My last day of college, I ate a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast, then drank three Long Island Iced Teas after my last final.

My family arrived at the University of Missouri around 5 p.m. to take me to dinner.

They ate Burger King. My mom (who can still get worked up about it) took care of me. No one except my brother believed my roommate, bless her heart, who tried to cover for me by insisting I was sick from “studying” so hard.

That was 30 years ago. I haven’t had a Long Island Iced Tea since.

I avoid tequila, too.

But this afternoon, I found a bottle of the stuff at the back of the cabinet where I stash the liqueurs I use for cooking. I used it a year ago to macerate some watermelon for a party.

“Are we having margaritas?” the husband asked. “Long Island Iced Teas?”

“No,” I grimaced. “We’re having pork.”

Blame it on the weather. We’ve gone from frost to 70 in just a few days, and visions of summer are knocking ’round our heads. I had a bowl of oranges, lemons and limes sitting on the kitchen table. That citrus — plus some tequila, garlic and cumin seeds — seemed like a perfect marinade for the pork tenderloins I was thawing.

tequila pork dish

They were. The pork emerged from the oven tangy from the citrus, smoky from the tequila, piquant from the cumin and garlic.

“Can I get drunk off of this?” the little one asked.

“Of course not,” I said. “It’s not a Long Island Iced Tea.”

Tequila-Marinated Pork Tenderloins

This would be awesome made on the grill, which I would have done if I’d had time to service the darn thing. It works perfectly well in the oven, too.

For marinade:

  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • Juice of 2 medium oranges
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins (preferably organic)

For baking:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime

For sauce:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • Juice of half a lime

Combine the garlic, citrus juices, tequila, olive oil, brown sugar, cumin seeds, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Place the tenderloins in a plastic bag. Pour the marinade mixture in, seal the bag and refrigerate for 3-5 hours:

tequila pork marinading

Thirty minutes before cooking, take the tenderloins out of the refrigerator. Pat them dry and let them stand at room temperature for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the lemon, orange and lime in quarter-inch slices. Place the slices in the bottom of a greased 9x13x2-inch baking dish:

tequila citrus

Glaze a grill pan with grape seed or canola oil and place over high heat until it’s smoking. Add the pork and brown it on all sides. Place it on top of the citrus slices:

tequila pork browned

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Using an instant-read thermometer, check the meat’s internal temperature. You want it to be 140 degrees. If needed, cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.

When the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, remove the pork from the oven. Let it rest as you make the sauce:

Combine the 1/4 cup orange juice and 2 tablespoons tequila in a small saucepan. Season with salt and pepper,then bring to a boil and reduce by half. Remove from the heat and squeeze in the juice of half a lime. Taste. You may want to add the rest of the lime juice for a more piquant taste.

Cut the pork in inch-thick slices. Arrange with the roasted citrus on a platter. Pour the sauce over.

Eat to your heart’s content, with no danger of over-indulging.

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