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Cajita (Model 3) Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Glaze

Posted by Chef Perry Perkins on

Cajita (Model 3) Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Glaze

~Chef Perry Perkins~

This is my daughter’s favorite Caja China dinner. I think she was about three when I made it for her the first time, and I remember that her Highness ate her share, and half of mine.

Chef’s note: Loin vs. Tenderloin

Pork loins and pork tenderloins two completely different cuts of meat, in fact, they're not even from the same part of the pig, and look nothing alike. Tenderloin is small, narrow cut, no bigger than a child's forearm, while pork loin is a log of meat that can serve 20 or more.

Pork tenderloin should be grilled over fairly high heat, while pork loin needs slow-roasting, smoking, or offset grill to cook through to the center.

Serves: 4

The brine:
¼ cup fine sea-salt
4 cups apple juice

The rest:
1/2 cup apricot preserves (or apricot fruit spread)
¼ cup country-style Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. fresh chopped rosemary leaves
2 pork tenderloins
2 (more) cups apple juice, warmed

In a small pot, bring 4 cups apple juice and salt to a simmer, stirring until salt in completely dissolved. Cool to room temp.

Add the brine and tenderloins to a large zip bag, and brine in the fridge for 4 hours, turning once.

Brining pork can add a significant amount of water (and flavor) to the meat. Total weight after brining can increase by as much as 15% or more. This liquid takes some time to cook out.

Meaning that the percentage liquid that stays in the pork, while roasting or grilling is greatly

This results in a juicier and more tender finished product.

Combine preserves, mustard, and rosemary in a small bowl.

Brush tenderloins with half of the apricot mixture. Pour warmed apple juice into a disposable pan.

Place tenderloins on a rack, fatty side down, in your Model #3, over the disposable pan.

Cover Box #3 with the ash pan. Add 5 lbs. of charcoal and light.

Once lit (20 - 25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the tray.

Roast 1 hour, then open the box flip the tenderloins, connect the wired thermometer probe in the center of the meat, close up the box, remove excess ashes, and add 4 lbs. of charcoal.

Add 4 lbs. of charcoal every hour until you reach 140F on the meat thermometer.

IMPORTANT: Do not open the box until you reach the desired temperature.

Remove tenderloins from box, and grille briefly over hot coals brushing with remaining glaze, just long enough to set the glaze, and get a little char and marks on all sides. (2-3 minutes per side, tops.)

Let them rest 15 minutes before slicing.


Suggestions: Serve with sautéed zucchini and steamed rice, or buttered grits and grilled veggies, if ya’all are Southern!

To quote her highness…”Yum!”

~Chef Perry

As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”

You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at

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