Chile Marinated Pork Oaxaca Style
We enjoyed making this recipe quite a bit. It is inspired by the Oaxaca region of Mexico, which is named after its capital city. The word Oaxaca comes from the Nahuatl word “huaxyacac,” a word that is derived from a reference to a tree named “guaje” that is found in the capital. This mountainous, remote region of Mexico is known not just for its spicy food, but for food that displays a significant amount of indigenous influence. If you want to see modern versions of what the Aztecs ate, go to Oaxaca.
The primary flavoring agent in this recipe is a chile marinade with our Barbacoa Rub. This spice blend was inspired by the barbacoa practice, a traditional cooking method in which a whole pig, goat, or sheep was steamed in an underground oven. This rub mimics the succulent flavors from low and slow barbacoa cooking, without the fuss of digging an oven.
The pork must be butterflied to cook correctly for this recipe. This is an easy process. First, put your pork loin on a clean cutting board with an end facing you. Slice the loin lengthwise, all the way down the middle of the loin, running parallel to the cutting board. You'll cut almost all the way through, until you have about an inch left uncut. Open up the piece of meat like it's a book, cover it in plastic wrap, and then pound it with a mallet or a rolling pin until it is flat and forms a rough rectangle. The meat should be uniformly one inch thick.
This recipe makes a mess on the grill, but it is absolutely worth it. We served this with pico de gallo to give it freshness and acidity. The combination of tender meat and spicy pico de gallo wrapped in comforting corn tortillas were a hit with the Spices, Inc. taste testers.
- Remove stems and seeds from chiles. Place chiles in a bowl and add boiling water enough to cover chiles then cover with plastic wrap. Let soak for 20 minutes.
- Butterfly the tenderloin. Slice down the length of the tenderloin almost all the way through, leaving about an inch or so uncut along the side to act as a hinge. When cutting, keep your knife parallel to the cutting board. Then spread open the tenderloin like it is a book and use a mallet or rolling pin to flatten it into one large piece. Place in glass baking dish and set aside.
- Place the rehydrated chiles, vinegar, garlic and Barbacoa Rub in a food processor. Process to a smooth paste. Rub marinade on tenderloin so it is completely covered. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 2 hours.
- Set up grill and preheat to high.
- When grill is ready, brush grates with oil and place tenderloin on grill. Cook until nicely browned, 2-3 minutes per side.
- Serve with corn tortillas and pico de gallo.