Nov 302011

I was at the grocery store a week or two ago I saw a local place called La Boucherie was selling frozen pork tenderloins that were as stated in the title. I baked it like it said, and it was good, but I thought I could do better. I am deathly afraid of having too little cream cheese, which is something they skimped on. So, I bought a two and a half pound pack of pork tenderloin (a pair) and went to town.

I used one package (bar?) of cream cheese per tenderloin. Definitely more than necessary, probably could have used half. But seriously, impossible to have too much cream cheese. To form it in a fairly clean manner, I laid out some saran wrap, sprayed PAM on it, and put the unwrapped rectangular cuboid of cream cheese onto it. I wrapped it a bit, and started to smash it around until it spread out length wise and basically became a flat sheet of the white wonderfulness. I then put it in the tenderloin. The cream cheese was straight out of the fridge. Thought about throwing it in the freezer, but this worked out fine. I must have heard about that saran wrap trick somewhere else, because I am not creative enough to have come up with that on my own.

I then put a bunch of (raw) sliced jalapenos in there.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Jalapenos

After closing it all up, I put some garlic powder, Tony’s seasoning, and pepper on the outside of the tenderloin.

I then wrapped with bacon. This is the first time I have wrapped something in bacon, so I learned a bit. (1) Thick cut bacon is not optimal. (2) Overlapping the ends is useful. I did a poor job on the small one. Larger one was much better.

Pork tenderloin stuffed, closed up, and wrapped in bacon.

When all full and wrapped up, these ended up being like Marotta’s thighs and wouldn’t fit in normal jeans, so I had to get the relaxed fit ones. Luckily, I have a box of 2.5 gallon ZipLoc bags around here. They don’t have a great seal, but I usually keep the top out of the water, so no big deal. I, of course, did the poor man’s vacuum sealing in water. Zipper top bags are not typically recommended because they are known to leak. These are big enough that I was able to keep the tops out of the water, so there was no worry.

Pork Tenderloins ghetto-vacuum sealed

There were a couple of things that could go wrong with this. The first was that the cream cheese would do weird things after being in the water bath for three hours at 141 F. It was fine. Here they are just out of the bath, nothing really noticeable, which is expected.

I put them under the broiler for between 10-15 minutes, turning them once. I was a little shy because I didn’t want it to cook the pork any further. Turns out the bacon is a pretty good shield, and hopefully using thinner bacon will help it brown faster. I will also put it closer to the broiler. Could have broken out the torch as well, but didn’t really care that much.

Obvious bacon wrapping failure is obvious.

I need to figure out how to cut it with less mess, but I suspect that short of an electric knife, the only other solution would be less cream cheese (that and not cutting it in the middle first). But it was not a big deal, since even squeezing half of it out left a bunch inside. I did learn that cutting the slices an inch thick instead of the normal thin slices was better. The pork was cooked about as perfect as it could be. Nice light pink tint, and very juicy.

So, plenty of things that need to be changed:

1. Deseed the jalapeno and saute them. It was perfect if you didn’t eat the actual jalapenos, which is no fun. If you did eat one, it was overpowering. But the cream cheese absorbs a lot of the flavor, so you didn’t have to actually eat them.

2. Any rub/spices need to go outside on the bacon. My initial thought was that the pork is what needed the spices, not the bacon, but you couldn’t taste the spices at all. Putting them on the outside would let them hit the tongue first, I think.

3. Thinner bacon, browned longer, as already stated.

4. Probably going to puree (or whatever the technical term is for throwing something in a food processor) some roasted red peppers and put them inside next time as well. I think the combination with the jalapenos (pre-cooked, next time) and cream cheese will be wonderful.

5. Half a bar of cream cheese per tenderloin.

6. Should also find a better rub to use.

Overall it was excellent, barring the minor problems.

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