Savory Stuffed Pork Tenderloin: Belly Filling Goodness

From our humble backyard space, it’s usually possible to look towards the west and get a first-person weather report. But on this particular day, that picture was a little more telling. The sky wouldn’t harbor any lingering secrets, and now told a different story, a more lingering tale complete with chill-edged breezes, earlier sunsets and barren backyard gardens. It spoke of the change that signals the cycle of our seasons.

That change gets felt in our bellies too. We develop a yearning for heartier food, more stick-to-your-ribs type fare, more of that food that asks you to loosen the restrictions on your waistline for just a bit. The developing change in our skies set a perfect scene for a delicious, savory dinner plate, and a pork tenderloin stuffed with a savory mix was just what the moment called for. We gladly obliged.

I flopped a pork tenderloin (Ok it slipped out of my hands, but I’m telling ya, it flopped) down on the counter, and with a freshly sharpened knife, sliced it horizontally while opening and rolling it out. I ended up with a pretty even and uniform meat canvas with which to start. Any uneven points can easily be pounded down to even it all out. With tie strings already laid out underneath, the next order of business was to brush a little olive oil on the meat surface, season with salt and pepper and then layer fresh spinach across the surface.

After sautéing some freshly chopped mushrooms, garlic and red onion with olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and a goodly pinch of seasoned black pepper, the resulting mix, that by the way, looked and smelled good enough to eat straight out of the pan, is mixed with fresh parsley and spooned over the layer of spinach.

And now for the part of our program that will test your grip strength on slippery objects. With sleeves rolled up if needed, grab that tenderloin on one edge and start rolling while compressing and tucking. Roll, tuck, compress. Roll, tuck, compress. Keep going. Don’t give up – Don’t let go! Roll, tuck, compress…until you have a pretty tight roll. Tie the strings around the roll, securing the contents and getting a decent seal on the open end. I brushed the tenderloin with a quality grainy type mustard and headed out to sear it on all the sides over a hot, lump charcoal fire.

It only takes a couple of minutes on each side. Great sear marks are always visually appreciated and at the same time that little bit of searing can tighten the pork up just a bit and help create a better seal. We’re all good here…

Then it was off to the indirect side to finish up, complete with a slathering of Smoky Mustard Sauce, none better than the one from Steven Raichlen.

And then, after a short respite pitside, a thermometer stuck into the tenderloin will register that magical 160°, and it’s time to ceremoniously remove this beauty from the hardwood fueled embers of our fire and let it take it’s rightly place on a serving tray to rest. It’s a scene that can warm your heart on a chilly evening, that’s for sure.

Indeed, this flavor packed tenderloin becomes worthy of another favorite, grill-roasted asparagus, seasoned only with a splash of olive oil, a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper, and a shake of roasted garlic powder. Situated directly over those hot coals for just a few minutes and they’ll be ready just in time for the carving of the pork. And there’s no better pairing than these two dishes to usher in a heartier, more savory grilling season.

Because Life Is Better Wood-Fired