Honey, Lemon and Thyme Grilled Pork Tenderloin


Something food bloggers rarely write about: failures.  We have some, you know.  Perhaps more often than we would care to admit.

Actually, it never hurts to have a failure now and then to bring us down to the reality which is: for every successful recipe and stunning photo, there are probably a dozen or more rejects.  The recipe I’m posting today is actually one that started off as a reject.

This  was supposed to be a salad dressing recipe.  And seriously, who doesn’t love the flavors of honey and lemon?  The thought of it served over crisp spinach or escarole sounded so appealing.  But one taste of the finished product left me very ho hum and on the verge of tossing it not with greens but down the disposal.

In the end, frugality won out, and I decided to instead use the dressing as a marinade for a pork tenderloin.  Lo and behold: SUCCESS!  Just a few hours of marinating was enough to give the pork a bit of sweet acidity and caramelization on the grill.  I loved every single bite AND I enjoyed the salad that I made with dressing attempt #2 (my “go to” white balsamic vinaigrette).

It’s fresh and versatile, perfect for pork, chicken, lamb or vegetables.  Of course, you’re welcome to try it as a salad dressing.  Just because it didn’t float my boat doesn’t mean it won’t make your day.

Honey Lemon Pork Collage

Honey, Lemon and Thyme Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1 medium to large pork tenderloin, trimmed


1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme ( or substitute fresh rosemary)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Two small lemons sliced thick (optional garnish)

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the lemon zest, honey and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place tenderloin and marinade into a resealable plastic bag or a non reactive bowl.  Turn to coat.  Refrigerate and marinate for 4 hours or up to 8.

Remove tenderloin from marinade, reserving marinade and pat dry.  Season with a little extra salt and pepper.  Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high indirect grilling.  Place on grill, cover and cook for about five minutes.  Then turn and brush with some of the reserved marinade.  Cover and continue cooking on indirect heat for about another 10 minutes.  Turn again and brush with remaining marinade.  Continue to cook until internal temperature of the pork reaches 140°, about 5 minutes longer.   Transfer pork to a rimmed cutting board and cover loosely with foil.

While pork is resting, lightly brush lemon slices with olive oil.  Grill for about two minutes on each side until browned.

Slice pork and serve with grilled lemon slices, drizzling any accumulated juices over the top.

Serves 3-4

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