Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

This is a showstopper of a dinner entree, but it does involve getting your "crafty on" by basket-weaving bacon. Okay, I know that sounds complicated, but I am positive that everyone can do it =)

The key to success with this recipe is to par-cook the bacon. Skipping this step will result in overcooked pork tenderloin and limp, chewy and under-cooked bacon. Neither of which sound good to me! Follow my tips below and all of your dinner guests (or just you), will be thrilled with this yummy recipe.

bacon wrapped pork tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin, ~1 lb.
  • 10 pieces of thick cut bacon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 F. On a microwave safe plate or dish, place 2 sheets of paper towels and lay out your thick cut bacon into a single layer. You may need to do this in two batches. Cover bacon with 2 more sheets of paper towels and microwave on high for 1 minutes. Flip the entire bacon/paper towel packet. Microwave on high for another minute. Flip and microwave 1-2 more times, or until the bacon is half-cooked.

While the bacon cools, prepare the pork tenderloin. With a sharp knife, remove the silver skin (here's Fine Cooking's video tutorial: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-trim-tenderloin.aspx). Stir together the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and evenly cover the pork tenderloin.

Thick cut bacon would have given me better structure in my first attempt at a BACON BASKET-WEAVE!

Thick cut bacon would have given me better structure in my first attempt at a BACON BASKET-WEAVE!

On the parchment-lined sheet pan, lay out 5 pieces of par-cooked bacon vertically, directly next to it's neighbor. Fold EVERY OTHER piece of bacon in half. Lay one strip of bacon horizontally, butted up tightly against the folded seam, and unfold the previously folded bacon strips. For the next set, fold the opposite EVERY OTHER piece of bacon in half and repeat the horizontal piece. Repeat the process until you have used all 5 horizontal strips. You should have a relatively even square bacon basket-weave.

Place the seasoned pork tenderloin on the edge of the square and tightly roll the weave around the meat. Secure with 2-3 toothpicks, or place the seam side down to secure. Roast the tenderloin for 15-20 minutes, checking the internal temperature at the 15 minute mark. Pull the pork as soon as it hits 145 F. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy your masterpiece.

The finished product enjoying a bit of a rest.

The finished product enjoying a bit of a rest.

Bacon Pecan Brittle

Over Christmas I made batch after batch of my salted pistachio brittle. It's truly awesome candy, but could the flavor combo be improved? Cue the bacon grease and luscious pecans. The bacon flavor is subtle. The pecans add a soft textural element that the harder pistachios didn't. It's a winner in our house. 

The original recipe comes from Bon Appetit. Use it as your base recipe to launch into different flavors. Our next combination will involve cayenne and spiced pecans!

bacon pecan brittle

Bacon Pecan Brittle

serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Coarse sea salt (such as fleur de sel or sel gris)

Special Equipment

  • A candy thermometer

Directions

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat; set aside.

Mix the sugar, corn syrup, and 3 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Fit saucepan with candy thermometer, bring mixture to a boil, and cook until thermometer registers 290°, 5-7 minutes.

Using a heatproof spatula, stir in pecans, bacon grease, and kosher salt (syrup will seize initially, but will melt as it heats back up). Continue to cook syrup, stirring often, until thermometer registers 300° and mixture is golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Caramel should be pale brown (it will darken slightly as it cools). Remove candy thermometer. Sprinkle baking soda over and stir quickly to blend caramel thoroughly (mixture will bubble vigorously).

Immediately pour caramel onto prepared baking sheet. The mixture will spread on its own, do not spread out, or you will lose the honeycomb effect. Sprinkle sea salt over and let caramel cool completely. Break brittle into pieces.

Brittle can be made 1 week ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

bacon pecan brittle