July 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

Pork marinade puts sparkle in 4th of July

Grilled pork kebabs with poblanos and radishes. (Fine Cooking)

Finally! The Fourth has fallen on a Friday, and thats fantastic news in my book (as Im sure for many of you, too). Having the holiday fall mid-week sure has a way to foul up any party plans, but now we have a long weekend to play in the sun, swim, relax and, yes, eat. No doubt the grill will be fired up nonstop cooking up burgers and dogs, fish and chicken and one of my favorites pork tenderloin. Pork takes to marinades so beautifully and cooks up like a breeze, so juicy and tender that it complements a variety of cuisines from Asian to Southern and especially Mexican.

Here the pork is cubed and skewered for kebabs, and surprise ingredients radishes and poblanos are added to the lineup to create a terrific taste and texture. Serve with a Spanish rice, or simply some warmed tortillas and icy cold beer. Its guaranteed to be a highlight of your weekend.

Mexican Pork Kebabs

Recipe from Fine Cooking

For the marinade:

1 dried hot red chili, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
cup diced yellow onion
cup fresh orange juice
cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle in adobo (I like Herdez brand)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
cup vegetable oil

For the kebabs:

2 pork tenderloins (1 to 1 pound each), trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1 -inch-thick half-rounds
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 fresh poblano chilies, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
16 medium radishes, trimmed
16 scallions, root ends trimmed
cup vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the marinade:

Soak the red chili in very hot water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the chili and put it in a blender, along with all the remaining marinade ingredients. Blend until smooth. Set aside cup of the marinade for basting. Put the remaining marinade and the pork in a large zip-top bag, seal and massage the contents to coat. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the pork; discard the marinade.

Make the kebabs:

Thread the meat onto skewers, alternating with the onion, the poblano pieces and the whole radishes.

Build a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to medium high and oil the grill grate. Grill the kebabs (uncovered for charcoal; covered for gas), turning every 2 to 3 min. Once the pork loses its raw look, baste with the reserved marinade each time you turn the skewers. Grill until the pork is firm to the touch and the edges have begun to brown and the vegetables have begun to color and soften, about 15 minutes. Mound the skewers on a warm platter; tent with foil to keep warm. Brush the scallions with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until they begin to brown and soften, turning frequently, 3 to 5 min.

Remove the meat and vegetables from their skewers, mound them on the platter and arrange the scallions around the edges. Serves 6.

Per serving: 332 calories; 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 52 percent calories from fat); 8 g carbohydrates; 100 mg cholesterol; 470 mg sodium; 34 g protein; 2 g fiber.