Another freely-adapted recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. It takes a page from Korean fried chicken in terms of using corn starch to create a crispy, crackly exterior that the maple-bourbon glaze can adhere to.
The pastured pork tenderloin was also a birthday gift from dear Tina at High Point Farms. It went wonderfully with Bob’s Cabernet Franc!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
More people should give meat for birthdays.
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup dark maple syrup (Grade B)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons of bourbon
A pinch of ground cinnamon
A pinch ground cloves
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 cup of cornstarch
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 wire rack to fit the sheet pan
How to prepare:
1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 375°.
2. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, the bourbon, and the brown sugar together, stirring until you have an even slurry. Add the ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and cayenne pepper. Add a hefty pinch of salt. Set this aside to let the sugar dissolve a little bit.
Stir the cornstarch, salt, and black pepper together in another small bowl until well-combined. Feel free to increase or decrease the seasoning according to your personal taste. Transfer the cornstarch mixture to a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels, and then roll it in the cornstarch mixture until it is evenly coated on all sides.
Shake off the excess cornstarch mixture.
3. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. Reduce the heat to medium, and place the tenderloin in skillet. If the tenderloin is a little big for the pan, don’t worry; it will shrink a little bit while cooking. Brown the tenderloin well on all sides. Transfer it to a wire rack set in the rimmed baking sheet.
4. Pour off the excess fat from skillet, and return it to medium heat. Carefully add the sugar slurry to skillet. It might bubble a little violently depending on how hot your pan is, so take care to not stand too close. Scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook the sauce until it has reduced to about ½ a cup, about 2 minutes.
Brush the tenderloin with approximately 1 tablespoon of glaze. Roast it until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloin registers 130 degrees. Brush it with another tablespoon of glaze, and continue to roast it until the thickest part of tenderloin reaches 135 to 140 degrees, about 2 minutes more.
Remove the tenderloin from oven, and brush it with the remaining glaze. Let it rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
5. Transfer the meat to a cutting board, and slice it into thick pieces. Serve.