Monday, November 8, 2010

Beware of the Stinky Pork



Let me just preface this story by saying that neither Andy nor I have particularly sensitive stomachs or issues with offensive smells. We have two cats and a dog and are no strangers to disgusting odors.

That being said…you know how when you eat something that doesn’t quite settle well with you, it might take you awhile to eat that certain food again? Well, this experience was so bad that it’s taken me two weeks to even write about it, and I’m sorry to say that I think it will be a very long time before we make pork ribs or tenderloin again.

It all started out so innocently. We were getting ready to prepare the quintessential Football Sunday dinner: a rack of baby back pork ribs that would be barbecued to perfection later that day. Out came the vacuum-packed rack and all the necessary tools, along with our favorite spice rub. Even at 11 in the morning, our mouths were already watering; we could almost taste those juicy ribs.

Then Andy cut open the package and almost threw up.

The stench that overtook the kitchen was unlike anything I have ever smelled. Thinking that maybe it was just that nasty pork juice that accumulates in the bag, we rinsed off the ribs hoping to remedy the situation. Andy bravely took another huge whiff and almost threw up again. I also took a big sniff, apparently not wanting to miss out on the action, and confirmed what we already knew. The pork was rotten, and probably had been for days. The windows flew open and the pork was relegated to the outdoor trash (where it continued to reek until garbage day).

At this point we were not yet completely ruined. We still had a hankering for pork, so we decided to have pork tenderloin instead. Dinnertime came and we opened the package of pork tenderloin. It smelled faintly like the ribs, but not knock your socks off bad. I rinsed it off and still caught a bit of an odd smell. Against my better judgment, I proceeded with dinner. This ended up being a great dish, but I should have trusted my instincts when it came to the smell. We paid for that later…

But don’t let our bad experience stop you from giving this one a chance.


Spice-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine and Cherry Sauce

Sauce:
1/2 cup dried cherries (I used Costco’s Kirkland Tart Montmorency Cherries)
1/4 cup diced shallots
1 1/4 cup red wine (plus extra to rehydrate cherries)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Put cherries in a bowl and cover with red wine. Let sit to rehydrate.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, sauté shallots in a splash of olive oil until soft. Add in the rest of the ingredients, including the cherries. Turn heat to high to bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer. Check for seasonings. (Depending on the wine and tartness of cherries, more salt and/or sugar may be needed.) Reduce for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Pork:
8 crispy gingersnap cookies, ground in a food processor (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed

Mix first four ingredients together. Sprinkle rub all over pork and press into the meat. (If you do this ahead and let it sit, the rub will get fairly wet, which is fine. It will crisp back up when seared.)

Preheat oven to 400. When ready to cook, heat some olive oil in an ovenproof pan. When very hot, sear the pork on all sides to create a crust. Transfer pan into the oven and roast until the pork is at desired doneness. (I like my pork a little pink, and roasted it for 12 minutes.) When done, remove and let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Slice and serve pork with sauce spooned over the top.


Each bite of the spice-crusted pork paired with the bold, tart sauce was delicious. Hints of ginger and cinnamon warmed the dish, reminiscent of holiday flavors. The pork itself was tender and moist. This is definitely a dish I will make again…although in the very distant future.

Turns out I was right about the tenderloin not smelling so good. Our stomachs will attest to that. So even though I loved this meal, I don’t think I could eat it again anytime soon. I’ll need to get the memory of that bad pork smell out of my head before I revisit this one. But we love pork far too much to be permanently scarred. (And this of course excludes bacon. Nothing could stop me from eating bacon. Ever.)

50 comments:

  1. I had that experience once with bad ground beef - even reading this makes me think of that smell years later, and still want to throw up. I can eat beef again though, so there's still hope for your relationship with non-bacon pork.

    Despite that, the sauce sounds really good, and i like the idea of a gingersnap rub. Perhaps this would work with chicken in the meantime?

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  2. How can a post about two things so tragic make me laugh so hard? I mourn the loss of the pork ribs and your subsequent stomach troubles after the pork loin, but wow, that looks delicious. I definitely will be trying the recipe. Thanks for the wonderful chuckles too.

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  3. I am the same way... if I get grossed out by something it will take me awhile to go back to it. And nothing could keep me away from bacon, either :)

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  4. You are a brave soul to have tried pork after the rotten ribs. And yet yuou end up with bad tenderloin. I really think I will stay away from pork for a while. I love that you were able to blog about it.

