If you like the look of lobster but prefer the taste of bacon then you just found yourself the porkster. Lean pork tenderloin wrapped up in bacon, or thinly sliced uncured pork belly, seared till crispy and glazed with teriyaki sauce until all so sexy and succulent. Your mouth will take it but your brain will explode.
This pork dish is nothing new and actually one of the first restaurant dishes I learned to cook back in the early 2000s. The principle is very simple to make a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin.
Take a cut of pork and wrap it in a bacon blanky. Sear until the kitchen smells like breakfast and then give a bit of sweet-sweet love in the form of teriyaki or honey. Glaze in the oven and you have yourself bacon wrapped pork tenderloin that perfectly mimics a lobster tail.
We actually used to call the Klapmuts lobster. After the small town that rears the pigs.
The whole process is very straight-forward and easy to make. You can serve it up for a quick dinner or do a couple of pieces for a larger gathering or even grill it over the fire on BBQ day.
There are a few myths flying around about cooking pork, and bacon keeping the meat moist while cooking. Let's bust those, and let me tell you the professional truth so that you know how to cook pork the proper way.
Myth vs Truth
- Pork needs to be cooked well-done - NOOO! Unless you like chewing on sawdust then yeah go ahead and kill the pig twice. Pork only needs to reach an internal temperature of 62C or 147F. At that point, it will be extremely juicy and have a slight rosy blush colour to it and perfectly safe to eat.
- Bacon will keep the meat from drying out - What a load of rubbish) Nothing will keep the meat from drying out. It's all about cooking it correctly and stopping at the right point. Bacon has a lot more fat than tenderloin. Pork Tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of meat you'll find. The only thing the bacon does is give it fat. Or, if you use smokey bacon. Smokey flavour and fat. At this point it's probably worth saying that owning a cheap temperature probe is key to great cooking.
Three ingredients. That's all it takes. And the cooking skill of a 10-year-old.
- Pork Tenderloin - You can easily buy good quality pork tenderloin in most supermarkets. Make sure the meat has a slight pink/purple colour, is firm to the touch and smells fresh. Some are sold in vacuum bags so no smelling there but just make sure it looks like something you would want to eat and has a good sell-by date. Meaning it still has at least 4-5 days left before expiration.
- Teriyaki sauce - You can make my recipe for teriyaki sauce or buy yourself a proper version of it. Stay away from recipes and brands that have garlic and all sorts of other stuff. That ain't teriyaki. If you want to skip the whole teriyaki and keep it keto then simply omit the glaze.
- Bacon - I use uncured raw thinly sliced pork belly. Uncured bacon in other words. It allows me to control the saltiness and I can use any glaze-like sweet miso without having to worry about it being too salty. some cured bacon also has a tendency to burn really easy because it's been cured in sugar. Not good when we have a glaze and also not good if you are following a keto or sugar-free diet. So, my advise. Do what I do and use uncured bacon.
How to make it
A couple of easy steps is all it takes to turn this into one of the best pork tenderloin recipes you will ever try.
Preparing the meat
- Start by trimming any sinew and connective tissue of the tenderloin. form into an even log shape by folding the tail part back into the centre as shown in figure 1.
- Lay the bacon out by overlapping each piece halfway as shown in picture 2. Lay the pork on top.
- Start rolling up the meat and bacon as shown in picture 3.
- You should now have a tight, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin ready for cooking. To make sure it does not all unravel while cooking, wrap it in cling wrap and place into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
The next step requires a properly sized pan to fry the pork in. As you can see my pan was a touch too small so I trimmed off the ends of the meat roll in order for it to fit into the pan. You also need a baking sheet and temperature probe to make sure the meat is cooked to perfection.
- Heat a large frying pan and add a bit of oil and salt to the pan. When hot and starting to smoke place then pork into the pan. Meanwhile, turn the oven to 230C or 446F.
- Sear on all sides using a pair of kitchen tongs to turn the meat carefully every minute or so.
- When the bacon has crisped up nicely all around the tenderloin, place it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush with teriyaki if you are using it(which I recommend). Roast in the oven and glaze with more teriyaki once the previous layer has started to caramelise, repeating 4 or 5 times until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 58C or 136F. Check the internal temperature of the meat every 3 minutes to make sure you monitor how the pork is cooking.
Resting and serving
- Once the pork has reached an internal temperature of 58C or 136F, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- During this time the internal temperature of the meat will rise to 62C or 147F. This is because the residual heat keeps on penetrating the meat from the outsides in until the temperature normalises and settles.
- It's at this moment you want to cut the meat and serve it. Do not throw away any juices that settle on the baking sheet. This is absolute gold and you want to pour this over the meat when you serve it.
For personal advice
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If you wanted to you can easily modify this recipe to make it more or even less creative by doing to following:
- Stuff the tenderloin before wrapping - Butterfly cut the tenderloin without cutting it completely in half. Place some sundried tomatoes and basil insto the cut and close up. Roll as usual and you have yourself a tomato and basil stuffed pork tenderloin. I suggest you use one of the sauce alternatives mentioned below as glazing it with teriyaki would be a strange flavour combination.
- Add herbs between the bacon and meat - Place some sage or oregano leaves between the layer of bacon and meat. Simply lay down onto the bacon and roll around the meat as instructed.
- Use a different glaze - Instead of teriyaki use sweet miso, chocolate BBQ sauce or rub the tenderloin with adjika paste before wrapping in bacon. Alternatively use maple syrup, honey or agave to glaze this bacon wrapped piggy with when roasting.
- Skip the glaze all together - Simply season with salt and pepper or serve with salsa verde, chimichurri sauce or a classic pork and apple sauce.
- Make this recipe in an air fryer - Simply follow the same instructions and temperature guidelines for cooking this recipe in an air fryer.
- Cook it on the grill - Cook it bbq style and glaze only for the last few minutes if using a sauce.
- Smoke it - If you have a smoker then cold smoke for an hour to lift your bacon wrapped pork to an even more delicious level.
As with any properly cooked and flavourful main ingredient it is best served with a great side dish. Perfect with one of the following:
- Creamy mashed potatoes - Meat and potatoes is great, Bacon-wrapped pork and silky smooth mashed potatoes are next level.
- Fermented cucumbers and homemade sauerkraut - An obvious choice with pork. If you like fermenting your own food also try this homemade sriracha hot sauce.
- Roasted or steamed broccoli - Add a bit of mushroom garlic butter and you have a king's meal.
- Steamed spinach - Healthy and light just add a drop of soy sauce and you're good to go.
- Steakhouse style creamed spinach - For a fancy steakhouse dinner party.
- Moroccan couscous or eggplant zaalouk - Delicious by themselves but really amazing with this pork recipe. The salty sweetness goes great with the spice notes in these sides.
- Sweet miso baked eggplant, pan-roasted bok choy and fluffy steamed rice - For a full Japanese dinner night
Other recipes you might like
If you appreciate well-cooked meat then you will find the following recipes useful:
- Perfect ribeye steak
- Succulent oven-baked chicken breast
- Chicken Kiev
- Properly cooked bavette steak
- Steak and chimichuri sauce
- Slow roasted leg of lamb
- Pork belly cooked over the fire
Useful equipment for this recipe
Wooden chopping board - Buy Now
Japanese knife - Buy Now
OVEN TRAY - Buy Now
12 INCH NON-STICK SAUTE PAN - Buy Now
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