My mom is one of those endlessly entertaining people who calls me with the best food questions. “How can I combine cream and cheese to make cream cheese?” “Do you have a recipe for diabetic cupcakes?” “What the heck is in bologna, anyway?”
We had a similar conversation last week about barbecue sauce as her mind was blown upon learning that one could make their own with about as much effort as it takes to watch paint dry. Breaking beyond the bottle I walked her through the careful blending of ketchup, sweetener and assorted spices with nuclear precision. As we talked through it and my Dinner Rush light bulb kicked on, I told her I was going to make a barbecue pork loin with spicy watermelon salsa.
“Wait now, a what?! A watermelon salsa?!”
“Yeah, Mom, I was reading about a spicy fruit salsa in a magazine last week. Sounded delicious, plus I’ve got a bunch of watermelon to use up.”
“Wow, a salsa made of watermelon. I tell ya. Just what will they think of next?”
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
For the pork
1/4 cup ketchup
1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and chopped, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2-pound pork loin, trimmed of excess fat as needed
Salt and ground black pepper
For the salsa
2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
1 Kirby or Persian cucumber, finely chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated or pasted
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Preheat one side of a gas grill to medium high (or ignite a batch of charcoals and, once hot, place them on one side of a charcoal grill). Lightly grease the grill grate with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, chipotle, adobo sauce, honey, cumin and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside. Liberally season the pork loin with salt and pepper, and sear it over the hot side of the grill until marked, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Once the meat has been seared on all sides, move it to the other side of the grill (away from the direct heat) and glaze it with some of the reserved BBQ sauce (you’ll have more than you need). Close the grill cover and let the meat continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes.
While the meat is roasting, in a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients for the salsa. Season with salt and pepper, then let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
Once the meat is finished roasting, let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes. Thinly slice the pork loin and serve with the salsa and remaining BBQ sauce.
COOK’S NOTE: It was such a nice weekend that I opted to make this on my grill. You could just as easily glaze and then roast the meat in a 400 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Bobby Deen and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest tweets on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.