Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Peach Preserves

These bacon wrapped and peach glazed pork tenderloin medallions were just about as simple as it gets.  I really wish I had a good story to go along with this recipe just to make it interesting to read.  Alas, I all have is a really simple but impressive looking recipe.

Peach Glazed Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

I found some individual serving bacon wrapped pork tenderloin medallions by Farmland.  They come with an ugly blue plastic skewer that holds the bacon in place.  I immediately pitched the plastic and replaced it with a wooden skewer.  Who in the heck wants to cook a piece of pork with a big plug of plastic in the middle? (This isn’t really a tenderloin but has been trimmed to look like one.)

I gave the tenderloins a light dusting of salt, pepper, and brown sugar then placed them on a baking rack over a foil lined baking sheet.  They went into a 425F oven for 20 minutes.  At this point I broke out a jar of peach preserves and melted about ¾ of a cup of the preserves in a saucepan.

I glazed the medallions with the liquefied peach preserves and let them cook for another 5-7 minutes while the glaze set.  The tenderloins had an internal temperature of 155F at this point so I called them done!  As always, do not go exclusively by my time and temperature as no two ovens are the same. Go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

I snapped a few pictures and then tore into these with my kids.  They really do look impressive and the combination of peach and pork is always a winner.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with an Apricot Glaze

This was super simple, looked impressive and tasted great.  Went great with a little potato salad.

Apricot Glazed Pork TenderloinThe pork tenderloin was brined overnight (1 pint water, 2 Tbls kosher salt, 3 Tbls brown sugar), dried off and cooked on a hot grill with direct heat.  I didn’t add a rub…naked grilling going on here!  I let the tenderloin warm in the kitchen for about fifteen minutes before I started grilling so it didn’t take too long to finish grilling, about twenty minutes total.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the tenderloin hit an internal temperature of 135F I started glazing it with a mix or apricot preserves and Dijon mustard.  I used a cup of preserves and a tablespoon of Dijon and heated it in a saucepan until the preserves liquified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep an eye on the tenderloin after it gets glazed.  You need to grill long enough to let the glaze set but not long enough that the sugars burn.  Turn and glaze as needed and pull at an internal temperature of 145F.  As always, don’t guess on how long to cook this, go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

Fun, pretty and tasty!

Baked Pork Tenderloin with a Soy Marinade

This was another very tasty tenderloin that I cooked a few weeks ago.  There really isn’t anything remarkable about the recipe; it is a nice solid go-to sort of thing.  The main reason I am posting this one is to highlight one of the favorite things in my kitchen right now, a tube of pre-minced ginger!  I also wanted to get a picture of this guy up here as it shows you can get a beautiful crust by simply baking; no need for searing in a pan, firing up a grill or any of that stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The marinade

  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbls brown sugar
  • 1 Tbls garlic
  • 1 Tbls ginger
  • 1 tsp chili powder

The tenderloin was marinated for four hours…..

……. and then baked at 425 for 35 minutes.  I wasn’t paying very close attention and overcooked this one (internal temp was 167F).  The salt in the marinade did a little brining here so it still was juicy, it was just dullish gray on the inside instead of the pink that I shoot for.  As always, don’t guess on how long to cook this, go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

And by the way, this marinade is super easy if you can find the pre-minced ginger in your store.  This stuff is incredibly easy and super fresh.  You will be putting ginger in everything!!

I sliced this guy up and served with some coleslaw.  Like I said, nothing spectacular here, just a nice solid go-to recipe.

 

Baked Pork Tenderloin with an Agave and Ginger Marinade

But first a picture of something I think is beautiful.  It tastes just like a white cauliflower but is so much prettier.

purple cauliflower

I have been playing around with agave nectar for the past few weeks as a substitute for honey.  I’ve noticed that quite a few competitive bbq teams are using agave nectar in their sauces and marinades and I just wanted to get a feel for the latest trendy ingredient.

For the record, this combination of marinade and rub is pretty danged good.

