1st Place UK Iron Chef Contest – Grilled Moroccan Ginger Orange Pork Loin

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1st Place UK Iron Chef Contest – Grilled Moroccan Ginger Orange Pork Loin

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After the last meat turn in for British BBQ Championship <Blog> at Cartmel was over, I was invited to participate in a mystery ingredient contest called Ready Steady Que hosted by the International BBQ Network. This was their version of a mini-Iron Chef contest where contestants were supplied a gas grill, a table, cutting board, knife and access to a small pantry and kitchen equipment like bowls and foil. The challenge was we had only twenty minutes after the mystery ingredient was announced. I was reluctant as I was bit tired, but I could not refuse to defend the honor of my country amid the Olympic fever that gripped England since this was the start of the 2012 Olympic week hosted in the UK.

We were all briefed on the rules (everything must be done on the grill), time constraints, and shown how to run the gas grill. By that time, a small crowd had gathered to watch. The official presented the mystery ingredient which was pork chop without the bone. We all grabbed our 6 oz piece and ran towards an unoccupied table and grill.

The first thought that came to mind was how to ensure that my pork was tender. At home, I use a Jaccard which is a multi-blade hand-held meat tenderizer on my pork since they tend to be a little tough after cooking. Since I did not have a Jaccard handy, I poked it several dozen times with the tip of the chef knife before seasoning it.

Because we had only twenty minutes, I knew I had to get my carb portion of my dish cooking since that would take a lot of time. In the contest pantry were orange, lemons, red bell peppers, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, and several other vegetables. I decided on potatoes as the carb for my dish and found some British potatoes which I quickly sliced and seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin from the twenty or so spice bottles also found in the pantry. I set the potatoes on the gas grill to cook while I worked on the meat and sauce. With an Iron-chef type contest, you have to think quickly on what to do with the mystery ingredient as well as what was available in the pantry.

I decided to use the orange and ginger but I did not want to create an Asian flavor base like the ubiquitous Sweet Orange Pork found Panda Express so I moved the flavors towards exotic Moroccan cuisine which I enjoy when I make North African Tajines at home. In Morocco, the influences of Berber, Moorish, and Arab cultures have introduced ginger, citrus, cumin, and coriander into their cuisine. So, I squeezed the juice from a half orange to slather on the pork which I had tenderized with the tip of my knife. After adding some oil and salt and pepper and chopped ginger plus cumin, cayenne, and coriander, I set the pork steak on the grill in the hot zone.

While the potato and pork were cooking, I switched my efforts onto the sauce and garnish. I wanted to make an orange ginger cumin sauce but there was no saucepan. So I folded some foil and made a little cup with it to boil and reduce the orange juice a bit before I added some sweet BBQ sauce found in the pantry and finished with some grated ginger and a dash of cumin and coriander powder. I added salt and pepper to taste and barely finished my dish before time was called.

  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x


  • 1 six-oz boneless pork loin
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated ginger
  • 1 potato
  • 1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper
  • 1 green chili, your choice
  • Juice from 2 oranges
  • Dash of cumin powder
  • Dash of coriander powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or sweet BBQ sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Orange and green onion for garnish


  1. Peel potatoes and slice into ¼ inch slices. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and ½ teaspoon of cumin. Toss to mix, and then place on medium hot portion of grill for about 15 minutes or until done. Remove and keep warm.
  2. Spread out the pork loin on cutting board. Poke numerous holes with tip of knife or use a Jaccard tool which has many small blades.
  3. Squeeze juice from ½ orange onto the pork and allow to penetrate the holes you made. Don’t worry about losing moisture from the holes as the orange juice will moisturize your pork and the oil will minimize moisture loss. Spread a bit of olive oil to create a tacky surface. If you don’t make the holes, it’s also OK but it may be a little tough.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Spread ½ tablespoon finely chopped or grated ginger on one side, flip and repeat. Sprinkle cumin and coriander powder (about 1/2 teaspoon each) on one side, flip and repeat.
  5. Sear the pork loin on the hot part of the grill. After a couple of minutes when grill marks are formed, pick it up and rotate 45 degrees. Once grill marks formed, move it to a cooler part of the grill to cook slowly. You only char one side with the grill marks.
  6. Prepare the sauce by boiling down the orange juice a bit and then adding 1 teaspoon finely chopped or grated ginger. Boil for 5 minutes and add diced red bell pepper, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. If you have some butter, finish the sauce with 1 tablespoon of butter. I did not so I used 1 teaspoon of olive oil to give the sauce come base.
  7. Place cooked potatoes on bottom of plate. Place your cooked pork on top and drizzle with the sauce. Garnish with orange slices, green onion, and grilled green chili.
  • Author: Harry Soo
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

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