Smoked Pork Tenderloins

I had moved away from home when I was in my early twenties. Since then I have missed my dad’s birthday every year. This year, I decided it was time to smoke some pork tenderloins and have a fun afternoon of eating.

Instead of a traditional style of dinner with courses, etc. we decided to make it more of a “Tapas style” with multiple different appetizers to choose from.

The rub for the tenderloins was a variation of one of my staple rubs. I rubbed the pork with a very light coating of olive oil. Then coated them with the spice rub and let it rest at room temp for an hour or so. I fired up the Traeger and set it to “Smoke”. This setting keeps it smoking between 180 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit. I sprayed down the pork every thirty minutes or so with the spray mixture. I know the spray recipe sounds pretty odd and crazy, and many chef’s wouldn’t ever consider using a soda on their meats, but I’m kind of unconventional when it comes to these types of things. I have had good luck with flavors in the sprays I use. Keep these on the smoker until the internal temp reaches 140. Let rest for 20 minutes prior to slicing.

Consuming raw or under-cooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.



  • 2 oz Soy Sauce or Coconut Aminos
  • 2 oz Balsamic Vinegar
  • 12 oz can of Squirt soda pop

At this point I figured I had some time to kill while the meat was cooking. A fantastic side would be some fresh Focaccia Bread.

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1.5 tsp of kosher salt, 1/4 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. (Note: If you do not have a mixer, you can mix the ingredients by hand. Start off using the handle of a wooden spoon and once the dough comes together, place it on a floured table and knead for approx 10-12 minutes.) Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 minutes. Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, around an hour.

Coat a baking pan with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the baking pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. Note: Yes, this is strange. But when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy looking focaccia. If you do not make the actual holes in the dough, the finished product will be very smooth.Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.

Now a meal cannot be complete without some vegetables, so I took some asparagus, coated it with a generous amount of olive oil, and sprinkled it with some kosher salt and steel cut pepper. After the pork had been taken off the Traeger, I turned it up to 375 and grilled the asparagus until it was tender.

Everything else you see is just an assortment of crackers, cheeses, pickled items, etc. You can add in whatever you prefer.


 Smoked Pork Tenderloin Smoked Pork Tenderloin 

Table of Goodness



Espelette (Piment d’Espelette) – The Most Versatile Chile Powder

There are some things in life that make people smile. Usually a baby laughing, or a puppy that is playing and joyful, a beautiful sunny day. For me, it is Espelette powder.

There are some interesting things about Espelette and what makes it so amazing. First off, it is similar to Champagne. Champagne is a sparkling wine that is specific to the Champagne region of France. You can grow the same grapes, and go through all the same processes, however if it is made anywhere other than the Champagne region of France, it is called sparkling white wine. Espelette peppers are grown in the northern part of the Basque region of France. While these seeds may be grown in various places around the planet, only peppers grown in this specific region and following strict controls are given the AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) Certification.

My understanding is that the Espelette Chile made it’s way to France from Mexico by ways of Christopher Columbus. The climate of the area around Espelette was similar to it’s home in Mexico. It was quickly adopted into the local culture, and has continued to grow there for more than 350 years.

Espelette Chiles are planted in the spring. These chiles are cultivated in small areas, and are respectful to the environment. The use of pesticides and irrigation are strictly regulated. The chiles are hand picked when they first start to turn red. They are still dried using the same method used for centuries. Chiles are hung from the facades of the homes and dried in the open air.

I find this chile powder to be extremely versatile. It is not a fine powder. It is somewhere between a fine flake and a coarse powder. The texture is great for many different applications. However this is just the beginning of the amazing Espelette. It is not a hot chile pepper. It has a mild heat, with fruity tones and a smooth flavor. It doesn’t have the sharp bite that you get from many chiles, and could almost be considered to be on the sweet side. Many recipes that I have read say Paprika or Smoked Sweet Paprika work as a substitute. They can work as a substitute, but it’s not the same. It would be like substituting a mix of milk powder and water in place of heavy cream. It may get the job done, but it certainly isn’t the same.

In the past I had used Chile Flakes for many of my recipes. While the chile flake still has it’s place in the kitchen (the need for heat and a sharper chile flavor), it pales in comparison to Espelette Powder. The flavors of Espelette seem to blossom when cooked. I have used it in pasta dishes with amazing results. Because of it’s low heat level you can add a little more and gain more of the chile flavor, without melting your taste buds. I also use it religiously on meat rubs and seasonings. Prior to most meats hitting my smoker or grill, they will receive a dusting of one of my spice blends. Most if not all of these blends have Espelette Powder in them. I’ll share a couple of my favorites below.

I highly recommend picking up some Espelette Powder. It will change your view of chile powders and will revolutionize your recipes for the better. Everyone I have suggested it to, has tried it and been pleasantly surprised to  downright shocked and amazed.

Rub for Smoking Meats

Grilled Chicken or Pork

Burger seasoning