You could, if you wanted to, dig a large pit in a yard, build a bed of coals, and bury some banana leaf-wrapped pork in the ground. But this recipe is quicker. Indirect heat helps to gently cook the pork tenderloin, a cut that's easy to overcook. Smoke from the coals seeps in while the foil packet traps the spices, chiles, and juices in this (steamed/smoked) interpretation of the Yucatán classic.
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup fresh orange juice, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon achiote paste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 cups thinly sliced red onion
1 teaspoon minced habanero pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, trimmed and washed
How to Make It
Set up a charcoal grill to cook indirectly. Build up a good medium-high heat coal bed on one side, and leave the other side with little to no coal bed. Try to maintain a temperature of about 300° to 325°.
MAKE THE MARINADE. PICKLE SOME ONIONS
Combine the white pepper, the oregano, the cumin, 1/2 cup orange juice, the lime juice, 1 tablespoon vinegar, the achiote, and the garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Blend well by squeezing the outside of the bag.
Add the pork to the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for an hour or so.
In a medium bowl, combine the red onion, the habanero, the sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and toss to combine.
Leave the onions at room temperature, covered, to quick-pickle.
WRAP AND COOK THE TENDERLOIN
Remove the pork from the marinade, and discard the marinade.
Sprinkle the pork with 3/8 teaspoon salt. Wrap the pork in a foil packet (or banana leaves if you're feeling adventurous) and seal well, with the seam on top.
Poke 3 (1-inch) slits in the packet near the seam. Make them large enough for steam to sneak out and for smoke to invade.
Cook, covered, for 25 minutes, on the unheated side of the grill.
REST, PULL, AND SERVE
Remove the packet from the grill and allow to rest, about 10 minutes, before slicing or pulling. It's your call to slice or pull. I pull.
Place the pork and juices on a serving platter and drape with the quick-pickled onions.
Serve with hot sauce and cilantro. Tortillas optional.
Cooking Light Mad Delicious
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