Cocoa-Spiced Pork Tenderloin
Loading Video...
Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Falkner

Mayan Cocoa Nib Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Getting reviews...
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
The chiles and spices in this recipe are inspired by ancient Mayan drinking chocolate, otherwise known as spiced hot chocolate. I took cocoa nibs mixed with Mexican guajillo chile powder, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves and cumin to make a delicious rub for pork tenderloin.


Finishing Sauce:

Cocoa Nibby Grits:

For Serving:


Special equipment:
a pellet grill smoker or other kind of smoking device
  1. Preheat a pellet grill smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions to 225 degrees F.
  2. Grind up the cocoa nibs, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and cloves in a blender until evenly ground. Mix this spice mixture with the salt, brown sugar, chile powder, onion powder, cinnamon, allspice and garlic powder in a bowl.
  3. Rub about 3/4 cup of the spice mix on the pork tenderloins. Smoke the pork until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, about 1 hour. Let rest about 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. For the finishing sauce: Add the vinegar, rum, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, garlic, chile and orange zest and juice to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then puree until smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  5. For the cocoa nibby grits: To a large saucepan add the chicken stock, olive oil and 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Add the grits and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, cream, bittersweet chocolate and 1/4 cup cocoa nib spice mixture until fully combined. (Keep any remaining spice mixture in a container with a tight-fitting lid in a cool, dry place.)
  6. For serving: Pour the grits into a very large serving bowl. Top with the sliced pork, Cotija, finishing sauce, cilantro sprigs and a squeeze of lime.