Any southern lady worth her salt has a good recipe for pimento cheese in her back pocket. Traditionalists hold strong to the idea that pimento cheese should be used only for dipping crackers and spreading on white bread. I myself am a bit liberal when it comes to my pimento cheese consumption, and firmly believe that the sky's the limit! I mean, I made pimento cheese macarons last year. Clearly I'm no traditionalist. So while pimento cheese grits aren't that out there, they are a fun spin on both grits and pimiento cheese -- two of my favorite southern delicacies. And to top it with grilled and glazed pork tenderloin? Pure southern perfection.
I'm imagining serving this at a dinner party. Start with fried green tomatoes. Serve grilled or cornmeal-crusted okra on the side. And finish with an Arnold Palmer Layer Cake or Peach Cobbler. To drink? If you can find it, La Peche Mode, a peach saison by Three Taverns Brewery here in Atlanta. This beer pairs perfectly with the spicy pork and creamy grits.
I realize that some parts of the country are still blanketed in snow, but please. The minute you can, dust off your grill and make this dinner. You'll be so happy, and I'll grant you all southerner cards for the day!
BBQ Glazed Pork Tenderloin over Pimento Cheese Grits
- 1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
- 3 Tbs BBQ Spice Rub (recipe below)
- 1 Tbs canola oil
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 oz diced pimentos, drained (or 1/2 roasted red pepper, diced)
- 2 Tbs heavy cream or half and half
Prepare the grill to cook over medium-high heat. Brush the grates with cooking oil.
In a small bowl, combine the BBQ spice rub and the canola oil to form a paste. Rub over the pork tenderloin.
Place on the grill and cook, turning every 4-5 minutes, until the meat registers 140 degrees in the center. For the last 5-6 minutes, brush with the bbq sauce. Remove the tenderloin from the grill, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Brush once more with bbq sauce, and slice.
As the pork is cooking, make the grits. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until they are softened and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook for an additional minute, then slowly whisk in the water and milk.
Bring to a boil and whisk in the grits. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the grits are creamy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Whisk often to keep lumps from forming and to keep the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the cheese, pimentos, and cream. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, spoon the grits onto a plate and arrange a few slices of pork over the top.
BBQ Spice Rub
America's Test Kitchen, Healthy Family Cookbook
- 3 Tbs brown sugar
- 3 Tbs smoked paprika
- 2 Tbs dry mustard powder
- 2 Tbs pepper
- 1 Tbs onion powder
- 1 Tbs garlic powder
- 1 Tbs ground cumin
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Combine all the spices in a small bowl and stir to combine well. This can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about a month.