The Marinade

  • 2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs fresh minced ginger
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 pint water

The Dry Rub

  • 3 Tbs turbinado sugar
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder

The pork tenderloin (with the silverskin removed) was marinated overnight in the refrigerator.  I took it out of the refrigerator, dried it off and let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes while I picked up my kid from basketball practice (again).  Before I headed out the door I set the oven to 425F so it would be hot by the time I got back.  When I got back I threw the tenderloin in the oven and let it bake for 35-40 minutes until an internal temperature of 149F was reached.  Do not go exclusively by my time and temperature as no two ovens are the same. Go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

While the tenderloin was finishing I grilled up some portabella mushrooms and steamed the florets from a head of purple cauliflower.   I seasoned the mushrooms with some salt, pepper and paprika and cooked them in my grill pan with a little butter.  I love grilled mushrooms and a grill pan is so much easier than firing up my big Weber.  If you are interested in grill pans then I can recommend this oneor this one. Both are excellent.

Here is what it looked like in the end.  I promise that the cauliflower was really purple when I took the picture.  For some reason it came out as a somewhat lifeless blue…of well, you can only do so much when you are using your phone as a camera!  As I mentioned earlier, this was delicious!  As far as agave nectar nectar compared to honey…honestly I couldn’t tell that much of a difference in the final product.

Pork tenderloin with agave ginger marinade

Pineapple Habanero Jerk Marinade for Pork Tenderloin

Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Rice Salad

The Marinade

  • ½ cup Jerk Pineapple Habanero BBQ Bath Brine Concentrate (Sweetwater Spice Company)
  • ½ cup water

Combine the BBQ bath and water in a 1 gallon Zip-Lock bag.  Add a tenderloin (silverskin removed) to the bag, expel as much air as possible, seal the bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for four hours.  The label instructions say 45 minutes but I found I had to go longer to get the flavor I was going after.

I saw this product at the store the other day and was flat out intrigued.  The packaging almost seemed too pretty for a habanero based marinade coming out of Texas.  Don’t worry about the habanero part..there is some heat here but my kids didn’t mind.

The Rice Salad

  • ½ of a large red onion, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced.
  • 3 Tbls olive oil
  • 4 Tbls red wine vinegar
  • 1 quart cooked white rice (leftover from Chinese takeout works great!)
  • Salt to taste (~1 tsp)

Add the onion to the red wine vinegar and microwave for 45 seconds.  Allow the onions to steep in the vinegar for about 15 minutes.  This pickles the onions and takes away the “rawness”.  I can’t stand the texture of raw onions but love them when they are slightly pickled.  Mix everything together and serve at room temperature or chilled.

I took the tenderloin out of the marinade and let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes while I picked up my girl from basketball practice.  I decided to mix things up a little bit and grill this tenderloin indoors with a grill pan.  Anytime you are grilling you need to let the meat warm up a little.  This helps it cook evenly and aids in getting killer grill marks.  If you are interested in grill pans then I can recommend this one or this one.  Both are excellent.

I sprayed the grill pan with a little Pam and heated it over medium-low heat for about five minutes.  There is no need to ever use high heat with a grill pan; all you will do is burn the outside of the meat and leave the inside undercooked.

I grilled the tenderloin for thirty three minutes, turning it to a different side every sixth minute.  I pulled it when it hit an internal temperature of 148F.  During the last 10 minutes I basted the tenderloin with some melted butter to give it a beautiful sheen.  Do not go exclusively by my grilling time. Go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

 

It is ridiculous how pretty this guy turned out!  Luckily it also tasted as good as it looked.  The flavor from the marinade was delightfully complex (I can’t believe I just used that phrase) with just a little heat.

Grilled Jerk Pork Tenderloin

Again, the instructions indicate that you only need to let this marinate for about 45 minutes but I found that I needed to go quite a bit longer.  Four hours seems about right.  I found this product at Whole Foods.  If you don’t have a Whole Foods in your area you can get the marinade online here.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms, Blue Cheese and Bacon

This weekend was a holiday and since I had the time I went a little over the top with this guy.

Stuffed pork tenderloin

The stuffing

  • 8 oz portabella mushrooms
  • 3 oz blue cheese
  • 4 strips of cooked bacon

I gave the mushrooms a rough chop and cooked them down with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  The mushrooms cooked for about ten minutes on medium low heat and got a stir every few minutes.  They smelled so good I dang near decided to eat them straight out of the pan!

The cooked mushrooms went into the freezer to cool while I trimmed the tenderloin (brined overnight) and flattened it out. I spread the mushrooms over the pork then added the blue cheese and bacon pieces.

Flattened pork tenderloin

The tenderloin got rolled back up, tied with twine and received a generous coat of dry rub.

