beef sandwich with rucula, cherry tomatoes and pesto.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches – Time of the Tailgate

Why do sandwiches and sports fit together so well? Is it because sandwiches can be held by one hand leaving the other the freedom to fist pump to “We Will Rock You?” Perhaps it cures an innate longing to grip a football as your favorite team sails one into the end zone. Either way, it’s the Time of the Tailgate, showing that sandwiches and sports were made for each other with Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches.  Featuring a spicy red pepper rub and herbal aioli, this stylish sandwich is a classy take on a fan favorite with bountiful flavors.

Begin with fresh pork tenderloins and thoroughly apply a rub of fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt.  Let the pork sit for an hour or chill for up to eight hours to allow the salt and seasoning to penetrate, season, and soften the tissue.  The basil-chive aioli, which can be made the day before and chilled, combines anchovy, salt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, basil, and chives for a salty, lemony, and herbal spread that is flavorful and light. Grill the tenderloins over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning every four minutes to get a beautiful char on each side.  After resting, slice the pork into thin slices and layer on grill-toasted ciabatta bread with aioli, arugula, basil, chives, and a squeeze of lemon.  A refined and beautiful sandwich in appearance, it offers a balance of heat in the pork, saltiness from the anchovy, and freshness from the peppery arugula.  So fire up the grill, setup your chair and canopy, and get ready to celebrate – the Time of the Tailgate has arrived!

Serves 4

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches Ingredients

Basil-Chive Aioli

  • 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ¼ cup chopped basil, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Pork and Assembly

  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal or 3½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1½ pounds each)
  • Vegetable oil (for grill)
  • 1 ciabatta loaf, halved lengthwise
  • 6 cups mature arugula leaves with tender stems
  • Torn basil leaves, chopped chives, and lemon wedges (for serving)

Special Equipment

  • A spice mill or mortar and pestle

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches Directions

Basil-Chive Aioli

  1. Using the flat side of a knife, smash anchovy and ½ tsp. salt on a cutting board until a paste forms. Scrape into a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ cup basil, and 2 Tbsp. chives and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper; cover and chill until ready to serve.

Do Ahead: Aioli can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Pork and Assembly

  1. Grind fennel seeds and red pepper in spice mill or with mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in 2 Tbsp. salt. Rub mixture all over pork and let sit, uncovered, 1 hour, or chill up to 8.
  2. Prepare a grill for medium heat; thoroughly clean grates and brush with oil. Grill pork, turning every 4 minutes, until lightly charred on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loin registers 130°, 15–20 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes, then cut into very thin slices.
  3. Grill bread halves on both sides until lightly charred and warmed through, about 1 minute per side.
  4. Spread about ½ cup aioli over cut sides of both bread halves. Layer arugula over, then top with sliced pork, basil, chives, and a squeeze of lemon. Serve any remaining aioli alongside.

Taken from

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