Back in Australia, we fire up the barbecue when we want to quickly grill some steaks or, yes, shrimp. But “barbecue” took on a whole new meaning when I started traveling around the States. It’s a cooking style that’s all about low and slow. Not only that, it’s a cooking style with so many variations that it would take a few delicious lifetimes to devour them all. One type that I recently got into is from northern Alabama, where they serve a white mayonnaise-based sauce with their ’cue. Here I serve the sauce with succulent grilled spice-rubbed pork tenderloin. It would also be good with a beef tri-tip roast or grilled chicken.
- 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 poblano chile
- 1 cup Aïoli or mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced into rings (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
On a baking sheet, coat the pork tenderloins all over with 2 tablespoons of the oil. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper. Coat the pork tenderloins all over with the spice mixture. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the grill.
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.
On another baking sheet, toss the asparagus with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill the poblano chile, turning as needed, for about 8 minutes, or until charred all over. Transfer the chile to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel, seed and dice the chile. Return the diced chile to the bowl and mix in the aïoli, vinegar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Season the sauce with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Brush the grill grates with oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper, and grill for about 8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, or until the outside of the pork is heavily caramelized and it is cooked to an internal temperature of 150°F. Transfer to a cutting board to rest for about 10 minutes.
While the pork is resting, lightly oil the grill grates. Grill the asparagus, turning as needed, for about 4 minutes, or until lightly charred but still crisp-tender. Toss the grilled asparagus with the onion and parsley.
Slice the pork against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with the asparagus and sauce alongside.