Salt & Wind Travel

Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa Recipe

Cherries can be such teases. I mean, who do they think they are, tasting so amazing but coming in season for such a teeny sliver of a moment? But then I love that cherries are a reminder of seasonality and how something at its prime really is at its prime and far superior in taste that any other moment in the year. So, I take what I can get — be they Bing, Chelan, Lambert, or Rainier — and use them in as many recipes as possible, provided of course I haven’t eaten them all first.

This spicy cherry salsa is a favorite around here because it’s sweet, spicy, tart, and herby and can be made in approximately two and a half milliseconds. No, really, it’s fast (so long as you have a cherry pitter, of course). And though cocoa-rubbed pork is as 90s a trend as the Backstreet Boys, it’s really a perfect pairing here. The earthy cocoa flavors, the spice of the chiles, the sweetness of the cherries, this recipe is a serious seasonal winner.

Now, go stock up on all your cooking essentials, then head into the kitchen, make this, and share it with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa Recipe

Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa Recipe

This Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa recipe will be the superstar of your next BBQ, and everybody will ask you for the recipe, we swear your guests will call you Master Chef.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 90 kcal


For The Cherry Salsa:

  • 2 cups sweet cherries pitted and halved (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 jalapeño stemmed and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 shallot finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves finely chopped
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For The Pork:

  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined cane sugar


  • Make The Cherry Salsa: Toss cherries, jalapeño, shallot, pomegranate molasses, basil, and a pinch of salt and a crank of pepper together in a large nonreactive bowl. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. 
  • Butterfly The Pork: To butterfly the pork, place the tenderloin on a cutting board with one end pointing toward you. Slice lengthwise down the center, almost but not quite cutting through the tenderloin, leaving about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness of meat intact. Open like a book and push on it to flatten.
  • Starting on the left side, with the blade of the knife parallel to the cutting board and the blade facing left, slice down the length of the seam, maintaining the 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness. Pull the meat open and press down to flatten. Continue cutting and flattening until the entire left half is 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness. Rotate the tenderloin and repeat on the other half.
  • Make The Cocoa-Chile Rub: Combine the olive oil, cocoa, chile powder, sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper in a small mixing bowl until well combined then coat the pork all over with the mixture. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to grill, remove the pork the fridge and set aside at least 20 minutes at room temperature before grilling. 
  • Grill The Pork: Heat an outdoor grill to high (about 450°F to 550°F) and rub the grill grates with a kitchen towel dipped in vegetable oil. Place the pork on the grill, and cover the grill. Cook, flipping once, until grill marks appear and the pork registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes total. Remove to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest a few minutes. Slice thinly and serve with cherry salsa.



Serving: 1servingCalories: 90kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 7mgPotassium: 183mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 674IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cherry spicy salsa, Grill recipes
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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