The dry rub

  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp granulated onion
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp turbinado sugar

    Pork tenderloin rub
    Of course you will need to mix it up first!

 

I fired up my Weber grill using indirect high heat (you could also do this in the oven, 425F for 30 minutes).  I was using Kingsford charcoal and a small split of maple.  If you are in the market for a great charcoal grill then I highly recommend the Weber Platinum.  I love my Weber kettle and it is worth every penny.

 

Tenderloin on a Weber kettle
I love my Weber.

 

The thermometer on the lid said I was cooking at a little over 400F.  After 15 minutes I rotated the grate by 180 degrees so that the other side of the tenderloin was facing the hot coals.  I let the tenderloin cook for another 15 minutes, checked the internal temperature (130F), and rotated the grate again.  After 35-40 minutes I hit an internal temperature of 155F and pulled this guy off the grill.  Do not go by my time and temperature as no two grills are the same. Go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

Done!!

What can I say?  This was awesome!  Salty and sweet smoked pork is great by itself.  Add in some sautéed mushrooms, blue cheese and bacon and you have something that is just ridiculous.  Did I mention that I love my grill?


Baked Pork Tenderloin with a Honey Mustard Marinade

Here is another good way to cook a tenderloin; baked with an herbed honey mustard marinade.

Baked pork tenderloin with a honey mustard marinade.

The marinade:

  • 2 Tbls honey
  • 2 Tbls Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 Tbls red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning (dried marjoram, oregeno, etc)
  • 3 Tbls water

I pulsed the marinade with my hand blender to get everything incorporated.  I added the marinade and a pork tenderloin that had been trimmed of its silverskin to a one gallon Zip-Lock bag and let it rest in the refrigerator.  Things got crazy at my house and I ended up letting the pork rest in the marinade for almost two days.

I took the tenderloin out of the refigerator and let it warm on the counter while I heated the oven to 425F.  The pork baked for 35 minutes until an internal temperature of 146F was reached.  Do not go by my time and temperature as no two ovens are the same. Go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

The tenderloin was rested for five minutes then sliced into medalions.  It was pink, juicy and just about perfect.  And yes, pink pork is safe to eat.

One of the problems with marinades is that they do not fully penetrate the meat.  Even though this guy marinated for two days it still lacked the “punch” I was looking for.  Some people suggest opening the tenderloin up with a butterfly cut before you start the marinade to help the flavor get all the way into the meat.

I went ahead and made up another batch of honey mustard sauced and drizzled it on the pork.  I like my honey mustard with a little twang which is why I include some red wine vinegar.  The sauce and pork went great with some leftover white rice.

If you are interested in other pork tenderloin marinades I have some listed in the linked post.


 

Baked Pork Tenderloin Coffee Rubbed and Hunky Brined

Pork tenderloin with coffee dry rub
Coffee and Ancho

One of the fun things about pork tenderloins is that you get two in a pack. This lets you make two different recipes at once if you are experimentally inclined.

 

For the brine:

I have a friend up in Michigan who sells some great brine mixes and dry rubs under the Mad Hunky brand name. He recently developed a brine specifically for pork which was used for these tenderloins. I made up a quart of the brine and let the tenderloins soak in the refrigerator for six hours.

Coffee Ancho and Smoked Paprika

For the dry rubs:
I used two very different dry rubs and was delighted with both; my favorite was the coffee rub.

Coffee and Ancho rub

  •  3 Tbs coffee (grind the beans)
  • 2 Tbs ancho chile powder
  • 2 Tbs turbinado sugar
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic

Savory Smoked Paprika rub
This rub is my attempt at something similar to the Mad Hunky dry rub. The Mad Hunky product uses some spectacular smoked paprika and is highly recommended.

  •  1 Tbs Smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

 

The rubbed tenderloins were wrapped in plastic and put back in the refrigerator for an hour.

I baked these in a 350F oven for 40 minutes until an internal temperature of 147 was reached. Do not go by my time and temperature as no two ovens are the same. Go by the internal temperature of the tenderloin. If you don’t have a good digital thermometer then buy one now. This one is good, this one is better.

If you look at the tenderloin with the paprika rub you can see where it split open in a couple of spots. That guy was literally bursting with flavor.


The tenderloins got sliced up and served side by side. Both of them were incredibly juicy and fall apart tender. The brine did an excellent job.


