brushed it with a mustard slather. It was then roasted over medium indirect heat until the meat hit a nice medium 145°F.
The carryover brought the meat closer to fully cooked, but there was absolutely no loss of of moisture in this tenderloin. The pork was incredibly tender and juicy, with a faint sweetness that contrasted with a little spice and crunch from the mustard crust. The maple plank lent a touch of woodsy flavor that was just enough to ignite the new passion for planking that now has me completely engulfed.
- For the Brine
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- For the Mustard Slather
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of silverskin and excess fat
- 1 maple plank, soaked in water for at least 1 hour prior to use
- Type of fire: two-zone indirect
- Grill heat: medium
To make the brine, combine water, 1/2 cup maple syrup, salt, garlic, rosemary, and black peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, transfer to a large, non-reactive container, cover and place in the refrigerator until cooled below 40 degrees. Place tenderloins in brine and brine in refrigerator for 4 hours. Remove from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
To make the mustard slather, mix together Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in a small bowl.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place tenderloins on plank and brush all over with mustard slather. Place plank on cool side of the grill, cover, and cook over medium heat until meat registers 145 degrees in the center. Remove from grill, let stand 10 minutes, slice and serve.