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Cocoa and Spice August 25, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, random stuff.

. . .they make everything nice!  Oh, yes they do, don’t they?

PhotobucketA while back, when Peeps and I still had our business, we developed this rub for pork  – and it’s always been one of our favorites!

In recent years, pork has become far more lean than it used to be, and the tenderloin is certainly one of the leaner – and milder – cuts!  That makes it a perfect candidate for a highly-seasoned, full of flavor spice rub, wouldn’t you say?  (Just be sure to remove the silver skin from the tenderloin – you’ll be glad you did.)


This rub is a super-simple thing, too!  Just stir together some stuff that you probably have hanging around anyway:

  • 4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp salt (kosher)
  • 1 TBSP. cocoa powder

And that’s it!  Stir carefully, because that cocoa powder has a way of getting ALL OVER the place, but basically, this is all there is to the rub!

Ah, the rub.  Take your spice mix, and just, you know, rub it into the meat.  This makes plenty of spice rub – we easily have enough for 2 tenderloins, and we could probably stretch it to three.  I’m sure it would also rub half a dozen pork chops, some chicken breasts, strip steaks, or even a small-to-medium sized pork loin roast.  Hey, it’s your meat – use what you want!

PhotobucketMassage it gently until every nook and cranny is covered with spice.  Then just wrap it up and let it sit – refrigerate at least 4 hours (overnight is probably better).

AND – as an added bonus, if you find that, say, two tenderloins is more than any two people need at one time, we’ve also done very well freezing the rubbed meat – in fact, that was what we developed the recipe for in the first place!

Just pack it in a freezer bag (or two) and stick in the freezer until you’re ready to defrost and cook.  (Thaw completely in the refrigerator, then carry on with the cooking part.)


You can easily bake, broil, or pan-fry these tenderloins, but our favorite option, by far, is to grill them.  After all, summer in Rochester is so short, and we like to enjoy as much as we can!

The best way to cook pork tenderloin is to first sear it over a medium-hot flame, then move it a cooler area  (or turn the gas down!) and finish cooking until the meat reaches your desired temperature, turning frequently.  (Of course, if you’re cooking pork or beef, you’re going to want to take the meat off the grill 5-10 degrees before your final serving temperature – carryover heat and all.  I like to aim for 170° for chicken – undercooked chicken kind of skeeves me out.)


You’re going to end up with a bit of a crust – it’s going to look burned, but it’s not.  Or it shouldn’t be, if you did most of your cooking on a low, low heat.  It’s going to take, altogether, about 15 minutes, and we pull it off when the temperature reaches about 145°.

Bring your pork in from the grill (I’m assuming your grilling it.  If you’re not, well, take it out of the oven or shut off the burner.  However you’re getting heat to your meat, stop.), then cover it with foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.  That will give it a chance to finish cooking, AND it will give the juices in the meat a chance to settle down – and you’ll end up with delightful, juicy meat, and not a big puddle on your cutting board.

Always thinking, we are.


Once the the tenderloin has rested, slice it into half-inch slices and serve – in this case, Peeps did some pan-roasted potatoes and we cut up a few beets, drizzled them with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and cumin, and wrapped them tightly in foil and let them steam on the grill next to the pork.

Leftovers?  They’re absolutely fabulous sliced and served as sandwiches on small dinner rolls.

Go ahead and give it a try – here’s a printable recipe for our Cocoa-Spice Rub.



1. Barb - August 25, 2009

But see, while this is beautiful, I am DROWNING IN CUCUMBERS OVER HERE. How come there are no recipes for pickles on your blog?? You could be saving millions of frustrated farmers from being buried alive under Mount Cucumber…

– I know, Barb, and I feel for you! But. . . I didn’t plant any cucumbers. Shocking, I know. Neither of us is a big fan of pickles, and, to be honest, my personal cucumber needs are filled quite handily by the 4 for $1 deals at the public market.

Um, did that sound dirty? 😳

2. origamifreak - August 25, 2009

Sounds vaguely mole-ish. And therefore I bet it’s fantastic! 🙂

– Similar flavor profile, certainly, only much simpler. And no sauce!

3. Katie - August 29, 2009

So glad i remembered to check back for this. I’m intrigued and can’t wait to try it out. Speaking of mole — ever try adding some heat to it?

– Hi, Katie, I’m glad you did too! I actually had intended to drop you an email or something, and I, um, sort of forgot.

We haven’t really added any heat to this rub – I’m not really sure why, except that we make it so seldom and we’ve always been happy with it as is. . . but I’m thinking a little chili powder or cayenne (or even making a paste with the rub and some chipotles. . . )

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