Both of the rubs worked very well with the pork but the coffee rub was simply spectacular. This recipe is going in my “keeper” box!  If you need a brine to use tonight then here are a few that you can whip up yourself. If you are planning ahead then you might want to give the Mad Hunky a visit. It never hurts to have a pantry stocked with a ready made brine mix.

Pork Tenderloin Marinades

A great pork tenderloin marinade is as follows:

  • ½ cup of Jack Daniels
  • ½ cup of canola oil
  • ½ cup Creole mustard
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp each of salt, black pepper and thyme

If you are wary of a marinade with such a strong alcohol component then the next marinade is an excellent alternative.

  • ¼ lb melted butter
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ of a small onion, diced (between ¼ and ½ cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp each of salt, black pepper and thyme

For all marinades make sure all components are well blended (dissolved where applicable) and allow the tenderloin to marinated at least four hours in the refrigerator with overnight being preferable.  Please note…marinades do not penetrate very deeply into the tenderloin.  To get the most benefit from the marinade it is sugested to butterfly the tenderloin before marination so as much surface area is exposed as possible.

Here are a few more good pork tenderloin marinades to try.

Teriyaki Marinade:  You will find a ton of variations on this recipe but what they all have in common is a base of soy sauce with some sweetness added to balance out the salt.  Typically there are some aromatics like onion, garlic and ginger thrown in to make it interesting.    A typical marinade time is four to six hours.  If you plan on marinating overnight you probably want to use a reduced sodium soy sauce to keep the meat from becoming too salty.  You can get some interesting flavor profiles by switching things up on the sweet component.  Molasses would give a deeper flavor while pineapple juice would really brighten it up.  I do not hesitate to use maple syrup in any recipe that calls for honey.

Teriyaki Marinade #1

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Teriyaki Marinade #2

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Marinade:  There are two basic variations on this marinade but the core components in both are balsamic vinegar, olive oil and herbs.  If you are working with fresh herbs and high quality vinegar and oil I would keep things simple and stop right there.  If you need to add a little extra punch to the marinade then two additional components are typically either honey or mustard.  Obviously a honey mustard mix works pretty well!  A typical marinade time is four to six hours.  If you plan on marinating overnight you probably are okay since the balsamic has a relatively low acid content.

Balsamic vinegar and olive oil marinade #1

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 6 large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

(Feel free to use oregano and garlic as well)

Balsamic vinegar and olive oil marinade #2

1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 T Honey
3 Garlic Cloves
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 T Dijon Mustard

The honey to mustard ratio is something to play around with to suit your taste.  Feel free to omit one of the other and you will still have a great marinade.

Lemon Herb Marinade:  If you are fortunate enough to have a supply of fresh Meyer lemons then this is a marinade that has to be tried at least once.  When I use this I always reserve a portion of the fresh marinade to drizzle on the pork after it has been grilled and sliced.  Let your tenderloin marinate for four to six hours.  I would not recommend marinating overnight due to the high acidity of the lemon juice.  If you do not have fresh lemons skip this recipe; bottled lemon juice isn’t worth the time.

  • 1 lemon, zest grated
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt

Best in the World Speed Marinade:  This is one of my favorite marinades partly because of the flavor and partly because I get to play more in the kitchen.  I inject this marinade into the tenderloin with a syringe and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let it distribute throughout the meat.  I don’t have a set amount for how much I inject; as much as it takes up and every piece of meat is different.  If I had to guess I would say I inject a little over ¼ cup.

  • 1 14oz can of chicken broth (not reduced sodium)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup honey

I avoid other herbs and spices in this since they will not readily dissolve. I don’t want my injection needle to clog and I don’t want to leave streaks inside the tenderloin.  This combination of salty and savory from the broth with the sweetness of the sugars is great.  By injecting you know you will end up with a juicy piece of meat.  An added benefit is that the sugars are on the inside of the meat which means they won’t char when you are grilling.  This works equally well for chicken breasts as it does for pork tenderloins

To understand what makes a good pork tenderloin marinade it is instructive to look at the similarities between these two recipes and to consider how they are both very different from brining.  Whereas brine delivers flavor from salt water, marinades deliver flavor from oils.

