Food Dude: Pork Thunderloin is a slam dunk for your NBA Finals watch party

Dave Cathey: The Food Dude has the plan for a championship watch party for the NBA Finals.
by Dave Cathey Published: June 20, 2012

Welcome to the big leagues Oklahoma City. Not only have you got a basketball team, you've got a championship basketball team.

Your Western Conference Champion, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is focused on bringing home the NBA crown. For Game 5 and any games beyond you'd better, be prepared to host or attend a watch party with some Pork Thunderloin sliders.

Many of you will be at the game or rooting for the Thunder at bars, restaurants and taverns, but the great majority will be at home or at the home of fellow Thunder fans — preferably a friend with a 50-inch plasma screen or larger.

Pork Thunderloin sliders will help you nurse your nerves into the fourth quarter and won't damage the television if you succumb to an uncontrollable urge to throw whatever is in your hands at the sweat-gleaming dome of referee Joey Crawford when it appears on screen.

The Thunder's success this season is based on unity and variety. While the Heat is fueled by its big three, the Thunder owns a pretty huge three with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. But contributions from Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, Derek Fisher and Daequan Cook are the secret ingredients to the Thunder's championship recipe.

To match that recipe for your watch party, make three big-flavored pork tenderloins with a multipurpose slaw that allows you to mix and match the attack on hunger or unbridled nervous-consumption en route and create a gold-ball worthy addition to your Thunder-watching experience.

You'll want to make all your rubs, glazes and mops ahead of time. The cooking of the tenderloins will be the simplest part, and everything can be made in advance without fear, including the slaw.


by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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Pork Thunderloin sliders

3 pork tenderloins

¾ cup vegetable oil

3 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper

1 cup Carolina-style barbecue sauce (recipe follows) or your favorite bottled barbecue sauce

¼ cup sweet and spicy pork rub (recipe follows)

½ cup pineapple mop, (recipe follows)

1 cup Yakitori glaze, (recipe follows)

½ cup Ponzu mop, (recipe follows)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons nanami tokorashi (Asian chili spice)

In a small casserole or rectangular dish, pour the vegetable oil and add the salt and pepper. Roll all three tenderloins until well-coated.

Set two aside on a platter. Rub the third with the sweet and spicy pork rub until well-coated. Add to the platter.

Prepare a barbecue grill for both direct and indirect heat grilling, preferably with flame at least six inches from surface. A wood or charcoal fire with plenty of grill clearance is preferred.

Sear the tenderloins over direct heat for 1 minute on all sides.

Once each side has been seared, brush one with Carolina sauce, one with Ponzu mop, and the tenderloin with the sweet and spicy pork rub with a pineapple mop.

Grill again 1 minute on each side, mopping or saucing with each turn. You'll want to repeat this process twice, which is about 8 minutes of cooking.

The Carolina sauce will be caramelized by now and crust formed on the other two. Brush all sides again and move over indirect heat and close lid. Now use your Yakitori glaze over the tenderloin you've mopped with Ponzu. Roast an extra 10 to 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. If you don't have a lid, cover with foil or a lid.

Remove tenderloins and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. The pork still will be cooking. If sliced too soon, the flavor-carrying juices within will be lost.

Carve and serve on bread with slaw and extra sauce.

Carolina-style barbecue sauce

½ cup soybean oil or vegetable oil

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup prepared yellow mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Louisiana or Tabasco hot sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients in a jar and close lid tightly. Shake thoroughly until combined.

Sweet and spicy pork rub

½ cup ground mild red chile such as ancho, you may substitute chile powder

½ cup paprika

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup sea salt

3 tablespoons garlic powder

3 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons toasted, ground coriander seed

2 tablespoons toasted, ground cumin seed

2 tablespoons toasted, ground tellicherry pepper

1-2 teaspoons chile de arbol or cayenne pepper

Combine thoroughly and store in an airtight container.

Pineapple mop

1 cup pineapple juice

½ cup apple cider vinegar

A few shakes of Louisiana-style hot sauce

A few grinds of fresh-ground black pepper

Combine thoroughly.

Yakitori glaze:

2 cups sake

2 cup soy sauce

1½ cups mirin

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons grated ginger

1 teaspoon chili paste or sambal oelek, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to low and reduce by half, at least 1 hour.

Ponzu mop

1 cup soy sauce

Juice of 2 lemons

2 teaspoons sambal oelek

2 scallions minced

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and mix thoroughly. Allow to set at least 30 minutes.

Off the Bench slaw

1 head cabbage shaved as thin as you can get it

4 scallions, whites chopped into half-inch slices, greens minced

2 carrots cut into matchsticks

1 bell pepper chopped into thin, 1-inch slices

1½ cups Garlic Vinaigrette, (recipe follows)

Garlic Vinaigrette

½ cup water

½ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup soybean or salad oil

3 cloves minced garlic

3 teaspoons salt

2½ teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients, shake well in a sealed container and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Add vinaigrette and combine thoroughly, making sure the cabbage is evenly coated but not soggy.

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