Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub

I’ve been all about the pork tenderloin lately. It’s easy to cook, its tender and you don’t feel like you have a pile of bricks sitting in your stomach the next day. It’s one of those things that’s light, not that bad for you, but is still really tasty when prepared correctly. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I just did this recipe for a tailgate. I grilled the tenderloins at the parking lot, sliced them up and made pork tenderloin sliders. What a hit! Here’s the spicy pork tenderloin rub recipe. Give it a try!

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub Recipe

Nothing better than a simple rub with easy to obtain ingredients. Equal parts all of the above and mix. So for two tenderloins I did 3 T black pepper, 3 T chopped dry onion, 3T salt, 3 T crushed red pepper and 3 T parsley flakes. If you want to cut some salt, drop that salt down to 1 T. It will be just as good.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub Recipe

Mix it together into a small bowl.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub Recipe

Go generous with your application. Load that tenderloin up!

Fogo charcoal in a Big Green Egg

I lit the Big Green Egg for this one. Just a normal medium to medium high heat is all you need. You’ll be grilling each side for about 5 minutes, depending on your heat.

Look at that charcoal! I bet you’ve never seen anything like it? It’s from my friends at Fogo Charcoal. They make the best lump charcoal on the market.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub Recipe

The key here is internal pork cooking temperature. Don’t go too far over 150 degrees internal or it will dry out. The minimum internal cooking temperature for a pork tenderloin is 145 degrees F.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub Recipe

Get that outside nice and seared. The spicy pork tenderloin dry rub grills nicely with a nice color.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub Recipe

Let it rest a little bit and then slice it up. This is one of the best times because you can snack on it. The spicy rub gets all over the knife and the cutting board so each slice gets even more loaded with flavor. It’s amazing.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub Recipe

 

Give this simple spicy rub a shot and let me know what you think! This can be applied to pork and can be eaten as is, diced up for burritos or quesadillas, sliced for tenderloin sliders and tons of other ways.

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: Enough for 2 tenderloins

Spicy Pork Tenderloin Rub

An easy spicy pork tenderloin rub recipe that provides a lot of flavor to pork.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1-3 tablespoons salt (kosher or sea)

Instructions

  1. Measure out all ingredients.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Apply heavily to pork tenderloin and grill.
  4. Be sure not to cook pork over internal temperature of 150 degrees F.
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Note: I believe this recipe comes from Steve Raichlen. I’ve used it before on butter injected grilled turkey and I love it!

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How much charcoal to use?

Maintaining grilling temperature with charcoal

To figure out how much charcoal to use in your grill it is best to start out understanding a few basic principles. It’s also important for us to be on the same page with methodology. For example, if you are lighting your coal with lighter fluid, you may use a different amount of coal than someone lighting with a charcoal chimney. It just depends on the exact time you begin cooking over your coals. It also depends how thin you spread your coals out. As an example, 20 lit briquettes will burn your hot dog if you cook over them 15 min after lighting but will barely cook your hot dog if you cook them 60 min after lighting. So to begin answering the question of how much charcoal to add we need to establish a few basics:

How to use a Weber Charcoal Chimney?

For all of the grilling recipes posted on this website, I have used my standard Weber Charcoal Chimney. The purpose of the chimney is to light the charcoals and to provide a means of keeping the coals in proximity while being lit. When using the Weber Performer (which has the small propane ignition feature to light charcoal) I fill my chimney either 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or totally full – depending on the application. I then sit the chimney over the flame port and light it for about 2 minutes. There is no need to go longer than this and if you stick to 2 minutes you will be able to use your mini propane tank for a very long time. The goal is just to get a few coals lit and then the others will light afterwards. If you don’t have a Weber Performer you can either use an olive oil soaked paper towel or some newspaper. It’s the same principle. Just put the paper towel or newspaper underneath of the chimney (above the grates) and use a match to light it. After a few minutes the coals will ignite. Another question that pops up is when to dump the coals out of the chimney? Do you wait until you see flame pouring out of the top or do you wait until they are completely ashed over in the chimney? I like to dump my charcoal chimney as soon as I see flames starting to show over the charcoal. Thus, the top layer of coal is usually mostly black but the flame has risen up over top of the top layer of coals, as shown in the photo below. At this stage I will dump the coal in one pile in the grill. All the coals are not fully lit yet, so I dump them in one pile and will spread them out to where I want them after they have ashed over and look grey (about 15-20 min after the initial lighting).