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  5. I had the same experience with pork chops once, from that day onwards i don't by meat from super markets :). I liked your idea of adding hint of cinnomon and ginger bread, its gives a wonderful aroma.

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  6. Kudos to you for sharing the meal even though the pork was so bad. My stomach turned a little reading this and I'm glad you and the hubby are on the mend.

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  7. What a traumatic experience...I probably wouldn't want to have pork for a long while. Did you report it to the market that you purchased it at? Hopefully others didn't get sick too. Thx for sharing your experience and hope you're feeling better.

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  8. poor you to put up with all the stinky smell. Hope the smell is all gone. I like your idea of using gingersnap for cooking pork...nice!

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  9. It like our mothers always said, "When in doubt throw it out."

    If any food, particularly pork or fish, doesn't smell right DO NOT eat it. Throw it out, and be sure to disinfect any surfaces in your kitchen that it may have come into contact with to prevent cross-contamination.

    I also agree with the other posters who are telling you to let the grocer know. It's possible that their refrigerator wasn't working property.

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  10. Urgh! I had an experience once with some chicken I bought! The smell was disgusting! Thanks for sharing this! The tenderloin looks delicious though!

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  11. Yes, I know the smell, yuck! I also know the feel of "bad" pork. It's good that you won't stay away from it, and that you posted this! The store should refund you no problem!

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  12. Some smells just have to be shared....that sounds awful doesn't it...but it's soooo true. ;)

    The sauce looks wonderful. Nice mix of flavors.

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  13. I can't say that I've ever experienced bad pork or beef... and I'm kind of glad. I have an awful gag reflex and I would barf at even the faintest smell of nasty! Glad that this recipe came out of all of it though because it sounds pretty tasty!

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  14. Aaawwww always sucks to get stuck with stinky meat... but so glad you decided to still stick to a porky dish. Hehehee I love pork!! When it's not bad of course.. :)

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  15. Oh no, that really does look good even if it was stinky! Yikes!!

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  16. Good for you for not giving up, if it were my husband,he'd never have pork again! It looks fantastic! The recipe looks delicious!

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  17. I've been there! In our world it TAKES A LOT to throw away unused food and unused wine - when you do - you know it HAD to be BAD!

    This Pork Tenderloin dish however (despite the rib story) has my mouth watering!

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  18. Hilarious! I've had that happen with chicken before...the thought of it still gives me gag-reflex!

    I'm loving the idea of gingersnaps and pork--that is brilliant!

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  19. Oh boy! Hope your digestive systems are back to normal by now! It looks good in the pictures,can't smell it from here :)

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  20. You poor thing! Ugh. I have the sensitive nose in my house and my cook husband trusts it thankfully. Though I worry about waste when a whiff just doesn't set right for some reason. Hope you're feeling much better. Very brave of you to go ahead and post the recipe!

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  21. Oh my god, what an experience :( Spoiled meat is the worst smell. Still, your end dish looks fabulous doesn't it!

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  22. I am so laughing, and so not. Food poisoning is the worst- glad you're ok. The dish looks beautiful- I'm sitting here wondering how I can use this on the Thanksgiving Turkey!! Great flavors.

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  23. I hate it when that happens. :( Recipe sounds great though- I'll be sure to make it with non-stinky pork. :)

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  24. Oh no! I'm so sorry that you had to deal with all that! Even though your personal experience with the dish didn't turn out as lovely as planned, I must say that this recipe sounds wonderful. I looove dried cherries!

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  25. It can happen to anyone. So, you know that next time you will trust your first instinct more. Apart from its quality that does not show in the photo,it looks perfect.

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  26. When I prepare pork for my church family of 300 for Sunday night, I can never get myself to eat it after smelling and handling it for hours. :( I totally understand your experience! But your recipe looks fab.

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  27. I bet that has so many great flavors to it! Looks gorgeous too!

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  28. Your bad experience had my stomach turning just reading about it. The photo looks delicious but after don't think I'll be able to get the story out of my head to proceed with this one.

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  29. I can feel for you and the off-meats. I always find it difficult to throw away some meats that i was careless in the storage of... and like you... I always end up paying for it in one way or another. Love the sour cherries on the tenderloin, though! Looks like a perfect compliment for the meat!

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  30. oh my. i am pretty sensitive to smells, especially when it comes to meats. you are a brave woman!:) i'm glad you finished the dish though, because this looks and sounds delish!

