I am not a fan of meat-and-vegetable skewers. The meat cooks, but the vegetables don't, or, even worse, the vegetables overcook (think charred peppers and burst cherry tomatoes).
What I will pair on a skewer with meat is fruit, especially pineapple. The combination works for pork, seafood and shellfish, and the pineapple is a flexible cooking companion: If it's paired with fast-cooking seafood, it just gets warmed. With this pork, the pineapple gets a delicious char.
Either way, it's a winner. Better yet, you're fitting in a daily serving of fruit and reducing the amount of meat you might eat if you grilled meat-only skewers.
The key is to make sure your grill grate is well oiled, or the pineapple will stick. You'll need 10- or 12-inch bamboo skewers; soak them in water for 30 minutes before using so they don't burn on the grill.
Yield: Makes 12 skewers
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Flesh of 3/4 pineapple (about 1 pound) pineapple, cored and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces (3 cups)
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of silverskin and excess fat, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch chunks
Combine the vinegar, oil, chili powder, cumin, pepper and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together to form a marinade. Place the pineapple in one bowl and the pork in another. Divide the vinegar-oil marinade evenly between the pork and the pineapple. Toss each with the marinade to coat the meat and fruit pieces. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 4 or 5 seconds. Lightly coat a grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.
Prepare the skewers by alternating 3 or 4 pieces of pork with 3 or 4 pieces of pineapple. You might want to count and divide the pieces before skewering to make sure you fill all 12 skewers. Discard any remaining marinade.
If desired, lay aluminum foil on the grill grate so the parts of the skewers not covered with pineapple or pork will be shielded from the heat. Arrange the skewers on the grill so the meat and fruit are over direct heat. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes on one side, until browned.
Use tongs and a spatula to turn the skewers over. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the pork is cooked through; the internal temperature of the meat should be 155 degrees. Remove from the grill and let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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