This Spanish-style grilled pork or prueba de cerdo recipe has a bit of kick, but not too much to intimidate those who prefer a milder taste. It is a hearty tapas dish to say the least. The smoky flavor of the paprika and the crushed red pepper combine to awaken your taste buds! The melt in your mouth texture of this pork tenderloin will amaze you.
Tapas or a main!
I think Spanish pork chops would be especially wonderful on the grill in the summertime accompanied by a side of roasted potatoes and mixed greens. Add toasted French bread and a glass of sherry to this culinary equation and you have a fantastic meal before you. I must stress that the key to achieving perfection with this dish is not to rush things. By this I mean, marinate for the full 24 hours. The flavors of the spices will infuse the meat thoroughly. You’ll be glad you waited!
In the marinade for pork chops, I prefer to use the Spanish paprika. The Spaniards are very picky about their paprika, almost as the French are about their wine. As a matter of fact, in Spain there is a classification-D.O. or denomination of origin which indicates where the product is from. Paprika is also the main spice in Spanish chorizo (a pork sausage ) which is also a regional element of pride throughout Spain, where each small town claims to make the best chorizo.
Paprika is one of the many spices that came to Europe from the New World. It was allegedly brought back by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage and supposedly served to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who found it a bit too spicy for their taste.
Step by step photos:
- Gather all the ingredients and have them measured out and ready to go.
- In a small bowl or pyrex mix together the olive oil, paprika, crushed red pepper and oregano.
- Whisk to combine really well.
- Slice the pork loin into 1/8″ slices as shown and place in a zip top bag.
- Pour the oil-spice mixture into the bag with the pork.
- Seal the bag and squeeze the contents to evenly coat all the pork. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Pan fry the pork or grill on high heat for a minute or 2 on each side. They should reach 145°F internal temperature.
Frequently asked questions:
- How long can I store the leftover pork? Once they have completely cooled you can store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- Can I freeze the leftover Spanish pork? Yes, store in shallow airtight containers or wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- How do I reheat the pork? Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and stop to stir every 30-45 seconds until hot. Once reheated do not cool and store again in the refrigerator, consume it right away. Only reheat the amount you are going to consume.
- Can I make this recipe with chicken or beef? Sure! You certainly use either, just follow the same instructions.
Grilled marinated pork loin should definitely be on the menu for your next tapas party.
If you want to bring the flavors of Spain to your home I have several great recipes to share with you.
Spanish chorizo in red wine sauce is a great dish to pair with some tempranillo or rioja.
Croquetas de jamón y pollo take a little effort but you will be rewarded with a delicious appetizer that is crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Shrimp with tomato and onions is a simple tapas dish that pairs well with a nice Spanish white Verdejo that is similar to Pino Grigio.
Empanadas are savory turnovers filled with meat or cheese. Most are fried but I like to cheat and bake mine using pre-made pie crust. I think this is a slightly healthier option than frying and is so easy.
Spanish Style Grilled Marinated Pork Recipe Card
Add mixed greens for garnish
- In a glass bowl mix all the ingredients except for the pork and greens.
- Place in a freezer bag or glass bowl and add the sliced pork loin. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- To cook: Heat some olive oil in a large skillet and quickly fry the pork slices, This is the "a la plancha" method or quick frying over high heat. You can also grill over fire or "al carbon" on your outdoor grill. A minute or 2 on each side over high heat on the grill will be enough since the slices are very thin. Serve atop mixed greens. You can accompany this dish with toasted French bread.
Feel free to substitute beef or chicken.
Updated September 2020.