How much charcoal to use - when to dump a charcoal chimney

How much charcoal to use?

A very simplistic way to discuss how much charcoal to add is based on how much you fill the charcoal chimney. You can imagine that filling the chimney 25% full will yield less heat than a chimney that is filled up 100%. To expand on this, here is my general rule of thumb for cooking various items at various heats using Kingsford charcoal:

  • For a low heat (think tender white fish, or for using the coals to light a smoker) – fill the chimney 25% full
  • For a medium heat (burgers, brats etc.) – fill the chimney 50% full
  • For a medium high heat, or for a full grill of medium heat (think of more spread out charcoal in the grill) fill the chimney 75% full
  • For a high heat (grilling and searing steaks) – fill the chimney 100% full

Now clearly there are a lot of factors going on here. How you spread out the coals plays a major factor in the heat your grill experiences. If you dump a 50% full medium heat charcoal chimney in one spot and don’t spread it out, you will have one isolated area of high heat right over where you dumped the coals. If you spread this 50% full chimney out over the whole grill area your heat will drop because the coals are more spread out. Make sense? So for my purposes, I mostly always use the following two zone grilling set up. I dump the lit chimney (see photo above) on the right side of the grill, and when the coals are ashed over I spread them out on the right side of the grill, leaving the left side of the grill with no coals (for indirect cooking). See the photos below. Roughly speaking, the above percentages will work out well for you if you follow this rule. The cooking temperatures are assessed once the coals are spread out and have mostly ashed over.

How much charcoal to use - indirect vs. direct heat grilling

How much charcoal to use - indirect vs. direct heat grilling

How do you know when your charcoal is ready at a particular temperature?

As a handy tool, use your hand to determine how hot your grill is. You can roughly approximate the temperature by how many seconds you can hold your hand over the coals. I usually hold my hand about 1 inch over the grates to do this little test. Count how many seconds you can hold your hand over the coals before you are in pain. If you can hold your hand over the coals for 5-6 seconds, you are dealing with low heat. 4-5 seconds – medium heat. 3-4 seconds – medium high heat. 2-3 seconds – high heat. If you can’t hold your hand there for 1 second or less, you are not ready to cook because it is too hot. Clearly there is some variation here, especially with how each person perceives pain. However, the general person can hold their hand over a high heat for about 2 seconds.

Once you are comfortable with the above information try grilling something like boneless skinless chicken breast. Generally, this is a difficult thing to grill correctly, but if you understand your heat and direct vs. indirect grilling, it will become quite easy.

How much charcoal to use for boneless skinless chicken breasts - Grilling24x7.com

The type of grill you are using will also come into play. A smaller grill like a Weber Smokey Joe would scorch your steaks into a pile of black ash if you use a 100% filled charcoal chimney, so you need to factor that in as well. Also, some other grills have grill grates that can be lowered to come closer to the charcoal. The closer your grate is to the coal, the hotter your cook will be.

How to grill a steak

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How to use a Pizza Stone on a Charcoal Grill

How To Use a Pizza Stone on a Charcoal Grill:
New Method: Charcoal on top of the grate!

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

I love pizza. I love making the pizza dough and I love making pizza sauce. The whole production, especially cooking it on a pizza stone, makes me happy. However, I haven’t been able to get good results with a pizza stone on a charcoal grill. I have spent a good bit of time grilling pizzas directly on the grate. This method results in a fantastic pizza. The only problem with this is that it doesn’t have the authentic New York style dough consistency. Grilling pizza directly on the grill grate results in a stiff bottom crust that has a crunch when you bite into it. A typical NY style pizza will have a nicely colored crust with an almost floppy bottom. You can probably picture some people bending a pizza into a “U” shape to take a bite. This isn’t really possible on a direct grate grilled pizza unless it is a bit undercooked.

I’ve been able to make outstanding NY style pizzas in my home oven. My main method is to use a pizza stone and preheat the oven to 550 for about an hour. This gets the stone really hot, which is crucial for authentic NY pizza. The pizza is placed on the stone and during the final few minutes the broiler is turned on to help brown the top of the pizza. This lets the cheese and crust get nicely browned. Perfection.

