Plum Jam Sauce for Pork Tenderloin

August 14, 2009
4 Ratings
  • Serves 6, can be doubled or tripled
Author Notes

I love pork tenderloin, especially grilled. And even better the next day in a sandwich, to be perfectly honest. This recipe came about when I wanted to use some Plum Sauce I had canned. I've reworked the recipe to skip the canning step. —MrsWheelbarrow

Test Kitchen Notes

The plum sauce seamlessly blends elements of jam (ginger and sugar) and pickling (mustard seeds and vinegar). And when made with red plums from the Greenmarket, it makes for a vivid and glistening sauce. After searing the tenderloins, you begin basting the meat with the sauce. You want the sauce to caramelize without burning, which takes some finesse -- don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. After grilling and letting the meat rest (an important step), you slice it and serve it with the sauce, a combination we loved. But make sure you taste the meat without the sauce, too -- the tart plum glaze on the edges is sublime. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Plum Sauce
  • 1 pound pitted, chopped plums - I prefer prune plums, but earlier season plums will make a lovely, but more tart, sauce
  • 1/2- 3/4 cups dark brown sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 minced jalapeno or other hot pepper, depending on personal preference for heat, leave seeds & ribs in (hotter), or remove
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed, cracked
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pork
  • 2 boneless pork tenderloins
  • Canola or other flavorless oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Make the sauce: Bring all ingredients except plums to a boil.
  2. Stir in the plums. Reduce heat and simmer very slowly until thick and syrupy, about 45 minutes.
  3. Depending on your preference for consistency, either puree in small batches in the blender, blend with a stick blender, or mash with a potato masher.
  4. The sauce may be made two days in advance. It will make more than you need, and you might find yourself tempted to dip an eggroll in it, or serve it with goat cheese.
  5. Fire up your grill. Bank the coals on one side, so that one half is very hot, and one half can be used for indirect cooking. If you have a gas grill, this is much easier.
  6. Pat pork tenderloins dry. Lightly salt and pepper all over.
  7. On the hottest part of the grill, brush a little oil or spray with PAM so the pork won't stick. Sear the pork on all sides.
  8. Move the pork to the indirect heat, brush liberally with some plum sauce, and cover the grill for about 8-10 minutes. Total cooking time, including searing is 15-18 min. If you have a thermometer, cook to 155•.
  9. Heat some plum sauce in a small saucepan on the stove.
  10. Remove the pork from the grill and tent with foil, allowing the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Slice the tenderloins. Pool the plum sauce on the plate, and serve with four or five slices of tenderloin fanned on top. I usually serve this with garlic-y greens or baby bok choy and rice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • CarlaCooks
  • Well Worn Whisk
    Well Worn Whisk
  • melissav
  • jilladavis
  • QueenOfGreen
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19 Reviews

CarlaCooks August 17, 2013
I made this for a dinner party last night and it was very tasty! I made the sauce earlier in the day. I ended up using about half the total amount for the dinner (the rest will be put to good use; it's such a tasty sauce). I don't have a grill, so I first seared the tenderloins on the stove-top, then put them in a 400 F/205 C oven for about 8 minutes. After taking the tenderloins out of the oven, I covered them with foil and let them rest for 10 minutes or so. Thanks for a lovely recipe!
MrsWheelbarrow August 17, 2013
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! I've got it on the dinner list for next week. Plums are just beautiful right now.
Well W. December 11, 2012
Your plum sauce would also go well with leftover lamb, I imagine. I used some plum sauce that I made (similar in ingredients) to make wraps with some leftover shoulder of lamb, cucumber and spring onion: - it's reminiscent of the classic duck pancakes with plum sauce.
MrsWheelbarrow December 11, 2012
What a nice idea! Thank you!
yesiteach September 2, 2012
I am wondering (since I don't know how to do canning) if I can make a double batch of the plum sauce and freeze it? Anyone have advice?
MrsWheelbarrow September 2, 2012
The sauce freezes really well, also keeps about a month in the refrigerator.
melissav August 7, 2011
This is a ridiculously delicious dish. I made a double batch of the plum sauce on Saturday using the recipe on your blog and tonight we used one jar to make this. Both my husband and I were licking up the leftover sauce and pork juices from our plates using our fingers. The sauce is my favorite thing I've canned to date - sweet, spicy, tangy - just perfect. I am already worrying that the 12 half-pints are going to be enough to get me through the year. I have a feeling I'm going to be hoarding them. Thank you for a fantastic recipe.
MrsWheelbarrow August 8, 2011
Thank you, Melissa! I'm thrilled you liked it. I make 12 jars each summer and have the same worries. :) Try it on chicken. Also, it's a great dip for dumplings or spring rolls.
jilladavis October 20, 2010
Can I modify this to use a 4 lb pork loin I have in the freezer? I would love your thoughts/ instructions!
MrsWheelbarrow October 20, 2010
I would guess a 4# pork loin is bone-in? If you were planning to roast it like that, I'd serve the sauce on the side. Maybe glaze the roast in the last 30 or so minutes? It will burn quickly, so don't put it on for the entire roasting period. Alternately - you could bone out the tenderloin and use the recipe as is! How daring are you feeling? How sharp are your knives? :)
QueenOfGreen September 8, 2010
This turned into sandwiches for the Labor Day weekend road trip from DC to the Berkshires and were a hit with everyone in the car whether they were 9 or 49! Thank you for the recipe!
MrsWheelbarrow September 8, 2010
What kind of bread? I love this idea! Thanks, QueenofGreen (and Food52, too!)
QueenOfGreen June 6, 2013
Is there anything additional I need to do to the plum sauce if I wanted to can it?
MrsWheelbarrow June 6, 2013
Not a thing! It's totally can-able as is. I would suggest tripling the ingredients to make the canning worth the effort.
cateler July 1, 2010
so yummy! The plum sauce was awesome - even though our plums were tart it was delicious. Served with pearled couscous and garlic spinach. Gorgeous colors together.
Leftover sauce was paired with warm brie the next night.
MrsWheelbarrow July 1, 2010
So thrilled you enjoyed it. Great idea to pair the sauce with brie! yum
Lizthechef July 1, 2010
Boy, I missed this one - from the days before I joined the food52 gang- was there ever such a time?! Looks like a must-try - saw it on LastNighstDinner blog too...
MrsWheelbarrow July 1, 2010
Thanks, Liz. I hope you'll like it! I process the plum sauce in a boiling water bath to make sure I have it all year round.
Francesca September 17, 2009
This looks simply delicious! We still have some plums here in the fruit market so I'll try this recipe.