Saturday, February 28, 2009

Great Pork Tenderloin BBQ

I was out in the backyard today getting ready for the spring barbecue season. I took a quick look under my stainless barbecue and found a cedar plank left over from last summer. Cedar planks (untreated of course) are great for seafood bbq, but they are also used for one of my favorite bbq recipes, pork tenderloin bbq.

I found this bbq recipe in one of the Weber barbecue cookbooks. They are a great resource for making bbq, putting together a menu bbq, and learning how to use charcoal grills and smokers. This bbq recipe for Cedar-Smoked Pork Tenderloin BBQ with Pineapple Salsa has become legendary amongst my friends.

Pork Tenderloin BBQ

Direct/Medium heat

Get 1 untreated cedar plank and submerge it in water for 4 to 24 hours. If you don't have this much time you can get away with less. Stores that sell weber grills often carry them, or you can simply go to your local lumber store and ask for them (you may have to cut them down to size). They are more commonly used for seafood bbq such as salmon or trout.

Next, make the salsa.
  • 4 cups diced pineapple (get fresh pineapple like they use for hawaiian bbq)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 green onions, finely slicing the white part only
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

In a pan combine the pineapple, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, jalapeno, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring it up to a boil and cook over med-high heat for about 7-10 minutes until it gets kind of thick. If it is still runny, take out the pineapple and keep cooking the remaining juicy bits until it gets thick, then put the pineapple back in). Mix in the onions and basil, and add some salt to taste if you want.

The make the rub.

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Trim an extra fat off the pork tenderloin. Spread the rub all over it, then place it on the cedar plank. Leave it at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before putting it on your Direct/Medium heat grill.

Grill it until the internal temperature of the tenderloin reaches 155F. Keep a spray bottle handy for any flare ups. Keeping the lid down on your bbq as much as possible will help minimize these. Remove it from the grill and loosely cover it with foil, letting the juices set back in. Serve it warm on the cedar plank. Your guests will LOVE it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to build an outdoor fireplace bbq

After making my great pork tenderloin bbq for friends on my charcoal grills and smokers in my bbq kitchen, everyone loves to relax on our patio. As the evening goes on, and as a few more glasses of wine get poured, the last thing you want to have to do is move the party inside when it starts to get a bit chilly outside. This is when an outdoor fireplace would come in handy. Fire pits outdoor will extend the good times long into the night. The challenge is figuring out how to build an outdoor fireplace.

For years I searched "how to build outdoor fireplace" for plans and ideas for something more substantial than a cheap outdoor fireplace fire pit or table fire pit available at your local Home Depot. After reading numerous articles online, I finally found a fantastic solution ... a fire pit fireplace made by a company called Mirage Stone.

I'd first seen this wood outdoor fireplace advertised on, but wanted to learn more. They seemed too good to be true. They come in a variety of colors, and have 2 models. One is a wood outdoor fireplace with bbq insert (this is the one I bought). The other is a natural gas outdoor fireplace.

I expected the cost of an outdoor fireplace to be substantial, maybe $4000 or more once you figured in supplies, shipping and labor. Most of the plans I found were supposedly DIY, but I knew at some point I'd likely have to hire an expensive professional who knew how to work with mortar. Was I surprised to see that was selling this fireplace bbq for just $1699, including shipping! Wow. I couldn't pull my credit card out fast enough.

My wood outdoor fireplace arrived in about 3 weeks. Costco even sent me a link to track it from the manufacturing plant in Arizona right through to delivery at my house. It was delivered on a pallet wrapped in packing material and heavy duty cardboard. Once I got the packing material out of the way, it was time to move it to my backyard and build my outdoor fireplace.

How to build an outdoor fireplace

Although my wood outdoor fireplace weighed almost 1200 pounds, it comes in about 50 pieces, all sized small enough for the average person to move quite easily. Assembly was incredibly simple, with my outdoor fireplace built in about one hour. There's no mortar, glues or fasteners. It's like adult outdoor brick lego, stacking the various pieces one by one as per the easy to follow fire pit fireplace plans. They even have a video on the Mirage Stone website to follow if you want.

Now my friends can stay warm long into the evening. For me, this is what outdoor entertaining is all about.