Hot pepper and honey have a symbiotic relationship. Each tempers the excesses of the other, forming a partnership that is far more palatable than either can claim on its own. Habanero has the added effect of being so fiery that its aftereffect on the tongue is actually cooling. This happens more or less with all chiles. When capsaicin hits the tongue it damages surface tissue, causing the tongue to become more sensitive to its environment, in the same way that a cut on a finger makes you more aware of anything you touch. When you breathe in after eating chiles, especially strong ones like habanero, the sensitized skin on your tongue senses the flow of air through the mouth, which would normally have gone unnoticed, resulting in the feeling that the tongue is being fanned and cooled.
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: About 10 minutes.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Four 15-inch metal skewers, preferably flat or square
– Long-handled tongs
– Long-handled basting brush.
– If you don’t have garlic-flavored oil, substitute a similar amount of vegetable oil and ¼ teaspoon minced garlic.
– You can reduce the heat by substituting a milder chile for the habanero.
– You can alternate pieces of fruit, like pineapple or apple, with the pork.
– Serve with yogurt or sour cream to help soothe the palate.
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (425° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon habanero chile powder
¼ cup Cuervo Gold tequila
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ pounds boneless center-cut pork loin, cut into 2-inch chunks (about 20 chunks)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic-flavored oil
Oil for coating grill grate.
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Mix the honey, habanero powder, tequila, and 2½ teaspoons kosher salt in a small bowl; set aside.
3. Season the pork with the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt and the pepper, and toss with the garlic-flavored oil.
4. Skewer the pork, being careful to leave a little space between the pieces.
5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the prepared skewers on the grill and cook until the pork is browned on all sides and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Use tongs to grip the end of each skewer and rotate it a quarter turn after 3 minutes and then every 2 minutes after that; do not over-cook. Brush with the honey mixture during the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking.
6. Serve drizzled with the remaining honey mixture.