There are many great flavors that compliment pork; garlic, rosemary, onions, sage, mustard, etc.  The flavor components in these ingredients are often in the form of organic molecules that are simply not soluble in water.  In order to get the essential oils from an orange peel into the pork we must first extract that flavor into the liquid phase which can then be infused into the pork.  It turns out that although oils are not very soluble in water, they are highly soluble in other oils.  Thus the inclusion of oil or a fat in all basic marinade; they serve as a “flavor transfer agent” from the aromatics into the liquid.

Once the flavor is in the oil the oil needs to interact with the tenderloin.  The tenderloin will readily absorb water but will not take up much oil.  We overcome this through the inclusion of a component that sort of looks like an oil and sort of looks like water.  In the first marinade this component is the ethyl alcohol in the Jack Daniels, in the second marinade it is the acetic acid in the cider vinegar.  These compounds are the equivalent of diplomatic intermediates whose role is to bridge the two worlds of flavor from oils with solubility in water.

Both marinade recipes include a sweet component in the form of brown sugar.  Although the sweet is not a requirement it is a nice compliment to the savory aspect of the marinade.  Another sweet component that is an EXCELLENT addition for a pork marinade is the syrup from canned peaches. This is simply an extension of the fact that pork marries extremely well with fruit such as apples, apricots and even raspberries.  Another sweet component that is a real treat with tenderloin is real maple syrup.

So the fundamental recipe for any great marinade for pork tenderloin will include the following:

  • Flavors that match well with pork (garlic, rosemary, onions, sage, mustard)
  • A way to get the flavor components into liquid form (oil will dissolve them)
  • A way to transfer the flavors from the oil into the tenderloin (alcohol or vinegar)
  • A little sweet to add some balance.

In general try to have equal amounts of oil and vinegar or oil and alcohol.  Include as much of the aromatics as you like but try not to overwhelm your tenderloin.  Unlike a brine which will penetrate to the middle of the tenderloin, most marinades will only penetrate the outer ½ inch of the meat.  You will not get the same juiciness from a marinade as you will from a brine but the flavor impact will be much greater.

There are some recipes which are a cross between a marinade and a brine such as this one:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch garlic powder

These recipes use the salt in the soy sauce to get a brined effect while still using the oil and alcohol to infuse the pork tenderloin with cinnamon, garlic and onion.

Brines

Brine is a super charged flavor delivery vehicle that can work wonders on pork.  I consider a brine to be the ultimate marinade and will always use one on tenderloin if I have planned far enough in advance.

In its most basic form a brine is simply salty water.  In order to balance out the saltiness it is common to add something sweet to the brine such as sugar, molasses or honey.  A great brine that I love to use on pork tenderloins is as follows:

  • 1 quart water
  • ¼ cup Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs maple syrup (the real stuff, not flavored high fructose corn syrup)
  • If you don’t have maple syrup on hand then substitute with 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

Stir well to make sure all of the salt dissolves then pour this into a gallon zip top plastic bag and add the tenderloin.  Place the bag into a shallow dish (in case there is a little have a hole in the bag) and let the brine do its magic while it rests in the refrigerator.   At a minimum the meat needs to brine for three hours to allow it to fully penetrate the tenderloin.  I will typically brine overnight.

This is also a great pork loin brine or pork chop brine. Brine a pork loin for at least five hours. Pork chops are usually good after two hours.  If you wanted to make a cider brined pork loin or something similar all you would need to do is replace the water in the brine recipe above with an equal amount of apple cider.

In addition to bringing flavor, salt relaxes the proteins with meat and enables them to retain moisture.  Salt helps meat stay juicy.  In order for salt to work this magic it must first dissolve and then pass through the meat via osmosis.  The beauty of a brine is that the salt is already dissolved and can start going to work immediately.  Contrast this with applying salt in a rub where the solid salt must first be dissolved by a thin layer of liquid at the meat’s surface.  Brines are also highly efficient at delivering other flavors while the salt is relaxing those proteins.

After the tenderloin has brined make sure to give it a quick rinse to remove any extra salt from the surface of the meat.  You can either go ahead and cook the tenderloin or add another layer of flavor with your favorite rub.  If you decide to add a rub make sure it is very low in salt as the meat already has all of the salt it needs.

It’s pretty easy to add variety to the brine recipe above.  You can swap the maple syrup out for brown sugar or honey.  You can add more flavors by adding a few cloves of crushed garlic or some sage leaves.  I try to avoid adding orange or lemon juice to my brines as I don’t want the meat to be in contact with acidic solutions for prolonged periods.