The Ranting Chef wins Chopped! (home version)

Several years ago I went through a phase of watching a lot of the Food Network.

  • Iron Chef was my favorite. There was drama, good cooking and lots of tips that I could pick up.
  • Good Eats – Alton Brown’s masterpiece of oddball comedy, science and cooking.
  • The Next Food Network Star – I was able to put myself in their place and wonder how I would do.
  • Finally, Chopped!

For those unfamiliar with Chopped!, the contestants receive a basket of ingredients and they have to make an appetizer including all of the ingredients. Often the ingredients were unusual or would not be commonly paired together. The judges evaluate the food (taste, originality and presentation) and one of the four contestants gets cut at the end of the round. Then on to the main dish with a new basket of goodies. Finally, dessert.

About this time I was trying a number of different recipes, but wanted to branch out even more. I set up my own version of Chopped! at home. Between my wife and two boys one of them selected a meat (yes I am a carnivore!), another selected a fruit or vegetable and the last picked a spice or seasoning. Unlike the contestants on TV, I was not working against the clock and I had use of the Internet for recipes.

I think the first choice was chicken (nothing original there), mango and allspice. I made kabobs from ground chicken spiced with the allspice and served with a mango salsa. It was passable at best. I would have been lucky to move on.

The second round was pork (again, not branching out much), blackberries and barbecue. I found a recipe online for grilled pork loin with a blackberry barbecue sauce. I made it and prepared for a similar nondescript tasting. WOW! It was awesome. In fact, they family thought it was one of the best things I had ever made on a grill. (I still love the Diablo Shrimp, but this is up there) With this recipe alone, I won the challenge.

Sweet and tangy.

There are a lot of ingredients.

I actually made tenderloins (vs loin) and as there was more surface area, I doubled the spice rub. Good coverage is important in a rub.

Ready to go.

Look at that beautiful sear.

I also used double the number of fresh blackberries in the sauce. Don’t skimp on the sauce.

Served with white asparagus (spargel) and grilled zucchini and yellow squash.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry BBQ Sauce


Grilled Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 (2-3-lb.) tenderloin
  • 1 tbsp. granulated garlic
  • 2 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Blackberry Bar-B-Q Sauce

  • 1/2 cup blackberry preserves
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/8 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry BBQ Sauce

In a small nonporous mixing bowl, combine garlic powder, ground black pepper, salt, mustard powder, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, paprika and dried oregano. Mix well. Sprinkle tenderloin with mixture and rub in spices. Let rubbed meat sit at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Light grill. Cook tenderloin, turning once half way through cooking. Remove when the internal temperature reaches 128ºF for rare to 150ºF for well done. When the pork is almost done, brush Blackberry BBQ Sauce over the meat.

Blackberry Bar-B-Q Sauce

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well.

Brush over grilled pork tenderloin, pork chops or ribs when they are almost done (128ºF for rare to 150ºF for well done).


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Fruit, Grilled, Main Dish, Pork, Recipes

Author:The Ranting Chef

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62 Comments on “The Ranting Chef wins Chopped! (home version)”

  1. May 3, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I love it. My family watches (too much) Food Network as well. I’m thinking that a Chopped dinner party would be a really fun idea! Hmmmm … who will my victims be? LOL


  2. May 3, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I love this! We used to watch a ton of Chopped back when we had cable. Love that show!


  3. May 3, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    I love the idea of an at home Chopped challenge involving family! Sometimes, when I haven’t been to the grocery store in a while I must make a dinner out of random objects in the cupboard, I feel like it’s my own personal Chopped challenge 🙂


  4. momseyeview
    May 3, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Great idea!


  5. May 3, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Chopped is our family’s favorite program! Great Idea!


  6. May 3, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    The blackberry barbecue sauce is intriguing. I’m sure it was perfect with the pork.


  7. May 3, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Used the internet? But that’s cheating 🙂


  8. jmwreviews
    May 3, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    This sounds great. I will be hard pressed to use something than my own BBQ sauce recipe but I think I will make an exception this time.


  9. May 3, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    What a unique yet great idea! I LOVE Chopped… The ingredients on there are so disjointed that it’s amazing that anyone can make something delicious- let alone edible- from the basket… And your pork looks great! I’m halfway tempted to bring this home-Chopped version among my friends this summer in New York! Thanks for the inspiration!


  10. May 3, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    I love Chopped!


  11. May 3, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Gold star to you!


  12. May 3, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    What date was this episode aired, so I can see you- I have most of Chopped recorded!


  13. May 3, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I want dinner at your house! Everything always looks so good.


  14. May 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Yum! When it ever stops raining in England I think I might give this one a try!


  15. May 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Cupcake wars all the way 😉


  16. May 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Congratulations on the win! You should try out for the show. It seems like they are always holding auditions here in Chicago. Check out Craigslist.

    Btw: Everytime I cook, I imagine myself giving a demo to an audience on a TV show. Your recipe looks great! Can’t wait to try that sauce ….


  17. May 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Great post. And you won! I love winning!


  18. May 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm #



  19. May 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Congrats on the “win”! The meat looks delicious- we’ll give that a try here. One thing, though: “serves 8”. That would be “8” what? Elves? Really Pat- if I only made a 2-3lb tenderloin for the family it would be 1/2 to the hubby, the other half gobbled up by the (3 out of 4) kids who are carnivorous. I’d be gnawing on asparagus. We’ll have to double it and hide the leftovers from our sweet-beggin-eyed dogs.


  20. May 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I think I’m addicted to Chopped. I always watch a reruns no matter how many times I have seen it before 🙂
    Your Chopped version sounds like a real fun 🙂


  21. May 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm #



  22. May 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Around my house we watch all those shows like sports. Fun to read yoiur stuff.


