Best Ways to Grill Pork Medallions
Pork might not be one of the sexiest meats out there when compared to something like a grilled steak, but if it’s cooked properly it can be just as delicious, if not even better. Like all great meats, pork has been a staple in people’s diets, just like beef and chicken, for as long as we can remember. So if you’re looking to spice up your pork game, it’s time for us to introduce you to mouth-watering grilled pork tenderloin medallions. We’ll show you how to cook them properly, grill them up, and savor them as the dish they were always meant to be.
Pork tenderloin, also known as pork fillet or Gentleman’s Cut, is a long, thin cut of pork coming from the eye of the loin. Pork medallions are lean, tender cuts from the tenderloin. We think they are perfect for midweek meals due to their affordable price tag while still remaining incredibly tasty!
Not only is pork tenderloin relatively inexpensive, but it is also one of the healthier cuts of meat. Alongside skinless chicken breast, pork tenderloin qualifies as “extra lean” by USDA guidelines, boasting only 3 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving size. It is also rich in protein, thiamine, vitamin B6, phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, and zinc.
Preparing Your Grilled Pork Medallions
You cannot usually find pork tenderloin already cut into medallions, so it is necessary to know how to prepare them yourself. We would like to walk you through this process, as well as go over some interesting ways to flavor your pork before you grill. We will go over how to:
- Trim the silver skin,
- Cut your pork medallions, and
- Brine, marinate or rub.
Trim the Silver Skin
Silver skin can often be found on pork, beef, and lamb tenderloins, as well as the underside of ribs. It is a thin membrane of connective tissue. Unlike collagen which turns into gelatin during cooking, silver skin does not break down, and therefore must be removed. If left attached, it would be tough and chewy when cooked, and would also make the tenderloin curl.
Select a very sharp paring knife, and make an incision on one end of the membrane. Once started, gently pull upward on the silver skin while slicing as close to the membrane as possible until it is fully removed. Discard. If you are still unsure whether you can efficiently cut the silver skin off yourself, you can easily request that your butcher do it for you.
Cut Your Pork Medallions
After getting rid of the skin, clean up the tenderloin by cutting off any loose ends. You can grill them alongside the medallions as tasty scraps for yourself. Slice the medallions every 1 to 2 inches. Using the palm of your hand, gently flatten the medallions with the cut edges facing up and touching the cutting board. Before adding spices or marinades, use a handy meat mallet, also called a meat tenderizer, to break up the muscle fibers and tenderize the meat.
Brine, Marinate, or Rub
If you don’t have the time to let the medallions marinate for hours, you can use a quick spice rub. It will still be delicious! We especially like our Sweet Mama Bold BBQ Rub. Or just get crazy with your seasonings.
If you have the time, marinating pork medallions will tenderize the meat and add extra flavor. Using ingredients such as soy sauce and vinegar helps to tenderize the medallions while adding brown sugar or honey balances the acidity. When making marinades, be sure to reserve some as a finishing sauce. You can leave your medallions in the marinade for an hour, or even overnight. The longer you leave them in, the better the flavor. Here are some of our favorite marinades:
- Italian salad dressing, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce
- Olive oil, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and garlic
- Soy sauce, honey, garlic, and dry mustard
- One of our all-time favorite marinades for pork medallions plays off one of the most well-known flavor combinations: pork and apple. Try this incredible apple BBQ sauce for your pork medallion marinade.
Though marinades are strongly encouraged, brines might be the absolute best way to tenderize pork. Who doesn’t want their pork to be just a little juicier? Brining is a method of submerging the meat in a combination of salt and water, which helps add extra moisture. The basic ratio for a brine is 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of water. Try this guide to brining pork tenderloin. You can also add a sweetener to your brine by adding a ½ cup of sweetener per gallon of brine. Even more, add herbs and spices that you like. Once you have thoroughly brined your tenderloin, you can then pat it dry and cut it into medallions. Remember that you will not need to season it with salt afterward since the salt has already infused during the brining process.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Medallions Recipes
We’ve already given you a good run-down of how to prepare your grilled pork medallions, but now let’s check out some different recipes that might interest you.
Okay, okay, we know we went on and on about how lean and healthy grilled pork medallions were, but why not get a little naughty with them? We think bacon always makes everything a little bit better. Try one of our favorite ways to make pork medallions with this grilled, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin medallions recipe:
Instructions: Season medallions with your favorite spice rub, then wrap a piece of low-sodium bacon around each piece. When you’ve made one full pass around with the bacon, tuck the end of the bacon into itself, making a knot so it won’t come undone. You could also use a toothpick to keep the bacon in place. With a medium-high heat, place medallions on the pre-greased charcoal grill, flipping every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes. The internal temperature should read 145 to 150 degrees. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
If you want to get even fancier with it, try out this prosciutto-wrapped pork medallions recipe or this pork medallions with plum sauce recipe. If you are looking to spice your pork up with a Mexican twist, try this delicious pork tacos recipe. Your taste buds are going to be melting!
How Long to Grill Pork Tenderloin Medallions
Do you often find that pork tastes dry? You chew and chew, but it just feels like rubber, and it can be especially hard to swallow. One of the disappointing aspects of pork is how quickly it can dry out on the grill. The best way to prevent this from happening is to not overcook it.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Make sure to work on a clean grill (don’t forget to empty your Kick Ash Can!). Brush the grill grate with oil. Keep your grill surface temperature at about 450 degrees-- no more than 500. Keep in mind that the surface temperature may not be the same as what the thermometer hood gauge reads.
Cooking times for grilled medallions will vary depending on how thick you slice them. For medallions sliced at about 1 ½ inch thickness, we recommend grilling them for about 10 to 12 minutes-- be sure to flip them halfway.
Due to the inconsistency of cuts and varying grill temperatures, we strongly recommend checking the internal temperature for doneness with a meat thermometer. The optimum temperature for cooking pork is medium-rare, which reads at 145 degrees. The USDA requires a minimum reading of 145 degrees for safe eating. The pork will be tender and juicy, with just a little pink in the middle, but that is okay. If you prefer your meat to be a little more cooked, go for 160 degrees, which is considered medium. After taking the medallions off the grill, always make sure to let the pork rest for at least 5 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
Now that we’ve made grilled pork medallions sexy, it’s time to whip together some tasty side dishes and enjoy some family time!
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