Stuffed Pork Tenderloin: Pinwheels Of Pecan Smoked Deliciousness
It was a good day, you know, being able to mosey around the yard without fighting the ice, snow, or slush at your feet. The sun is slowly making longer shadows, which I take as a backhanded invitation to stay and hang out a bit longer. Works for me. It’s too early in the season for any type of meaningful yardwork, so piddling around is the afternoon goal. I ended up chipping away at a piece of pecan wood, forming a little pile on the table, which just happens to be next to my trusty Weber. No coincidence in this sequence of events, as I plan on using this mild day to stuff a pork tenderloin with all sorts of goodness and grill it over the smoke of these freshly chopped pieces of pecan wood.
Now, I didn’t think to take a picture of the bare pork tenderloin, but I assure you, it was as you’d expect, just over a pound and trimmed of most of the fat and silverskin. Using a long, sharp knife, I started slicing the tenderloin horizontally while rolling it away like a mini meat carpet. Once I took it as far as I thought I could, a little coercion with a meat mallet provided an even surface to start building my tenderloin roll.
The first thing put down was a small amount of olive oil brushed into the nooks and crannies of the opened up tenderloin. Then a handful of baby spinach layered over the meat, serving as a base to hold a generous mixture of shredded onions with the juice, chopped kalamata olives, mushrooms, and marinated artichokes, crumbled goat cheese (the good stuff), and a whole lot of whole roasted garlic cloves. This combo from here out shall be referred to as “the goods”, because, well, why not? Tied together with about a tablespoon of my favorite Italian dressing, the mixture was finished off with a final sprinkle of greek seasoning over the top. I’m sorry that I can’t be specific on the amounts of each component, but I just didn’t measure anything on this day. It was an impromptu, drive-by stuffing using ingredients that we usually have around the kitchen.
Time to get all messy, but before you do, cut some butchers twine and slide it under the tenderloin so that you can tie this beauty off after it’s rolled nice and compact. So go ahead and roll it tight – Cuban cigar tight, Little Debbie swiss roll tight, sushi roll tight, salami and cream cheese wrapped around a pickle tight. You get the idea…
Now, with more of that shredded onion and resulting onion juice mixed with stone ground mustard, I made a slather and brushed it over the pork, wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. Onion juice is just a great tenderizer for meats. And I’m always a fan of mustard used in a pork rub, always.
After a bit of sitting, and the building of a two-zone fire, that pork can be ceremoniously laid on the grill just as it is, over the direct fire.
I’m searing this beauty on all four sides, and yes I know it’s round, but you know what I mean. Two to four minutes a side oughta do it.
After all that searing, you’re gonna want to move the whole thing over to the cooler, indirect side and throw some more wood chunks on the fire if you want, and I wanted. Close the lid and let the magic happen. Check and rotate the pork occasionally and pull it off when the internal temp is about 155°to 160°, probably another 25 to 35 minutes.
Cover with foil and it’ll continue to cook a bit and finish its business of transforming into a beautiful stuffed pork tenderloin with a tasty seared crust.
You know what you can do while the pork is resting and you’re salivary glands are telling you to just grab a little taste? You can grill roast a helping of green beans for a colorful and delicious side dish. That’s what you can do, and yes, that’s what I did.
Like a little kid opening presents on Christmas Day, I couldn’t wait to cut into this pork roll to check out what the inside looked like. The first cut was a beautiful pinwheel, as was the next, and the one after that. Almost artsy in a meat art kind of way, if that’s your thing. No judging here, 😅
Plated with those roasted green beans and a side dish of red wine vinegar kissed beans, sundried tomatoes, kale, and goat cheese, this delicious meal tasted as good as it looked, with all those individual qualities of “the goods” roasting together and flavoring the pork while keeping the tenderloin juicy.