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Grilled pork tenderloin with spicy harissa paste

One of the great things about grilling meats is the flavor you can add to it with sauces and pastes. If you like your grilled pork tenderloin served spicy, then this is the dish for you.

If you like your meal hot — as in spicy — then you’ll love this recipe for grilled pork tenderloin with spicy harissa paste. Harissa is made from chilies and other herbs and spices, and is common in North African cuisine. It’s easy to make and versatile enough to go from grilled meats to stews or even eggs.

Grilled pork tenderloin with spicy harissa paste

You’ll probably have leftover paste with this recipe. Store it in a glass container in the refrigerator, and use it within a few weeks. You may want to add a bit of oil to the mix each time you use it. Then go wild, and add this fragrant, spicy paste to any number of dishes.

Gilled pork tenderloin with spicy harissa paste

Grilled pork tenderloin with spicy harissa paste recipe

Serves 4-6


  • 1 (1-1/2-pound) pork tenderloin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 dried chili peppers, stems and seeds removed, rehydrated
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra to season the pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus extra to season the pork


  1. Season the pork with salt and ground black pepper on both sides, and rub it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place it in a large, sealable baggie, and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.
  2. In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat, and add the dried chili peppers to the pan so they are completely submerged. Let the peppers sit for about 20 minutes, and then drain them.
  3. Lightly oil the grates of the grill, and then preheat it to high.
  4. As the peppers rehydrate, in a skillet over medium heat, toast the coriander, caraway and cumin seeds for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally. After toasting, grind the seeds to a powder.
  5. Add the chili peppers, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, mint, ground spices and olive oil to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  6. Add the pork to the grill, and cook it on high heat for 5 minutes. Flip the pork, and brush the cooked side with the harissa paste. Cook on high heat for another 5 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to low. Flip the pork, brush with the harissa sauce, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip once more, and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until done.
  8. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that a safe internal temperature for pork is 145 degrees F, with a 3-minute rest, as measured by a meat thermometer.
  9. Slice the tenderloin, and serve it with a green salad and your favorite grain.

Turn up the heat with harissa.

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