Well, is it possible to get this type of pizza on a grill? I’ve spent a few years pondering this question and I finally figured it out. There is one main thing to keep in mind: the dome temperature must be equal to or higher than the temperature of the pizza stone. This will result in an evenly cooked pizza.

This is advanced grilling so proceed with caution. Please think about what you are doing here and be careful. This is uncharted territory!

The basic plan is to have a small amount of charcoal placed under the pizza stone and a larger amount of coal placed under the area adjacent to the pizza stone. To really boost the dome temperature and to give the pizza a real direct fire flavor I also propose sitting a basket of charcoal directly on top of the grilling grate next to your stone.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

The first thing to do is to light a full charcoal chimney and let it get hot. Fill a charcoal basket about halfway full of unlit coal. Once the coals get lit and spread out you’ll add a few of them right over top of the unlit coals in the basket. The basket is then placed directly on the grill grate.

Depending on the size of your pizza stone you’ll have an area of the grill that isn’t covered by the stone. This is the area where heat will enter the top of the grill and cook the top of your pizza. The key to using a pizza stone on a charcoal grill is to keep most of the charcoal positioned under this area that is adjacent to the pizza stone. If you load up the charcoal directly under the stone, the stone will be about 800-900 degrees and the dome temperature will register about 350. This will fail. So load up the coal underneath of the area away from the pizza stone, as shown in the photos below.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

My pizza stone is from Red Sky Grilling and it is a rather large pizza stone. When this stone is sitting on the grilling grate it fits perfectly to allow the hinged portion of the grate to be accessible. The grilling grate I have has a nice hinged portion to allow access to the coals below. This grate area obviously isn’t designed to have the Weber charcoal basket sit on top but it sure fits perfectly.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

Use long tongs and add some lit coals carefully to the charcoal basket. Place that charcoal basket right up on the grate next to the pizza stone. If you don’t have the hinged grate opening you can still do this by adding lit coals from another grill or a chimney lit at another location. The purpose of adding the unlit coal in the basket is to allow for a longer burn. The basket will be roaring hot later, once the stone is already preheated.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

Let the grill sit for about 10-15 minutes with the dome open to let the coals from the charcoal basket fully light and get hot. Think of it this way: the main way for the top of your pizza to get cooked is via this charcoal basket. You want it to get just a bit hotter than the pizza stone. For example, a 400 degree stone and a 450 degree dome temperature would be perfect.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

I use an laser thermometer to check the temperature of the pizza stone. When the stone is in the 400-500 range you are a good to go, as long as the dome temperature registers roughly the same or higher.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

Using a pizza peel slide your pizza directly on the stone and let it cook for about 3 minutes. Open the dome and rotate the pizza 180 degrees. This lets the entire pizza get close to the charcoal basket. The pizza needs to be rotated during the cook since the strong heat is coming from one side.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

My dome temperature here was about 460 degrees, which seemed to make the best pizza of the night.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

After another 3 minutes take a look at the pizza. If it is nicely browned you are finished. If there is an area that doesn’t look completely cooked rotate it towards the charcoal basket. After another 2 minutes it will probably be done. Carefully look under the pizza too; you don’t want the bottom to burn.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

This method really worked well for my charcoal grill pizza stone set up. Bringing the charcoal basket up top to the grill grate put enough heat into the top dome of the grill to evenly cook the top of the pizza while the pizza stone cooked the bottom. I wasn’t able to get any photos of the bottom of these grilled pizzas but know this: they were not burned or black on the bottom. The photos show a little black char on the edges but this was the result of being real close to the fully lit charcoal basket. The bottom of the pie was nicely cooked.

If you have a smaller circular pizza stone this method will work well too. A smaller stone will result in the ability to get even more heat to the top of the grill. Just try to position the charcoal basket on top of the grate next to your stone.

How to use a pizza stone on a charcoal grill

If you want a good pizza dough recipe check out this 14 inch New York style pizza dough recipe at Pizza Pie 24×7.

Disclaimer: I was sent a pizza stone from Red Sky Grilling to test out. This is a great company and sells a high quality product. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the stone to work according to their instructions. I’m not sure what went wrong. I’ve seen their videos and their instructions are clear, but I couldn’t get the top of the pizza to cook as quickly as the bottom. That said, after two years of stewing over this issue I have finally figured out a way to make my Weber charcoal grill a highly efficient pizza oven by using the above method.

