This is one of those times when canned ingredients are the only way to go. After all, unless you are growing your own jalapeño peppers, have a means to smoke-dry those peppers, you won’t find whole chipotle chilies in the produce aisle of your grocery store. A chipotle is not a type of chili pepper but rather a smoke-dried jalapeño. Typically, a grower passes through a jalapeño field many times, picking the unripe, green jalapeños for market. At the end of the growing season, jalapeños naturally ripen and turn bright red. In Mexico and the United States, there is a market for ripe red jalapeños. They are kept on the bush as long as possible. When they are deep red and have lost much of their moisture, they are picked to be made into chipotles.
The ripe jalapeño peppers are moved to a closed smoking chamber where they are smoked for several days, until most of the remaining moisture is removed. In the end, the chipotles are dried like prunes. the underlying heat of the jalapeños combine with the rich taste of the smoke. Typically, it takes ten pounds of jalapeños to make one pound of chipotle once fully dried. The chipotles are then stewed in a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt and spices before being canned and shipped off to market. While the spices vary, generally they include several types of peppers, cumin and dried oregano. But then, you knew all of this, right? Did you also know that Chipotle in the Nahuatl language (Aztecs) means “smoked chili pepper”? The Aztecs used this smoking process to preserve all kinds of foods, which allowed the foods to be stored for long periods of time. It is speculated that the thick-fleshed jalapeños were smoke-dried because they tended to rot before drying, otherwise. Just think, you’re cooking with something that has been around since the Aztecs.
Chipotle Marinated Pork Tenderloin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 canned Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped
1 teaspoon Adobo Sauce from can
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons line juice
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
8 oz Pork Tenderloin, trimmed
Peel and mince garlic. Place into a blender.
Remove 2 chilies from the adobo sauce. Chop peppers and add to the blender along with 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce.
Add orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper to the blender. Process until mixture is relatively smooth.
Empty mixture into a sealable gallon size plastic bag. Add pork ans seal, squeezing out any excess air from the bag. Turn to coat pork in marinade.
Place sealed bag inside a casserole dish in case bag leaks and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove pork tenderloin from refrigerator and allow to rest on counter while the grill is prepared.
Start coals in a chimney. When the coals are white around the edges (after about 15-20 minutes), empty charcoal onto one side of the bottom of the grill. Put the top grate in place over the fire. Close lid and let sit for five minutes or so until everything becomes hot.
Remove the cover and place the meat directly over the hot coals for about 2 minutes per side, turning so all sides are seared and browned. (Direct grilling).
Move the meat to the other side of grill so it is close to the charcoal but not directly over it. (Indirect grilling). Position it so the longest side of the loin is closest to the charcoal.
Close the cover on the grill, open the vents halfway, and let the meat cook indirectly for 15 minutes.
Open cover and turn the tenderloin so the side that faced the coals now faces away from the direct heat. Close the cover and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin reads 140 degrees, about 20 minutes longer. Be sure to check the temperature at regular intervals, as the internal temperature can rise quickly, leaving the meat dry and over-cooked.
Transfer tenderloin to a cutting board, tent and let rest 15 minutes. The internal temperature should rise to about 150 degrees.
Slice tenderloin and serve with your favorite sides.