Food For Thought – BBQ Part Two

Planking_secrets_1_2 This week on Food For Thought, Part Two of my Barbecue series, featuring Ron Shewchuk’s latest book, Planking Secrets.  If you click on the link, it will take you to, where you will save 24 percent off the cover price of the book.   I’ve tried a couple of recipes out of this book, and I love Ronnie’s treatment of cedar-planked pork tenderloin with rosemary and garlic.  See the recipe and all of its variations below.  Last night I tried another recipe from the book, planked steak!  I didn’t have all the exact ingredients called for, but a little bit of ad libbing and the top sirloin I used turned out just fine.

Img_2160 The steaks were marinated in soya, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, onion, honey and hot sauce.  First you put them on the grill for a couple of minutes on each side so you get some nice caramelization going, then put them on to your soaked plank for another 15 minutes or so for medium-rare.  In the meantime, you’ve taken the marinade and brought it to the boil,

Img_2162 then reduced it to a simmer to thicken it a little.

The resultant sauce is quite spicy and tangy.  If you want to listen to this week’s mini-documentary, the streaming RealAudio is here .

Bbq_secrets_1 If you don’t think you want an entire cookbook of planking recipes, I also recommend Ron’s first book, Barbecue Secrets.  It covers a much wider variety of topics, but also has some planking recipes.

Now, here is Ron’s planked pork tenderloin recipe, reproduced here with his permission:

Planks and Pork Tenderloin: the Perfect Marriage

When I set out to research this book I knew that planking worked great for fish and for summer fruits like peaches and pears, but I had no idea what a perfect match this cooking style is for pork tenderloin. These little cylinders of tender, juicy pork are a staple of Chinese cooking and are great on the grill, but they are ideally suited to planking. Their size allows 2 or 3 to fit nicely on a plank, and they have just the right amount of surface area to cook quickly without losing moisture. They go with all flavors of smoke, from cedar to mesquite. And they take to marinades and rubs extremely well. Here are some basic techniques and a little collection of ideas for how to flavor pork tenderloin, but use your imagination and experiment with your favorite rubs, marinades and basting sauces.


1.   Marinate and/or rub the tenderloin and have it ready to go before you start the grill. (Three tenderloins is usually enough for 4 servings.)

2.   Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5 or 10 minutes or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F/260°C. Rinse the plank (which you’ve soaked in water overnight or for at least an hour) and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4 or 5 minutes, or until it’s starting to throw off a bit of smoke and crackling lightly.

3.   Reduce the heat to medium and place the tenderloin on the plank. Cook for 10 minutes, turn, and cook for another 5 to10 minutes, basting if you like, until the pork is springy to the touch or has an internal temperature of 140°F/60°C. (This will give you juicy pork cooked to a medium doneness. The internal temperature will come up slightly when you let the meat rest.)

4.   If you like, just before it’s ready you can move the tenderloin from the plank onto the cooking grate and char the outside, or caramelize it if it’s coated with barbecue sauce.

5.   Take the tenderloin out of the grill, tent it in foil, and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Carve the tenderloin into 1/2- to 1-inch/1- to 2.5-cm medallions and apply whatever sauce or garnish is called for.

Tasty Tenderloin Treatments (the recipes for all the rubs, sauces and marinades mentioned below are in Planking Secrets, but you can substitute your favorite versions):

Classic Barbecue: Coat with ballpark mustard, sprinkle with Championship Barbecue Rub. Cook on a hickory plank till nearly done and finish with a light glaze of Ron’s Rich, Deeply Satisfying Barbecue Sauce. Serve more sauce on the side for dipping.

Easy Asian: Marinate with Easiest, Tastiest Steak (or Anything Else) Marinade and finish with a coating of Asian Barbecue Sauce.

Spice-Crusted: Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and coat with minced garlic, toasted fennel and cumin seeds, and a little cinnamon.  Serve with chopped cilantro and your favorite chutney.

Balsamic: Coat with balsamic reduction. Marinate overnight. Sprinkle on some chopped fresh rosemary and granulated garlic. Serve with a drizzle of the balsamic reduction and some chopped fresh mint.

Harvest Time: Season with salt and pepper and coat with a rub made with light brown sugar, powdered ginger, a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg, a pinch of clove and a little cayenne pepper. Baste with melted apple jelly and serve with Plank-Baked Apples with Rum-Honey Sauce.

Southwestern: Flavor using the same seasonings as Spice-Crusted Pork Blade Steaks and serve with some salsa and cornbread.

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6 Responses to Food For Thought – BBQ Part Two

  1. Thanks for such a detailed post. I took your ideas and made a variation of my own. I tried it once and my steaks turned out so juicy and flavorful. Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. thanks for the instructions. they make me allmmoosst brave enough to try it! lol

  3. Kevin Moore says:

    Very thoughtful and detailed post. I need to see if I can throw everything together and try this with some T-bone steaks I have ready for the grill this evening.

    Kevin Moore

  4. Londonmarket says:

    Wow, this makes my mouth water. It may be difficult to get my relatives down south allow me to actually use a plank of wood on their hallowed grill. But I am always looking for ways to get a different twist, and add a bit of flavor Thanks for the tips.

  5. It’s a great book, I like the slow smoked brisket. works well in vertical smokers like these from landmann

  6. warren says:

    Thanks for the instructions, I’ve not yet tried a good recipe on the smokers but this tenderloin looks very tempting. I’ll be a little bit more bullish with the garlic..

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