  23. P.S. I Love Soap Co.
    May 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm #



  24. May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    There should be a food blogger version of chopped! I would love to try that!


  25. May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    That sounds so yummy!


  26. May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    What a fantastic game, and to come up with such a lovely recipe too, we are having pork tonight too, i might do something like this! yum.. c


  27. May 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    While pork husbandry and farming has become quite cleaner than it was 30 years ago, I still get very concerned when someone recommends eating pork rare. Pork should have no pink in it and should be cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees F.


  28. May 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Blackberry BBQ sauce sounds so good!! I want!


  29. May 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    How fun is this! I love a good food challenge…bring on the summer vegetable excess!


  30. 1clevergirl
    May 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Love the sounds of this recipe! We bought a smoker last year, so I’m wondering how the sauce would do on a smoked tenderloin using some apple chips, maybe. Another thought for your “Chopped” home version: Put your typical meats, fruits/veggies, and seasonings onto slips of paper, then put them each in respective bowls/hats. YOU draw one of each and your surprise might be even bigger than what the family comes up with! Love the idea. Not brave enough to try it …


  31. May 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Chopped! is my fave! This sounds and looks delicious 🙂


  32. May 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Congratulations! And thank you for stopping by my site. I was really thrilled to find yours: I really do appreciate the recipe categories, as another blogger posted. I am trying to be creative in avoiding gallbladder surgery so that you have a plethora of great vegan and veggie recipes is much appreciated. Being Irish-American, I can also live vicariously through your recipes, even if I can’t eat them all.


  33. Reblogged this on Low Carb Recipes – Carb Backloading and commented:
    Step by step recipes with pictures. How great is that!


  34. May 3, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Great idea!!I’m thinking about reblogging it..


  35. May 4, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    I’m a huge food network addict! Iron chef is my favorite too! It amazes me what they are able to come up with in a short amount of time. I would LOVE to be a judge on that show… not that it’s likely to happen.. wishful thinking 🙂

    This pork looks A-Mazing! Can’t wait to try it since the blackberries in my backyard will be ready in the next couple of weeks!


  36. May 4, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Can you find white corn syrup in the typical grocery store?


  37. calmyourbeans
    May 4, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Reblogged this on calmyourbeans.


  38. May 4, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Blackberry bar-b-que sauce, I’ve never thought of it, but that will be what I try on either ribs or pork roast when the family is here for dinner next week. I’m so enjoying your posts.


  39. May 4, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    What a great idea! Might have to try that at home with my husband (who is the “chef” of the house). He often asks me what I “feel” like for dinner – I’ll say “something citrusy” or “chicken” and he’ll go from there. I like the idea of a Chopped at home! 🙂 thanks for sharing!


  40. A Budding Chef
    May 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    I absolutely adore watching Chopped when it’s on! My mate and I love to try and pick out the winner and I love watching them be creative in the time given with the ingredients given! Your meal looks absolutely delicious! By the way, I’m passing on the Kreativ Blogging award to you (you might have already gotten it, who knows?) and the post is here: Thanks much for sharing all the delicious food!


  41. erinina
    May 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Wow, sounds delicious! My bf loves to cook and I often feel pretty useless…aka spoiled just sitting there keeping him company. Now I have a great idea for my participation. I can pick the ingredients and challenge him! Thanks!


  42. May 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    What a great idea! Add them in AT THE END! Why didn’t I think of that? I love it!


  43. May 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    The grilled zucchini on the plate looks amazing. Nice plating. Chopped is one of my new favorite shows. As much as I like to cook, I don’t think I am adventurous enough to pair unusual ingredients the way the chefs do on that show. Good job on the dishes you prepared.


  44. May 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I think you just took the the thoughts right out of my head! Your show choices and way of thinking is so similar to mine!


  45. May 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Ha. Sometimes I feel like I’m on Chopped when I open the fridge! And we have the same favorite Food Network shows. I especially like Alton Brown.


  46. Nicole Brait
    May 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Looks so good I wish I had the time to make it this week but I think it will have to wait. Maybe I can talk my husband into doing it. He’s a better cook than I am anyway!


  47. May 9, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Just wanted to say that I made this last night (with pork chops instead of tenderloin) and it was great! I would have never thought to use blackberries in a BBQ sauce, but the sauce was perfect with the pork. Nice and spicy, too. Thanks to you and razzledazzlerecipes for sharing…it’s a keeper!


  48. May 10, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    My brother and I played a similar game with even more unlikely ingredients that we called “Bet you can’t eat this!”
    Care for a kippered herring peanut butter malt? Yeah, me neither…


  49. May 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Chopped is my favorite show. I love seeing what the chefs create on the fly.


  50. August 21, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I have to try this! We love grilling. I love pork tenderloin and adore blackberries. The sauce sounds delectable.


  51. August 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Great idea…I like to take the same approach, only with leftovers. They are my own personal perpetual ‘chopped challenge’


  52. September 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    I’ve been doing my own “Chopped Challenge Thursdays” allowing my Blog followers to choose the 4 ingredients in my “mystery basket”, so much fun!


  53. blowingoffsteamandmore
    November 28, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    YUM! Pinning this one.


  54. blowingoffsteamandmore
    January 5, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Just wanted to let you know that I am making this next week. I’ll be back with the verdict!


  55. blowingoffsteamandmore
    January 9, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    Made it, changed it slightly by removing some spice so the kids would eat it (I also wanted to use my blackberry balsamic vinegar in the sauce) but it was a HUGE success!! Thank you for the inspiration!!!



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