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Cocoa & Tea Infused Pork Tenderloin

The first onset chill of the fall will drive many of us to our pantries in search of flavors that evoke comfort and warmth. Like me, you may be turning to a warm cup of cocoa or tea and grab your favorite blanket to nuzzle next to a crackling fire. So besides being used a comforting elixir, what does tea have to do with chocolate? Just like tea, chocolate has many varieties and distinguishable tastes. The aromatic essence of both can draw the most unrefined nose in for a tasting. In all my cooking I take into consideration the nutritional value. Chocolate and tea are both loaded with antioxidants and each boasting many other health benefits.

I was inspired by an article I read a couple of months ago on using tea leaves in replacement of other herbs for rubs. One of my favorite ingredients to use in my rubs is Cocoa powder. My go-to is usually combining the cocoa powder with more savoring spices like paprika and chile powder. I am a sucker for spicy food. However, that was not going to pair well with tea. So to the tea box, I went in search of the perfect pairing to go with cocoa powder and cacoa nibs. I chose Earl Grey for its delicate, yet powerful aroma.

Next was figuring out how to use the tea and what spices paired well with the tea. I decided to use the tea bags as a brine to infuse the flavor and boost the tenderness of the meat. Choosing the spices was no small task. The spices had to complement but not overwhelm the unique taste of the tea. I ended up with a mix of coriander, cardamom, clove, pepper, salt. Coriander and cardamom can be an acquired taste and not for everyone. On their own, they are a powerful spice and exude a floral essence. The cocoa powder and nibs ground the recipe providing a smoothness & richness. I think you will find the combination with the Cacao to be a delightful wonderment of taste bud surprises. Bon Appetit.

Cocoa & Tea Infused Pork Tenderloin


1 medium-sized pork tenderloin

8 Grey Tea Bags

2 Cups Boiling H20

3 Cups Ice

¼ Cup Kosher Salt

2 TBS Cocoa Powder

2 TBS Cacao Nibs

2 TBS Brown Sugar

1/8 tsp cloves

½ tsp cardamom

½ tsp coriander

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp sea salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsps olive oil

Directions-Boil 2 cups water. Place kosher salt in a glass bowl with tea bags. Pour bowling water over mixture and steep for 10-15 mins. Add 3 cups ice to bowl to cool and then add tenderloin. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 mins. While the tenderloin in soaking in the brine, prepare the rub. Combine the all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Remove tenderloin after 30 mins from brine. Quickly rinse with cool water and pat dry. Brush tenderloin with olive oil then heavily sprinkle with rub and lightly pat into tenderloin. Grill tenderloin till temp reaches 150-160 F, remove from grill cover with foil, then let sit for 3 minutes before serving.