Once again I am starting a post by whining about how I have no food growing in my yard, but jumping for joy at the generosity of my friends and neighbors, who do. Are you noticing the trend? My sweet neighbor Kimber has a big ol’ plum tree in her front yard. After eating half of the bowl she brought to the neighborhood BBQ last week, I started dreaming about plum recipes, so naturally I headed to her house in the middle of the night dressed in black and armed with a bag and some clippers. Just kidding. I sent my husband. In broad daylight. And I asked first, like a polite-mooching-neighbor should.
And he brought back the most perfect, juicy plums.
Remember this Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce from last summer? I wanted to do something similar, but with plums and a slightly different flavor profile. This one is kind of like sweet and sour meets BBQ Sauce and it goes great with one of OBB’s favorite cuts of meat: the pork tenderloin.
The first thing you’ll need to do is dice the plums up. Plums can be a little tricky to pit because they often don’t pull off the seed like other stone fruits do. If your plums are small and soft, you might find it easiest to cut it like you would a mango, like I did. Just slice right down next to the pit and you’ll get 2 large halves, then you can cut off the sides of the pit.
Quarter each of those big halves and you’ll be perfect.
Do that with the whole bunch. I should note that what you see in the photo below is not the whole bunch.
Stone fruits lend really well to sweet-savory sauces like this one. We’ll start with a base of sauteed onions and garlic and then add a little ketchup, soy sauce, ginger, mustard, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and a hint of cloves.
Then in goes the diced plums.
That simmers for at least 30 minutes and transforms into this crazy-gorgeous crimson color. This sauce works really well to make ahead too. Whip it up the day before you need it and it will be thicker and have more intense flavor.
Give quick-cooking pork tenderloins a sear and then smother then in the sauce. Roast the tenderloins and the sauce caramelizes all over it.
Slice up your pork and serve it with extra sauce.
It has a really great sweet and savory flavor with a lot of levels. There’s sweetness from the plums and brown sugar, a little tang from the vinegar, and just a hint of spice from the red pepper. It pairs perfectly with pork, but would be really great with chicken too.
very lightly adapted from Cooking Light
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
one pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 pounds black plums, pitted and quartered
2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed if necessary
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon canola oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add sugar and the next 9 ingredients (through plums); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes or until plums break down and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Give it a taste and adjust if necessary adding a sprinkle of kosher salt or a little more sugar if needed for sweetness. If fruit is slightly bitter, the salt should combat that. (This sauce can be made a day in advance.)
Preheat oven to 450°
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and black pepper. Add pork to pan; sauté 7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
Transfer pork to a foil-lined jelly-roll pan; coat with about 1/2 cup plum sauce and use a spoon to spread it around on the pork. Roast pork at 450° for 15 minutes. Remove pork from oven. Turn pork over; coat with an additional 1/2 cup plum sauce. Roast 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of pork registers 155°. Remove from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Slice crosswise. Serve with remaining plum sauce.
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All i want to say is thank you! I made this tonight and it was amazing!
This was soooo good! I have made pork tenderloin a bunch of times, probably once every few months. It never comes out “REALLY GOOD”, and it turns out that I have been cooking it all wrong! I thought you cooked it like ribs… Low and slow. So every time it came out dry I just scratched my head lol. So I finally decided to follow a recipe, and couldn’t believe I’d had it so wrong all this time. Not only is the plum sauce aaaaamazing, but the cooking technique is spot on. My tenderloin was so juicy and tender and delicious. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I have tons of the sauce left over and I can’t wait to use it on other things,many give sme to my best friend. Yum.
I love all the tenderloins that you do. It has become a staple for our family. I can’t wait to try this one.
That plum sauce sounds really good!
For anyone thinking about trying this: do it! My hubby loved it and so did the kids (without the extra sauce on top, it was too spicy for them).
The leftovers re-heated in the oven (same temp for 15 minutes) and were still wonderful (and not dry at all).
It also made me feel like an amazing cook! Thanks for the recipe!
This is the best recipe! My family loves it, even though we were suspicious about it at first. Making this for the second time this week…..i made 1/2 for a friend, who is a cook and she absolutely loved it – but was told by my son, not to share it…. he didn’t get enough! Wonderful next day (more heat).
Do you think this sauce would freeze well? I am looking for yummy, easy recipes to freeze!
Yep, I bet it would freeze great!
AMAZINGly good! I made the sauce ahead of time so it was easy to make.
Made this last night and it was so good! The flavors were so complex and interesting – my hubby said it reminded him of BbQ sauce. We only managed to eat 1 of the pork loins, so instead of reheating the second one and risking it turning out dry, I think I’m going to put the roast and the rest of the sauce into the crockpot all day and then shred it up and serve it on rolls, kinda like barbeque pork.
Made this last night–big hit! The plum sauce is excellent. I suggested putting it on ice cream–got a few strange looks from my family, lol.
I made this recipe tonight and the entire family loved it!
Your homemade plum sauce looks mouth watering!
This looks so delicious! It’s incredible how well plums go with Pork. I’m looking forward to trying this out! (And finding ways to trick my children into trying this out!)
I got a bag of plums from a neighbor, and this fits the bill perfect for what to make with them!
I love the color of your nail polish! That being said, I wish I had a neighbor with a plum tree so I could be a polite-mooching-neighbor like you. I guess I’ll have to do this the traditional way and buy plums at the store. Like Lisa said, my mouth is watering just reading this!
Oh this looks good. I can almost smell it cooking. Unfortunately, hubby doesn’t like sweet fruit mixed with meat… but I’m saving the recipe anyway. 🙂
My mouth is watering just reading this!! Yum!! Great idea for the pork I just bought!
My 4 year old is drooling and saying ummm…..that looks good mommy! I’d have to agree. I’ve got to give this a try. I love the combination of flavors.
Your photos make the food jump off the screen– looks great! I’ve recently made plum jam and hoped it would pair well with pork or chicken. Your recipe will give me the confidence to try it, thanks!
Yum! This looks delicious.
I am also so jealous of all those people with pretty gardens and fruit trees! I did chicken with an amazing blueberry barbeque sauce earlier this summer and one of my favorite bbq joints from back home does an awesome spicy blackberry barbeque sauce on their beef ribs but I would have never thought to use plums. I can’t wait to try this!