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Pork Tenderloin With Burnt Brown Sugar, Orange Confit and Thyme


Francis Mallmann uses a chapa, a cast-iron griddle over a wood fire; a cast-iron skillet on a grill or stove works, too. If tenderloins are more than 2 inches thick, slice each in half. The burnt sugar creates flavor but wreaks havoc on the pan; be prepared to soak and scrub it well when done.

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  • 2 2 1 2 tenderloins, about 1 pound and no more than 2 inches thick each
  • 3 to 4 3 to 4 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 6 6 2 2 to 3 about 2 inches long, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons oil from the confit
  • 2 2 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 4 4 oranges
  • 3 3 3 bay leaves
  • 12 12 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 2 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 3/4 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 2 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3-quart the oranges in half. Squeeze the juice and reserve for another use. Place the squeezed orange halves in a 3-quart saucepan.
  • 3 to to to 25 3 tablespoons olive oil, white wine and water to cover. Add salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the orange peel is tender, about 25 minutes.
  • covered tightly in the refrigerator, for at least a week.


Adapted from


Step 1

Press the meat down to flatten and season with half the salt.
Tear the orange confit into ½-inch pieces and scatter on the meat, then sprinkle with the thyme and brown sugar and pat down firmly.
Heat the skillet over medium heat. Add the orange-confit oil to the pan.
Place the tenderloins in pan, sugar-side down; cook for 5 minutes without moving (if sugar begins to smell unpleasantly burned, lower heat or shift skillet a bit).
Sear tenderloins on all sides, 10 minutes or more, until a meat thermometer reads 135 degrees.
Let meat rest under foil for 10 minutes, then slice. Season to taste with the remaining salt; serve.
Source: Excerpted from “Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way” by Francis Mallmann (Artisan Books).

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