The weather is getting cooler but it’s not time yet to turn off the grill! Not when you can make this easy grilled pork tenderloin, which is tender and juicy and full of the great flavors of lemon and sage. Yum! And the grilled apples? Smokey and a little crispy from the searing and sweet and perfect with the pork. You’ll be enjoying your grill (and the easy cleanup) until the snow starts flying. And maybe even after!
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Around here we don’t hang up our grill once Labor Day comes and goes, and I don’t think you do either! However, the sorts of meals I grill in the fall do change to take advantage of seasonal flavors and seasonal produce. Like this easy grilled pork tenderloin, which is a great example of fall grilling! The flavor of the sage reminds me of sage stuffing and apples are so fresh in the fall that they hold to the grill beautifully.
Just make sure you use a good, grilling apple!
What makes a good, grilling apple you ask?
Any apple which can hold up to baking without falling apart is likely to do well on the grill. Freshness does matter, which isn’t an issue during the fall months when the apples aren’t sitting in warehouses. But general firmness also matters. So, don’t use Macintosh or other soft apples. Rather go for Granny Smith or Braeburn or Honeycrisp or similar apples. Here’s a good resource: Best Apples for Grilling.
Looking at those apple slices and wondering what to use to get the core out? I like the OXO apple corer. It cores without slicing, has a sturdy handle, and does the job in no time. It also works for pears and I bet it would be good for filled cupcakes. (I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m sure I’ll get a chance soon.)
Another important part of the recipe is the sage. Please use fresh sage if you can since the flavor is much better! Even though I have a black thumb, sage is a plant I can grow. I have some in my herb garden and I also grow sage in pots. It’s so convenient having it available right when I want it.
I know a lot of people aren’t fond of raw sage, so feel free to skip adding any as garnish, sticking to the cooked sage on the pork. I love sage raw or cooked (I’m weird that way) and I’ll happily eat the garnish; however, you might want to add some parsley or thyme as a fresh herb if you feel the need to have one.
Honestly, I do more garnishing for photos than I ever do in real life. I do my best to keep the photos real without food styling tricks and show the recipes the way we eat them, but a few fresh herbs or spices on top do make the photos pop. And it reminds you what’s in the recipe! I can taste it since I made it, but that visual cue of fresh sage is making you think of the flavor.
This recipe for grilled tenderloin has been on my list for a few months now. We’ve been grilling it up and loving it for dinner since it’s so flavorful and tender and…I’ll just say it: easy. 🙂 Sear it and then cook it low and slow until it comes to temperature and then it just about melts in your mouth. So good!
However, I just had the pork tenderloin and I wanted to give you a meal. Then a few weeks back I was visiting with a good friend and we were chatting about the blog and about recipes and she mentioned a great grilled apple and pork kebab dinner she had made recently. I immediately knew that was the twist I needed for the pork! So here is a shout out for my excellent friend who gave me the inspiration to complete this recipe. 🙂
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 2 pork tenderloins, (~2 lbs total), trimmed of fat and connective tissue
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 4 medium apples
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar, optional
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- Put the trimmed tenderloins in a casserole dish or resealable bag. Add the marinade ingredients and mix well to coat the pork evenly. Let the pork marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
- One hour before dinner, take the pork out of the refrigerator and let it warm up on the counter.
- Preheat the grill.
- While the grill is preheating, core and slice the apples 1/4 inch thick. Then toss them with the oil, sugar, and sage.
- Take the pork out of the marinade and pat it mostly dry, just so it doesn't have much of the marinade still on it. Put the pork on the grill, and cook it for 2-3 minutes, or until it has a good sear. Turn the pork over to sear the other side. Lay out the apple slices on the grill. Grill the pork and apples for 3 minutes. Turn over the apples. Then lower the heat to low, cover the grill and continue cooking until the the pork reaches 150-160F on the thermometer, depending on how pink you like your pork, about 10 minutes more.
- Transfer the pork and apples to a serving platter. Slice the pork and sprinkle some fresh sage over. Serve.
Use firm-fleshed baking apples, such as Braeburns or Honeycrisp for the grill. They hold their shape and make nice, grilled slices.
I like the caramelization the apples get from being tossed with some sugar before putting them on the grill. However, if you want to avoid sugar, just toss them with oil and sage.
Make sure you cook your pork to at least 145F. 145F plus a 3-5 minute resting time is considered to be a safe temperature for pork. I personally like a little pink, but not too much, so I try for 152-154F.