Evolution of Dinner: Grilled Pork Tenderloin

pork tenderloin sliced

When it comes to menu planning, Annie and I are from different schools of thought. Annie first builds a menu, then decides which ingredients she needs, and plans everything out before the actual execution of dinner. I start out first with the ingredients that I have on hand, then maybe come up with a menu, and start cooking before I completely figure out the order of execution. It frustrates Annie to no end when I am cooking, as the timing and rhythm are thrown off while I am still working out what I need to do next.

It’s insane, I know. Most times, she needs to step in and take the reins. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, the food I cook actually turns out better than expected.

This is the story of the evolution of my grilled pork tenderloin and halibut dinner.

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Killer Kalbi Recipe

A couple of weeks ago, Annie catered a lunch to thank all the volunteers who helped out at our church’s summer VBS program. She needed something that she could prepare in mass quantities ahead of time, cook fast, and please the Asian palates of the volunteers. She decided to make a big batch of kalbi.

The other day, Annie got this email from a friend of ours who had eaten some of Annie’s kalbi at the appreciation lunch. (The names have been blanked out to protect the guilty):
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Tri Tip Roast on the WSM

Barbecue – meat cooked in the heat and smoke of a wood fire – is an American tradition. Different parts of the country have their distinctive styles of barbecue: pulled pork from North Carolina, pork spareribs from Tennessee, beef brisket from Texas. Even California has it’s own distinctive style of barbecue: the tri-tip.

Smoked Tri Tip Roast

Tri-tip is a cut of beef not normally seen in parts outside the western United States. It’s a triangular-shaped (hence the name “tri-tip”) piece of meat from the bottom of the sirloin. It is tender, has just the right amount of fat, and can be roasted, braised, made into ground beef, cut into steaks and grilled, or as I like to prepare it, smoked.

Barbecued tri-tip is very popular in the Central Coast area of California, around Santa Maria. The way they do it is to season the roasts simply with salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley, then cook them on large grills suspended about a foot over coals made from the red oaks common to the area. Since I don’t have a large grill or logs of red oak readily available, I will be cooking my tri-tip roast in my trusty Weber Smokey Mountain bullet smoker. Yes, Veronica, it is possible to do high-temperature grilling on the WSM.

But first, a rant about lighting charcoal.

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WSM Smoked Turkey

Do you have a lurking turkey? You know, the spare one you bought on sale around Thanksgiving time ’cause it was dirt cheap, and you figured you could use it “sometime later”. But of course, you forgot all about it sitting there behind the two dozen other things you’ve stuffed in the freezer since then.

Yeah, I had one of those. Two of ‘em, actually. (We have a big freezer in the garage.) I needed to make some space in the freezer, so I decided to smoke one of the turkeys.

(And dang, did that sucker make a huge blunt!)

Just kidding. By smoking, I mean instead of heating up the kitchen with a hot oven, I would cook the turkey outside using my Weber Smokey Mountain water smoker. So I defrosted one of the turkeys and then spatchcocked it. “Spatchcocked”? Ooh, sounds naughty!
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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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