My husband can smoke some pork. My favorite is his smoked pork tenderloin with mustard sauce. It's tangy, a little sweet, but not too much, and it's got some zing. He's like a jazz musician. He's got a direction he's headed in, but he doesn't like to be boxed in with a recipe. He improvises. And it's always amazing. But I wanted to be able to share the recipe with you so I asked him to nail it down. After some experimentation, this is the one. It's hard to stop eating this stuff. Make some cornbread and get down to business. (This sauce would rock on smoked chicken or turkey as well.)
He likes pork tenderloin because it's faster to smoke than a larger cut, and because of the shorter time, it stays very moist. It's easy to process, you don't have to debone it and mess around with a lot of prep. It doesn't shred the same way you usually see shredded pork, but it does make beautiful slices that show off your smoke ring — the clear pink line that marks the penetration of smoke into the meat.
This recipe is for four tenderloins and enough sauce and marinade for all of them. You could cut it down, but if you're going to go to all the trouble of firing up the smoker, you might as well have a party or put some away in the freezer for later happiness.
Gluten-free note: Lea & Perrins Worchestershire sauce is gluten-free.
24 ounces Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
Four 1 lb. pork tenderloins
Combine sauce/marinade ingredients and cook in a saucepan over low heat for about 30 minutes. Taste it and see where it is. You can add more mustard, if you like. Keep in mind that it will continue to mellow out over time. The bite of the vinegar will soften and the sweetness will come up as the flavors marry together.
In a gallon-size zipper plastic bag, put all four tenderloins and 1/2 cup marinade. Zip it up and massage the sauce into the meat to coat it all evenly. Refrigerate overnight.
Soak about six 8-10 inch long and about 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch diameter pieces of pecan in a bucket of water for 30 minutes.
Fill a chimney charcoal starter with hardwood charcoal and light it to use as the base of your fire. When it's going, put it in the firebox. Add half of the wet pecan to the charcoal. Get the temperature in the smoker up to about 225 degrees. Add your pork and smoke for about an hour and 20 minutes. Add more wet pecan as needed to maintain smoke and even temp of 225 degrees.
Remove the meat from the smoker and let rest on a platter, covered, for about 20 minutes. While the meat is resting, warm up the remaining sauce to a low simmer. Slice the meat into 1/4-inch slices on a bias and drizzle with sauce to serve.
For the leftovers, if there are any... Slice the meat, then brush it with a little sauce. Heat it under a broiler briefly just to warm it through and, if you like, crisp up the edges just a bit, like barbacoa. You can also freeze leftovers. Take the unsliced piece of tenderloin, place it in a zipper bag, add the sauce, remove as much air as possible before zipping it shut and freeze.