Cherry Teriyaki, Cherry Teriyaki, Cherry Teriyaki - say it three times! It's that good. Grilled cherry teriyaki skewers are an easy and flavorful dinner. A spin on teriyaki, this marinade combines the sweetness of cherries along with the saltiness of soy sauce. But grilling makes it better!
On hot summer days, we try to make it to the beach. After parking the car, there is a small walk to the sand. While it is a short hop to reach the beach, it sometimes takes us a little while. Many people get to the beach early with the intention of spending the day relaxing, swimming, and eating. There are elaborate set-ups with hammocks, volleyball nets, and large tables laden with food. Extended families are the norm, with all generations lending a hand. Usually, someone is working a grill. This is what gets me all the time. I can see the flames in the grill flare up and smell the meat caramelizing. I can smell the marinades. As a result, my pace slows as I watch and want to know what smells so good. I want to join their party! It gets me every time. That hotdog from the beach house isn't going to cut it now!
Sweet cherries for a savory marinade
This recipe is to recreate that sensory experience on the beach. Fresh, juicy cherries are such a treat in the summer. While they are often used in desserts, their flavor is a great contrast to salty soy sauce. Opposites attract!
The marinade includes garlic, ginger, and brown sugar to accentuate the salty/sweet nature of teriyaki. Because of the brown sugar in the marinade, it will reduce and slightly thicken as it cooks. As a result, the sauce will be like an edible lacquer emphasizing the cherry flavor.
I have used it three ways in the recipe - as a marinade for the pork tenderloin, as a thick sauce brushed on the skewers while grilling and as a dipping sauce on the side when served. While I have used pork tenderloin in this recipe, I would definitely give beef or chicken a try. Using a grill pan on the stove, the skewers cooked quickly. You could also use a broiler or cook them outside on a grill. Just be careful the fire doesn't flare-up.
To complement the grilled cherry teriyaki skewers I served a cool and crisp cucumber salad and grilled potatoes. But any summer vegetables would be tasty as a side.
Now I don't have to go to the beach for all the smells!
Grilled Cherry Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin Skewers
- Skewers for the pork tenderloin. Because I used bamboo skewers, I made sure to soak them in water while I prepped the recipe.
- 1 ½ cups cherries pitted
- 3 slices ginger peeled
- ½ teaspoon garlic minced
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper ground
- 1 ½ pounds pork tenderloin
- Add the cherries, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and black pepper to a blender. Mix until everything has been pureed. Makes 2 ⅛ cups.
Cherry Teriyaki Skewers
- I used two pork tenderloins that were each about ¾ of a pound. Trim any silver skin or extra fat from the pork tenderloin. Cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each half into thin strips. Put the strips in a zip lock bag and add ½ of the cherry teriyaki. Zipper the bag shut and set aside to wait for the meat to marinate, about 45 minutes
- Add the second half of the marinade in a small pan. Simmer over medium heat until the teriyaki begins to thicken. Don't walk away from it. The sugar in the teriyaki can burn quickly. Continue to stir for approximately 5-7 minutes until the teriyaki will coat the back of a spoon and is thick. Separate this marinade in half also - some will be used to brush the cooking skewers and some will be used for dipping.
- Once the meat has marinated for 45 minutes, thread the pork onto the skewers. You can cook these on a grill, on the stove using a grill pan or under a broiler. I used a cast iron grill pan on top of the stove with medium-high heat. Make sure to brush the pan with vegetable oil so that the meat does not stick.
- Once the pan is very hot, add the skewers. Brush the thickened marinade on the skewer. Grill for about 2 minutes then flip. Again brush on the thickened marinade. After 2 minutes, flip the skewer so that it is sauce side down. Grill for 2 more minutes. Check for doneness. If you prefer the pork to be more well done, keep brushing with the sauce and flipping the skewer on the grill pan. Continue with the remaining skewers until all are grilled. Serve with the remaining thickened teriyaki sauce for dipping.