Barbecue Pork Tenderloin

With summer in full swing, it’s barbecue season for sure. Authentic barbecue is usually done in a smoker and should take all day. For most of us, that makes doing it well at home pretty hard, since we have neither a smoker nor the time to stand by one all day. But, it’s still possible to get excellent barbecue results at home. I’ve worked out a technique that uses a slow cooker and I think comes out excellent every time. The work with this one is upfront, but if you take the time for it, you’ll be rewarded with an awesome dinner when you get home.

As far as ingredients go, you’ll need:
1 pork tenderloin
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup salt
Black pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika to taste.

To start, take all of the seasonings and mix them in a bow: I just use a fork for this. The base of the dry rub is the brown sugar and salt: from there, take the seasoning in whatever direction you like. I enjoy spicy foods, so I go heavy on all of the spices, but for a less spice-tolerant palate, you can even forgo them entirely and get good results.

Once everything is mixed, you might want some rubber gloves, as things will get messy. I take the tenderloin and put it on the biggest cutting board I have. To help the rub stick to the pork, it helps to pat it as dry as you can with some paper towel. After that, massage every nook and cranny with the rub you’ve made; the rubber gloves make this part a lot less messy for you. Don’t worry that a lot of it isn’t striking, the point is to get the flavor into the meat, not to encrust it with a cup of brown sugar.

Now comes the easy part: pop it in a slow cooker, set it to low, and walk away for 8 hours. At this point, you can also add sauce if you’d like, and I usually do. But, I’ve also tried it without sauce, and it comes out moist without sauce as well.

This recipe is geared for pork tenderloin and it’s also a general base dry rub that is good for beef as well. Using the same general idea, I’ve done the pork listed here (which also comes out great as pulled pork with more sauce), as well as ribs, briskets and other roast cuts of beef. The important thing here is the time: 8 hours in a slow cooker will make everything taste great, and the rub is simple enough not to get in the way of the flavors of the meat. Sometimes I’ll also add in some garlic powder, especially if I’m doing this on beef. Barbecue isn’t a science, it’s a technique, and I invite you to work out your preferences with this one.

As far as sides go, I think it’s hard to beat corn and some home fries, seasoned to a similar heat level to that of the barbecue. Pared with either a cold beer or a dry white wine, this barbecue has turned into a summer staple of mine, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
About author
Garrett is a writer and commentator based in the South. His areas of expertise lie in cooking, fashion, and the outdoors among others. He has been writing and educating professionally for years, and enjoys creating online discourses around positively masculine spaces.


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