Safety notice: Most people aren’t used to positioning coals on top of a grilling grate. In fact a quick google search and I couldn’t find anyone that has ever tried this. So please be careful. You are using hot flaming coals and moving them to an area where they usually don’t go! So keep a fire extinguisher near your grill and use your head.

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How is Charcoal Made?

Kingsford – Plant Tour
Photos from my tour of the Kingsford charcoal plant in Belle, MO!

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

In early November I was one of the lucky few to be Invited to the Kingsford Invitational. In addition to hanging out with a bunch of my food writing/blogging friends and eating championship caliber BBQ, I got a special behind the scenes tour of the Kingsford charcoal plant in Belle, MO to learn how they make charcoal. Here are some of the photos that I took of the fascinating process of charcoal making. This was an awesome trip and a great behind the scenes look at a really impressive manufacturing process. Wonder how charcoal is made?  Take a look!

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

The manufacturing plant sits on many gorgeous acres of farm land. There was even a pond, a picnic pavilion and a ton of trees.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

The first thing we got to see on the tour was this massive pile of sawdust and recycled wood. A bulldozer constantly pushes the sawdust and wood into a huge grinder which chips up the wood and makes the pieces evenly sized.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

The next step is heating the wood to create the “char” in charcoal. I believe I heard the plant manager say that the sawdust/wood mix is heated to over 1000 degrees.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

The charred wood is then mixed with a few other natural ingredients to help bind the mix together. The mix is then molded into the typical charcoal shape. At this stage we were handed a few pieces of coal. They looked and felt like warm brownies. I really wanted to get a photo of the “charcoal brownie” in my hand but my main goal was to not get charcoal all over my camera. So I refrained!

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

The charcoal is dried for a few hours and magically resembles the coal that we are all so familiar with.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

While I am a bit of a chemistry nerd at heart I think the most amazing part of the tour was the bagging stage. Hundreds of folded bags were opened up by a puff of air and instantly became ready to receive the freshly made charcoal.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

The charcoal is dropped into the bags and the top is sealed. Bags are continuously opened, filled and sealed around the clock. This is a fully automated process, according to the plant manager. Very minimal interventions are needed.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

I was like a kid in a candy store with charcoal bags zipping all over the place.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

Warehouse after warehouse was full of freshly filled pallets of charcoal bags ready to be distributed.

How is charcoal made?  Photos from the Kingsford charcoal plant tour

One of the most amusing things was that at every exit there seemed to be a charcoal grill. The plant manager joked that they are constantly testing out the product.  Well now you know how charcoal is made.

Being around all these food writers, for a moment, made me feel like a real “food journalist.” I decided to ask a few hard hitting questions:

Q1 – If Kingsford employees are caught using gas grills in their spare time are they fired immediately?

A1 – Plant manager: They aren’t hired in the first place. We have a screening process.

Q2 – If you take a piece of charcoal that has been lit and ashed over for about 15 minutes and you cut it in half, is the inside grey or black?

A2 – Kingsford Research and Development Scientist: At the stage you describe it is black inside. Only after the burn process is extended beyond 15 minutes and more do we start to see grey throughout the charcoal.

I hope this taught you something about charcoal. I sure learned a lot and have a much greater respect for the Kingsford company. Not to mention the bitchin’ lunch they served me after the tour!

Let's learn a little about BBQ Pitmaster Chris Lilly

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Which is Better – Charcoal vs. Propane

The great debate – Charcoal Vs. Propane

Note to reader: These opinions are sarcastic, strong, partially rude and arrogant. This was written as a joke but became so popular that I decided to keep it posted online. So take a deep breath and let’s not turn this into a shouting match!!! 🙂


A Personal Preference

Initially I didn’t want to weigh in on this topic. It is a personal preference and similar to religion and politics no matter how good your argument is you won’t be able to change someones mind. However, one day I was googling “charcoal vs. propane” because I was curious to see what would come up. I was a bit disappointed because most of the gimmick websites that come up on google’s first page lean heavily towards propane. This blows my mind so I figured I should at least have a say in this matter.

Do you want an experience or do you want a quick meal?

