- 1 pork tenderloin
- 6 strips of bacon
- 6 teaspoons margarine
- 8 Tbs brown sugar
- 3 Tbs kosher salt
- 1 Tbs chili powder
- 1 Tbs lemon pepper seasoning
I cooked this for a few friends over the weekend and thought it was interesting enough to share. The quantity of dry rub (sugar, salt, chili powder, lemon pepper) will be way more than you need for a single pork tenderloin but it keeps well and is great on ribs and chicken so you can use the rest later on. This is a very sweet rub that pairs up pretty nice with the salty bacon.
Start by removing the silverskin from the tenderloin and cutting it into six medallions. Wrap each medallion with a strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. I’m just kidding! It’s a little trickier than that!
Wrapping things in bacon (shrimp, chicken, jalapenos, etc) used to give me fits as the bacon never got crispy at the same time that the food it is wrapped around was done cooking. Let me share a few tips that have helped me get a little better at this whole “bacon wrapped” thing.
First off, you have to let go of the expectation that the bacon needs to be crispy. Bacon that needs to be cut with a knife and fork is still delicious. If you absolutely must have a “crunch factor” then go eat a cracker. Secondly, use cheap bacon for wrapping. The cheaper bacon is usually cut very thin which is actually a good thing for us. The thick cut (slab cut) bacons are hard to use as a wrapper and make the whole “not crisp” thing even worse. I typically will not use a whole strip of bacon per tenderloin. I like to have a single wrap of bacon as bacon that gets covered up by more bacon will not only not crisp but will have a pale and unappetizing appearance. This last tip comes from the National Pork Board which recommends blanching your bacon for two minutes before you use it to wrap the pork tenderloin. I wish I could tell you why blanching makes the bacon crisp up better but I really have no clue.
Okay, now you have your tenderloin cut into medallions and wrapped in bacon. I season both sides liberally with the dry rub and place the pieces on a rack in a foil lined baking dish. I use this setup because the foil makes cleanup a breeze while the rack keeps the bottoms of the tenderloin pieces from stewing in bacon fat and losing the rub.
I place the bacon wrapped tenderloins into a preheated 350 oven for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes I didn’t measure an internal temperature but the pork was probably near the point that I would have called done. However I wanted the bacon to cook a bit more so I used a trick from some barbeque pros and added a little over a teaspoon of margarine to the top of each medallion and slid the pan back into the oven for another fifteen minutes. As the margarine melted it added some flavor while keeping the tenderloin from drying out.
After 35-40 minutes total cooking time these guys were done and turned out great. They looked and tasted spectacular. I served these up on top of some mashed potatoes. I know I should have a green vegetable on there also but, dang it, I didn’t want to!
Let me add a quick note about the dry rub recipe at the top of this post. The rub comes from Alton Brown of “Good Eats” fame and is excellent on baby back ribs as well as pork tenderloin. I use this rub on a regular basis but did not for the pictures in this post. I actually used a commercial rub called Simply Marvelous Sweet Seduction. This is a dry rub I had been itching to try and it worked great. Both the Sweet Seduction and the Alton Brown rubs are very sweet with a little bit of salty which the profile you need for this recipe. I included the Alton Brown rub recipe as it is easy to make at home. If you would like to try some Sweet Seduction it can be ordered here.