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  31. Oh no! So sorry to hear about your stinky pork situation. This dish does look pretty good though, sans-stink. The sauce on here sounds awesome!

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  32. Thank goodness, you didn't throw it away! The serving looks divine to me. Next time, maybe you can try washing it with either vinegar or coke. It works with the liver, kidney, intestine and pig stomach. ^_^ Btw, my family doesn't take pork except me! ha!
    Kristy

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  33. The recipe looks really delicious - what an awful experience though!

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  34. Ugh that is the worst! My brother had a similar experience with some potatoes last year. Apparently if you let them sit around for long enough, they'll start leaking this really foul-smelling liquid. Ugh. gross.

    That sauce for the pork looks dleicious though and I will surely be trying it!

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  35. Oh ugh on the stinky rotten pork! Nothing worse than the smell of rotting meat. But the tenderloin looks incredible, I love the flavours in the sauce.

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  36. Yikes, it is a shame you had such a bad experience, but this does sound delicious. And I do have a tenderloin in the freezer right now! Thanks for sharing your story, though, you told it well! I do know that feeling... sometimes my stomach turns at the mere THOUGHT of a certain food after something like that!

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  37. Well, despite the story, it really does sound like the sauce would be amazing on pork. Sorry you all had such a bad experience...what a HUGE disappointment for you all. I can't blame you for never wanting to eat pork again!!

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  38. I love pork tenderloin, and despite your story, I still want to try this!

    In case you don't see it, I've sent you an award! http://bit.ly/akGScO

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  39. I sent you an award too at http://www.anniesdish.com/2010/11/whole-wheat-pumpkin-muffins.html

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  40. Wow, two bad packages in one day!! How did that happen?

    You made the best of it, but I do feel bad that in sharing with us you got sick.

    Jason

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  41. That happens often with organic chicken at my grocery store. I think it is the heat here in Florida. lol.
    This looks gorgeous and delicious! :)
    Lora

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  42. Oh my, what a run of bad luck! It looks beautiful anyway. I had a similar experience several years ago on Christmas as I opened up my thawed out turkey I knew it was ruined. All the stores were closed and I was panicked...ended up driving around and found a little Filipino market open, and bought two fat chickens :)

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  43. This is a seriously fantastic recipe, love the varied flavors...
    And the presentation looks fantastic :)
    Ans since I do not eat meat, I could get through your stories relatively easy, lol
    I do cook meat for others and am paranoid if anything smells even slightly off.

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  44. I've had that happen with chicken drumsticks--twice. I can still taste the rank gush of juice from biting into them. I'm not sure when I'll be able to buy them again.

    The pork sounds amazing, as it has 2 of my favorite things: dried cherries, and gingersnaps!

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  45. How brave of you to write about a meal that made you feel so awful!!!

    I have to say that it looks delicious!

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  46. I have some left over ginger snaps, so I've been looking for a recipe that had crushed gingersnaps, and I think that I've found it. However, I'll be very careful to smell the pork, before I cook it. Hope that you're feeling better.

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  47. Great post! I’m looking to make some changes in my own eating habits and learning to cook, so I appreciate your insight a lot! Thank you. I recently stumbled upon this blog like I did yours and I thought your readers may appreciate it: http://burisonthecouch.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/food-for-thought/

    I’ve started to look for their stuff more regularly and I think I’m going to add your blog to my list as well. Thanks for the post!

    -Amy

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  48. OH NO! I'm sorry to hear that you guys got sick...but I'm not gonna lie...I giggled a bit too! We have ALL been there! Hope your feeling better!

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  49. I made the same judgment call the very first time I prepared bison at home. Since I had never handled it in it's raw state I had no idea what to expect.

    Against my better judgement I cooked it up and all was well until about 2am... It took me months before I could even think about bison without feeling ill.

    That said, great recipe. I love tart dried fruit in sauces for meat and cherries are my favorite!

    Thanks for sharing Karen!

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  50. Wow! One of my favorite meals ever was duck with a cherry sauce. This looks great but I'm sorry it was spoiled.

    I've done the very same thing simply because I had already done all the prep work and my options were to:
    -Cook it as is
    -Order a pizza
    -Go back out to the grocery
    -Find an substitute for the offensive meat in the fridge

    The trouble is when you're tired and hungry the first option sometimes seems like a really good idea.

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