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~Guide to Indoor Grilling Chicken or Pork Tenderloins~

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a36550200bHow many of you have invested in an indoor countertop grill or are considering investing in an indoor countertop grill?  I have one, and, I am here to tell you, I love mine.  It controls the heat perfectly, it's easy to clean, and, most importantly, I am no longer at the mercy of, hot or cold, the weather. to grill two of my favorite super-tender proteins:  boneless-skinless chicken tenderloins, and, pork tenderloins.  In honesty, I'm not an outdoor kinda gal, so indoor grilling is perfect for me.

A bit about indoor grilling on indoor grills in general:

71ZHALjkEVS._AC_SL1500_Let's start with nothing is perfect -- nothing.  It's important to know that just like outdoor grilling (or any other method of cooking for that matter), when you are dealing with a heat source, you can't just walk away and take a nap.  Indoor grilling requires attention. It's super-important to remember that you are indoors, and, there can and will be smoke resulting from food that are rich in fat -- highly-marbled steaks, fat-rimmed pork chops, bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, etc.  To reduce smoke generated on your indoor grill, trim all excess fats from all proteins, and/or choose lean cuts -- chicken tenderloins or boneless-skinless breasts and pork tenderloins are my favorite, but,  flank steaks, shrimp and, of course, all vegetables work great too.  Some open grills can let fat or excess marinade drippings drip down into heating elements, and, while the risk of fire is minimal, be cautious because it can happen. 

Indoor grilling is simple, straightforward & quite successful:

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3824e25200dTo marinate or not to marinate -- that's completely your choice.  Marinades are flavorizers not tenderizers.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a36430200bA common misconception is:  to marinate is to tenderize.  It doesn't work that way.  In the food world, marinades for proteins act as flavorizers, not as tenderizers, meaning:  the longer you marinate, the more flavor will be infused into the protein.  Even 15-minutes will go a long way to flavoring the finished dish.  Moral of the story:  The tenderness of the protein being cooked is dependent upon knowing the proper cooking method.

Option One:  Grilling boneless-skinless chicken tenderloins.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad35bca62200c2-4  pounds whole, boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins, about 10-20 large tenderloins

1  cup of your favorite marinade for chicken (optional)

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a21879200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a2187b200b~ Step 1. Sandwich tenderloins between two pieces of plastic wrap on a flat work surface.  Using a flat-sided meat mallet, lightly pound them to a thickness of about 1/2" -- do not smash them to smithereens.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad35c3ec1200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a218ce200b~ Step 2.  In a 1-cup measuring container, stir together all the optional marinade ingredients.  Pour marinade into a 1-gallon food storage bag, add the pounded tenderloins, seal bag and toss to coat.  Marinate in refrigerator for about 4-6 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 1-1 1/2 hours prior to grilling.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3824e25200d 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a21903200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3824e2c200d 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3824e33200d~Step 3.  Spray grill grids with no-stick cooking spray and heat the grids over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from optional marinade (allowing excess marinade to drizzle back into the bag), place 6-8 tenderloins, side-by-side on hot grill grids and cook until golden and just cooked through on both sides, turning only once, 7-9 total minutes, about 4-5 minutes on the first side and 3-4 minutes on the second side, regulating the heat carefully, as the honey in the marinade (like sugar) can scorch.  Transfer the meat to a plate and repeat process with remaining tenders. Only work in batches that are sized to comfortably fit the surface area of the grill without overcrowding, as well as your ability to manage the quantity, meaning:  know your own limitations.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a4bdc0200bOption Two:  Grilling whole pork tenderloins.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7e6e200c2-4 pounds whole pork tenderloins, 2-4 tenderloins

1  cup of your favorite marinade for pork (optional)

6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7dcc200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7dcc200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a3586e200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a3586e200b~Step 1.  Using a thin, sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears, judiciously trim or snip tenderloins of any thick silverskin or excessive fat from their surfaces.  In a 1-cup measuring container or a small bowl, stir together all of the marinade ingredients as listed.  Pour the marinade into a 1-gallon food storage bag, add the  tenderloins, seal the bag and toss to coat.  Marinate in refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.  Remove from refrigerator 1-1 1/2 hours prior to grilling. 

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a359f5200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a359f5200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a359f5200b 6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a359f5200b~Step 2.  Spray grill grids of  electric countertop grill with no-stick cooking spray and heat grids over medium. Remove tenderloins from marinade (allowing excess to drizzle back into the bag), place tenderloins, side-by-side on hot grill grids and cook until golden and just cooked through on both sides, turning only once, about 6-7 minutes per side (for an initial total of 12-14 minutes).

6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7efb200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7efb200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7efb200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7f11200c 6a0120a8551282970b022ad35d7f11200cStep 3.  With the aid of a spatula or a pair of tongs, working one-tenderloin-at-a-time, roll each tenderloin, left then right, onto its two un-seared sides, to put a quick sear on them as well, about 1 minute per tenderloin. Lower the heat to medium-low and, once again, continue to cook tenderloins on both sides, turning only once, about 6-7 minutes per side, or, until a meat-thermometer inserted into the thickest part of their centers reads 145º-150º.  

The total cooking time for four tenderloins is approximately 28-32 minutes.  

Turn the grill off and allow pork to remain on warm grill grids 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally during this rest period, prior to slicing, thick or thin, and serving as directed in specific recipe.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad35ee7f2200cGuide to Indoor Grilling Chicken or Pork Tenderloins:  Recipe yields 2-4 pounds chicken or pork; 10-20 chicken tenderloins/6-12 servings; or, 2-4 pork tenderloins/8-16 servings.

Special Equipment List: plastic wrap; flat-sided meat mallet; cutting board; chef's knife; 1-cup measuring container (optional); 1-gallon food-storage bag (optional); electric countertop grill; spatula or tongs; instant-read meat thermometer

6a0120a8551282970b022ad35c5006200cCook's Note:  If you are a lover of Tex-Mex fare too, I just happen to have a go-to marinade for that too. Try my garlic & onion powder, Mexican oregano, chili powder and lime laced ~ Tex-Mex Marinade for Beef, Poultry or Pork ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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