The musty, sultry flavor of St. Augustine's datil peppers inspired Ted Lee's zippy variation on his usual bourbon-ginger marinade. Concentrated cane syrup tempers the chile's heat and binds the ingredients together into a marinade that he characterizes, only half jokingly, as Asian-Southern fusion.
Fast Pork Recipes
1/3 cup bourbon
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 habanero chile, seeded and minced (see Note)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Two 3/4 -pound pork tenderloins
1/4 cup cane syrup or unsulphured molasses
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a shallow bowl, combine the bourbon, water, vinegar, ginger, chile and garlic. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, turning occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Remove the pork from the marinade; brush off any excess and pat dry. In a small saucepan, boil the marinade over high heat until reduced by one-third, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the cane syrup and ketchup and cook over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in an ovenproof skillet. Brush the tenderloins lightly with oil and season them with salt and pepper. Sear the pork in the skillet over high heat, turning occasionally until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the barbecue sauce over the pork and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through, turning the meat in the sauce. Transfer the pork to a work surface, cover with foil and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Thickly slice the meat across the grain and serve with any remaining sauce.
The barbecued pork can be refrigerated and sliced the next day for sandwiches.
If you can find a datil pepper, use it in place of the habanero. Roast it over a flame, then peel it, discard the seeds and finely chop it.
A simple, round, fruity West Coast Chardonnay will nicely set off the sweet and caramelized flavors in this dish.
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