There was still some fresh rosemary sitting on the kitchen counter, left over from a previous use, so I chopped it and added it to my brown sugar crusted smoked pork tenderloin. Initially I was aiming for sweetness to counteract the smokiness of the pork, decided the rosemary would add a nice freshness and then ended up adding in ground black pepper and cayenne pepper for some heat...this is how making dinner in my kitchen usually proceeds...things change from minute to minute. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't!
I was planning on cooking the pork and adding it to a salad, so I will just get into the pork in this post, as it can be added to any salad you choose, and mine was pretty basic.
First heat the oven to 375F. Have an ovenproof dish ready.
On a plate or tray, combine:
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Roll the pork in the sugar mixture, pressing to make sure it adheres to all sides. You may need to turn it a few times, until all of the sugar has been used.
1 pork tenderloin, that had been smoked.
Place the coated pork into the ovenproof dish, and into the oven to bake.
Bake until the pork is fully cooked, using the syrup from the meat juices and melted brown sugar to baste it a couple of times.
Remove from the oven and allow the pork to rest for 5 - 10 minutes, before slicing and serving.
I served my pork with a green salad, grape tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. If there are any pan juices, drizzle them over the sliced pork on the plates.
- The pork tenderloin I had was smoked (courtesy of my husband and his smoker) but this recipe can be used for plain pork tenderloin, pork loin, chicken breast, bacon or whole ham.
- The brown sugar adds sweetness, caramelizes and creates a sticky crust on the outside, that seals the juices of the meat inside, and you end up with lovely moist meat.
- The rosemary adds brightness, but any other woody herb can be used...thyme, sage or even tarragon.
- The amount of pepper you use will determine the amount of heat, as will the type of pepper. Consider chili flakes, dried ancho or chipotle chilies, smoked or Spanish paprika, pink, white or dried green peppercorns. The pepper can also be omitted.
- I did not add salt, as the smoked pork was soaked in a salty brine before it was smoked, but if you aren't using bacon, ham or a smoked meat then add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to your brown sugar.
- Thinly slice the cooked meat and use it on sandwhiches; top a pizza; add it to pasta or risotto; use it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas centrepiece if you are cooking a whole ham; bacon cooked this way makes amazing BLTs, omelettes or burger topping; ham can be thinly sliced and added to breakfast sandwhiches or eggs benedict, not to mention diced and used in a soup.