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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

COOK'S CORNER: Get Ready to Grill




In Moscow, great weather means two things: micro-mini's are donned with abandon and Friday afternoon traffic is hell as people make a run for their dachas.


I can't do anything about the miniskirts except marvel at how girls wearing a Band-Aid and platform sandals are able to run after trolleybuses. But if you've got a dacha or an invitation to the country, I've got a truly fantastic recipe to christen the grill.


Almost anyone with an arm thinks he has mastered the art of the barbecue. I say he, because these self-proclaimed masters are primarily alpha males whose sense of evolutionary biology takes them back to an era when hunters encircled their felled mastodon, howling before they sparked up the bonfire to cook the kill. But I've eaten enough char-crusted, raw-in-the-middle meat to know better.


There are two things you must know about grilling meat: First of all, no amount of marinade will save a poor cut of meat. You can marinate a round steak from now till September, but it'll never morph into filet mignon. Buy good cuts of beef and marinate for flavor, not to improve the texture.


Secondly, it's all about heat. When you're cooking tender cuts of meat like chicken, fish, beef (sirloin, fillet, T-bone) or pork tenderloin, the key is plenty of heat. You should be able to hold your palm above the grill for 3-5 seconds, tops. If you have a top for your grill, use it when cooking. You get a lot of heat but don't have to worry about dousing flames that can burn the underside of the meat.


This pork recipe was inspired by the countless shashliks I've eaten. This variation benefits greatly from wonderful citrus-packed, garlicky marinade that gives it a subtly exotic flavor. Serve with rice and a green salad.


Pork Tenderloin Cubano


125 ml orange juice


50 ml fresh lime juice


50 ml dark rum


1 medium onion


6 garlic cloves, minced


2 tsp dried oregano


2 tsp cumin


2 tsp salt


1 bay leaf, crumbled


1/4 tsp ground black pepper


500g pork tenderloin


Onion, green pepper, cherry tomatoes,


mushrooms (optional)


Mix first 10 ingredients in a large, resealable plastic bag. Cut pork into cubes about 3 cm long and add to marinade. Close bag and turn a few times to coat the pork. Refrigerate overnight or up to four days.


Spear pork onto presoaked bamboo or metal skewers. If desired, you can alternate the meat with large chunks of onion, peppers, cherry tomatoes and/or mushrooms.


Heat up your grill. A charcoal grill will probably need about 30 minutes to reach the desired temperature. Lay the skewers on a clean, oiled grill and cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side. Be sure to test the meat to make sure it is done in the middle before removing from the grill. Serves four.