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Recipes: Pork, potatoes, and asparagus done perfectly on the grill

An easy dinner to kick off this summer’s grilling season (if you haven’t already...).

Grilled Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Grilled Mustard Potatoes and Simple Grilled Asparagus.
PHOTO BY ANTHONY TIEULI; FOOD STYLING BY SHEILA JARNES/ENNIS INC.
Grilled spice-rubbed pork tenderloin with grilled mustard potatoes and simple grilled asparagus.

I know that the unofficial start of grilling season in the chilly Northeast is Memorial Day, but let’s be honest — who really waits that long? Not me. As soon as daylight lingers past 7 p.m. and the evening temps stop dipping to the freezing mark, I’m back at the grill cranking out quick, easy dinner menus like this one — grilled pork tenderloin, potatoes with a mustard coating, and asparagus.

Follow these steps to orchestrate the grilling:

1) Make the spice mixture, rub it into the pork, and set aside.

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2) Prep the grill, the potato skewers, and the asparagus.

3) Grill the tenderloins over the hot part of the fire.

4) Move those to the cool side of the grill, then grill the potato skewers over the hot side (which should be medium hot by now on a charcoal grill).

5) While the pork rests and the potatoes finish on the grill, grill the asparagus over the (hopefully still) medium-hot fire.

It’s a well-coordinated do-si-do at the grill and then voila — dinner. Happy summer!

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Grilled Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Serves 6

1tablespoon ground fennel seed
1tablespoon ground coriander
1tablespoon brown sugar
2teaspoons ground cumin
1teaspoon garlic powder
¼teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and finely, freshly ground black pepper
2pork tenderloins, about 1¼ pounds each, silver skin trimmed, patted dry
tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for the grill

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In a small bowl, mix the fennel, coriander, brown sugar, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, and 2 teaspoons each salt and ground black pepper.

Place the tenderloins on a large platter and rub each one all over with half the oil, then half the spice mixture, distributing it evenly for a generous coating over the meat; set aside to rest at room temperature while preparing the grill.

Prepare a fire with a hot side and a cool side in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on high. (If using gas, leave one burner on high and adjust the other(s) to low and grill with the lid closed.) Clean and oil the grill grate. Grill the tenderloins on the hot side of the grill until browned and grill-marked all over, turning them a quarter turn every 3 minutes but otherwise leaving them undisturbed, about 12 minutes. Move the tenderloins to the cooler side of the grill and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers about 138 degrees, about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Transfer the tenderloins to a carving board, cover loosely with foil, and rest for about 10 minutes (the internal temperature will increase while the meat rests — an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat should register about 145 degrees).

Cut the tenderloins into roughly 1-inch slices and serve.

Grilled Mustard Potatoes

serves 6

Before they hit the grill, the potatoes spend some time in the microwave so they can cook to full tenderness without scorching the coating.

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You’ll need 8 to 10 10-inch skewers for this recipe.

2pounds (about 24) small creamer or red bliss potatoes, 1½ to 2 inches in diameter, scrubbed and halved
¼cup mayonnaise
1/3cup grainy Dijon mustard
1tablespoon pressed or grated garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil, for the grill
3tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, scallion greens, or chives

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the potatoes on high until mostly tender, about 7 minutes, tossing to redistribute them about halfway through. When cool enough to handle, thread skewers with the potato halves (piercing the potatoes so that the skewer runs parallel with the cut sides and all the cut sides face the same way) and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste until uniform. Sprinkle the skewered potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. Scrape the mayonnaise mixture onto the potatoes and smear it over them to coat completely.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, adjust the burners to medium-high and grill with the lid closed.) Clean and oil the grill grate. Grill the potato skewers until the potatoes are fully tender and the coating is set and charred in places, turning two or three times but otherwise leave them undisturbed, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove potatoes to a platter, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve at once.

Tip: Instant-read thermometers

Pork tenderloin is especially delicate and easy to overcook, so checking its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer is highly recommended. My choice is the Thermapen, made by ThermoWorks (thermoworks.com). There are several models, all of which are intuitive to use, easy to read, quick, and accurate — although a bit on the pricey side. I consider mine to be essential equipment in the kitchen and at the grill.
Anthony Tieuli
Pork tenderloin is especially delicate and easy to overcook, so checking its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer is highly recommended. My choice is the Thermapen, made by ThermoWorks (thermoworks.com). There are several models, all of which are intuitive to use, easy to read, quick, and accurate — although a bit on the pricey side. I consider mine to be essential equipment in the kitchen and at the grill.

Simple Grilled Asparagus

Serves 6

2pounds (at least 24) asparagus spears, preferably medium-thick, tough ends snapped off
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving, optional

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on high. (If using a gas grill, adjust burners to medium-high and grill with the lid closed.)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the asparagus with the oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and toss again to distribute.

Clean and oil the grill grate. Grill the asparagus until tender and grill-marked, about 7 to 10 minutes, turning as necessary for even cooking. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to cooking@globe.com. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.