How to Cook a Pork Tenderloin in a Campfire
Brine the Tenderloin
- 1). Place a large stock pot on a stove top.
- 2). Add one cup of water, one cup of sugar and one cup of Kosher salt to the pot.
- 3). Turn on the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir the liquid with a wooden spoon until the granules of salt and sugar are dissolved into the water. Boiling the ingredients prevents any lumps of salt or sugar from adhering to the tenderloin during the brining process. Add any other seasonings or herbs to the liquid at this time. Pork pairs well with garlic, sage, orange zest, lemon zest, peppercorns, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Try using brown sugar, maple syrup or honey instead of white sugar for more flavor.
- 4). Turn off the heat and take the pot off the stove top.
- 5). Add eight pounds of ice cubes into a large bucket.
- 6). Pour the boiling liquid into the bucket of ice. The ice cubes cool the boiling liquid rapidly which keeps you from having to wait for a long period of time to add the tenderloin to the brine. Stir the liquid and ice cubes until the ice cubes melt and the liquid cools down.
- 7). Add the pork tenderloin to the bucket.
- 8). Place the bucket in a refrigerator and let the pork sit in the liquid for at least 10 to 12 hours.
- 9). Remove the tenderloin from the brine and quickly rinse it under cold running water to remove any solid ingredients that are stuck to the pork.
Place the tenderloin in a cooler packed with ice. Transport it to the campsite and leave the pork in the cooler until you are ready to cook it.
Build a Campfire
- 1). Construct a fire ring made from rocks found near the campsite.
- 2). Gather dry leaves, dry grass and twigs. Set them aside.
- 3). Gather sticks that are one to two inches in length and set them aside.
- 4). Gather dry larger logs and dry branches and set them aside. Ignore logs and branches that do not fit into the fire ring.
- 5). Arrange the dry leaves, dry grass and twigs in a small pile in the middle of the fire ring. Light them with a match. Gently fan the flame with your hand until the fire ignites all of the pile.
- 6). Add the 1 to 2 inch sticks to the pile. Arrange them around the perimeter of the original pile, being sure to leave enough space between each stick to allow oxygen to get to the fire. Wait for the sticks to completely ignite.
- 7). Add the larger logs and branches to the pile, arranging them in the same manner as the sticks. Add them slowly and wait for them to begin burning before adding more wood. Once the fire gets going and the flames are large, maintain the fire by adding more logs and branches to the pile. Always arrange the wood properly or the fire may extinguish due to lack of oxygen.
Cook the Tenderloin
- 1). Place a campfire spit over the campfire. Drive the stakes into the ground on opposite sides of the fire ring. Make sure the tops of the spit stakes are facing the same direction and are even in height. The top of the spit stakes should be at least one foot higher than the top of the campfire flames.
- 2). Remove the tenderloin from the cooler. Skewer the tenderloin onto the campfire spit according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- 3). Attach the campfire spit to the spit stakes according to the manufacturer's directions. If the campfire spit is manually operated, grab the handle and rotate the spit by hand, turning with a slow, steady pace. Do not stop rotating the spit or the pork will burn. If the campfire spit is mechanically operated, turn on the rotating mechanism according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- 4). Cook the pork until the internal temperature of the tenderloin reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the pork after 20 minutes with a digital thermometer and then again after every 10 minutes. The safe internal cooking temperature for pork is 160 degrees, which means that pork is safe to eat when the middle of the meat reaches a temperature of 160 degrees. Once the pork is removed from its heat source (in this case, the campfire) it will continue to cook, which is known as "carry over cooking." Carry over cooking adds anywhere between five to eight degrees to the internal temperature of meat. Removing the pork from the fire when the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit results in a finished internal temperature of between 160 and 162 degrees Fahrenheit which is safe to eat and not overcooked. Wear heat resistant gloves when removing the campfire spit from the fire to avoid burning your hands.
- 5). Place the pork on a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- 6). Slice the pork into ½ inch thick pieces using a carving knife and serve.