New Mexican Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Two Sauces


If you want to permeate your house with an aroma that could make you cry, or fill your head with the sound of singing angels, then you need to make this dish. Yes, it is a Bobby Flay dish which pretty much means there are 5 components, 57 steps and 102 ingredients, but this recipe is worth the time, effort and grocery bill it takes to make it. Trust me. I was making this dish when we were still at our old house, and a realtor and potential buyers came through on short notice. I’m not sure if they were interested in the house, but they said on the way out “whatever you are making in there smells absolutely amazing”. Well, it’s true. This meal smells amazing and tastes even better. I have made it twice. It calls for 3 sauces, bourbon-ancho, roasted red pepper, and cilantro oil. I was not interested in making three sauces, so the first time I made the bourbon-ancho and cilantro oil. The cilantro oil makes 3/4 cup and you just use a tiny bit to drizzle. Verdict=cilantro sauce definitely not needed. The second time I made the smoked red pepper sauce to go with the bourbon sauce. This combination was much better. Verdict= worth making again. If the amount of sauces or ingredients intimidates you, you must at least make the bourbon sauce. That alone is my favorite part of this dish. Now sauces aside, the chile rub for the pork tenderloin is also amazing. I realize not everyone has multiple types of chile powders in their pantry, so feel free to work with what you have. I often interchange chile powders based on their heat level. This meal takes time to prepare, but you can make both of the sauces the day before which will save a lot of time. You could also mix together the rub ingredients the day before as well. The final result will be pork tenderloin that explodes with flavor with every bite. I paired it with something equally delicious that wouldn’t steal the “flavor glory”, Bobby’s Mesa Grill Grits and roasted asparagus. The grits are a recipe for another day, but let me just say that I will be making my grits with hominy from now on. Recipe coming soon. Final note- this is the very best meal I have cooked in a long time.

*Note- I halved the smoked red pepper sauce from the original recipe, you won’t need 2 1/4 cups for 4 people. I left the amount of bourbon ancho sauce alone. You probably won’t use it all but you will want the leftovers to drizzle on vegetables, polenta, or just drink from the bowl…

from: Mesa Grill Cookbook
serves: 4

Bourbon-Ancho Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bourbon
3 ancho chiles, soaked, seeded, and pureed (or substitute Ancho chile powder-about 3 tablespoons)
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
8 black peppercorns
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the 2 cups bourbon, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to a few tablespoons, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the ancho puree (or powder), stock, apple juice concentrate, peppercorns, and brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 15-20 minutes. Be aware, your kitchen will smell amazing. It might bring the neighbors over.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, return the mixture to the pan, and reduce over high heat to sauce consistency, 10-15 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons bourbon, cook for 2 minutes, and season with salt to taste. This can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before serving.


Smoked Red Pepper Sauce

makes about 1 1/4 cups

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or cheat and use store bought roasted red peppers)
1/4 small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves roasted garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile puree (I use adobo sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo sauce can)
salt + pepper
1/4 cup canola oil

Combine the red peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar, honey, mustard, and chipotle puree in a blender, season with salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. Strain the sauce into a bowl. This sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.



3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder (I grind my own)
2 teaspoons chile de árbol powder (I grind my own)
2 teaspoons ground allspice
kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds pork tenderloin
chopped fresh chives for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together the ancho powder, brown sugar, pasilla powder, chile de árbol powder, cinnamon, allspice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Season the pork with salt on both sides, then dredge in the spice rub and tap off any excess.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill pork over direct heat 6 minutes on both sides. Move to indirect heat, close lid, and continue grilling until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the pork reaches 145 on an instant-read thermometer (about 8-10 more minutes). Rest on a plate for 8-10 minutes to let the juices redistribute. This is important! if you cut right into the meat, the juices run out leaving the meat dry. If you let the meat rest, the juices have a chance to redistribute, leaving you with succulent, juicy pork

After resting, slice the pork (I sliced them tall, so I could place them upright on the plate). Ladle some bourbon-ancho sauce onto the pork, then spoon some of the roasted red pepper sauce and sprinkle with the chopped chives.




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