I believe that this is what it comes down to. If you want to be able to throw a pre-formed burger patty on the grill and eat it within 10 minutes, you probably don’t want a charcoal grill. If you are looking for speed and you don’t want to put much effort into your meal (merely applying a quick store bought marinade, for example), I suggest propane. On the other hand, if you enjoy carefully creating a burger patty – perhaps stuffing some 80% lean ground chuck with sharp cheddar, bacon, and jalepeno peppers – you may lean more towards a charcoal grill because you will be more in control of the heat. You can choose the amount of coals to light, the orientation of the coals in the grill, and the smell of charcoal may complete the picture of your carefully created burger discussed above.

Speed

Some say that charcoal grills just take too long to get going. This may have been true many years ago but I don’t think that this argument has much merit any longer. First, I can have a charcoal grill ready to cook on within 20-25 minutes. My Weber Performer grill contains a small propane tank that is used to ignite a small flame in the kettle to light my charcoal. I run the propane for about 2 minutes and this is enough to start the coals. There is no need for lighter fluid any longer. There are also devices called charcoal chimneys which allow the coals to light much faster because the coals are forced to be in close proximity due to the shape of the chimney. This really helps light the coals fast and hot! However, if you don’t want to spend the extra money for the Weber Performer (about $299.00) which contains the small propane tank for easy coal ignition, you can still use the charcoal chimney in any standard charcoal grill by lighting a paper towel soaked in olive oil which is placed underneath of the coals. Lastly, if you think that a propane grill can cook in 2 minutes you are wrong.  They need to heat up too if you want a good char, solid cook and no sticking.

Taste the meat not the heat?

Nonsense. A lot of propane guys use this cute little slogan to suggest that they taste more of their meat’s flavor since the smokey charcoal flavor isn’t present. At first this may make a bit of sense because one can indeed simply taste the meat – nothing else. However, I have yet to see a propane guy simply put meat on the grill. They are always using some type of store bought marinade or heavy seasonings (which help make burnt food more edible). To me, I don’t want to taste a store bought marinade, I’d rather taste the meat with a nice hint of smoke from a real wood fire. I have put a steak on my grill with nothing other than a little salt and pepper and when the charcoal flavor kicks in you have a taste that can’t be beat. Perhaps the slogan should be re-worded to “taste the fire not the store bought marinade!”

Charcoal is too messy

Yes, charcoal is a little messy. But you know what? When I get some coal on my hands when I’m adding coals to the fire or preparing a fire I simply walk inside and wash my hands. Easy as that. Also, once a week or every other week I will empty out my ashes in the back woods. In my opinion its a small price to pay for a great cooking method.

Men play with fire

Absolutely. I love getting the coals going. This is how humans first started cooking meat. There is just something special about cooking your family a meal on a fire that you have built.

Smoking

With a little work you can turn your charcoal grill into a smoker. Some gas grills do contain smoke boxes but this can’t be used for authentic BBQ. A few coals mixed in with some mesquite wood and you can make a mouth watering authentic barbecue that your friends will die for.

It’s just an outdoor oven

I’ve heard some diehard BBQers refer to gas grills in this fashion and I think there is some merit to it. Think about it. I had a gas oven in an old apartment that I lived in. It had a gas burning flame inside of it that was used as the heat source. This is the same thing as a propane grill – since no flavor is imparted from the propane flame it’s essentially just a outdoor oven. With a charcoal grill you actually have something that can’t be reproduced inside your home. There is actual wood being burned to cook your food. In fact, I think you can replace a propane grill with a nonstick grill pan used on a stove top.

In summary

The decision on whether to use charcoal or propane comes down to the type of cook you are. Do you like Mac N Cheese from a box or do you like like to make your own gourmet version? Do you order Dominos Pizza or do you make your own dough and add your own favorite toppings? There is nothing wrong with boxed Mac N Cheese or Dominos Pizza, if you picked these two then perhaps a propane grill is best for you. You can still follow most of the recipes provided here at grilling24x7.com you just wont have the charcoal flavor that you could have with a real wood burning fire. What I’m getting at here is that a charcoal grill does take a little extra effort. But many people are of the opinion that it is well worth the effort, especially if you like to be totally hands on with your cooking. Think of charcoal grilling as an experience. Sit back, take some time out from your busy schedule and watch your coals ash over. Sure it takes a little bit of time, but so what? Your patience will be greatly rewarded.

Propane vs. Charcoal? The winner is charcoal!

 

Disagree? Chat about it below!

 

If you are looking for the pages and pages of comments that were once here, sadly they had to go. The comment box script is no longer functional. Please use the comments section below!

 

 

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