Fall is officially here. And to me (having lived in Starkville my entire life), that means one thing -tailgating.
On Sunday night for dinner, my dad and I cooked what I would probably label as an ultimate tailgating food. To fall into this category (that I just made up), a food item must:
- contain at least two pork applications
- have one or more types of cheese
- have the option to be spicy
- be cooked on a grill
This recipe (after we modified it slightly) met all of those criteria.
We found the original recipe for Bacon and Gouda Stuffed Pork Tenderloin in the September/ October edition of NO’ALA magazine. NO’ALA is a lifestyles magazine that is distributed in North Alabama.
We liked the recipe, but felt like it needed some modifications.
The original recipe called for gouda cheese, thick cut bacon, parsley and cracked black pepper to be stuffed inside of a butterflied pork tenderloin, wrapped up and grilled.
The first modification we made was the addition of jalapeño pepper.
Honestly, we probably wouldn’t have done this if we hadn’t had a sole jalapeño dangling from the plant on the back porch. But I saw the lovely pepper and decided that it had to join the fun.
After we butterflied the tenderloin and flattened it out, we piled the gouda, cooked bacon, parsley, jalapeño and cracked black pepper into the center of it. We rolled it up and tied it off with butcher’s twine.
Then we did the entire process again because one tenderloin wasn’t going to be enough.
The outside got rubbed down with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then it was ready for the grill.
The second modification that we made to the recipe was in the cooking process.
The recipe called for a two-zone grilling process (which we did). This means that half of the grill has fire under it and half doesn’t. On a charcoal grill, that just means that all your charcoal is pushed to one side of the grill. On a gas grill, you only turn burners on for half of the grill.
The recipe suggested searing the meat on the direct heat first, then letting the meat come up to the correct temperature on the indirect side. At my house, we prefer a “sear in the rear” method for cooking our meats.
Our grill has an offset smoke box which we like to take full advantage of, so in addition to the charcoal, we also added some applewood to give the meat a nice smokey taste.
We started by placing the meat on the indirect side of the grill (not over the charcoal) and let it cook until the internal temperature was around 155 degrees. This took about 40 minutes on the grill at a temperature around 370 degrees.
Then, we moved the meat to the direct side to sear it. Giving the outside a hot sear gives it a nice crust, a deeper color and some nice grill marks. I seared it for about 3 minutes on each side, then moved it to a cutting board to rest.
We removed the butcher’s twine and cut it into slices to serve.
The flavor was perfect. The sharpness of the gouda perfectly complemented the saltiness of the bacon. Neither overpowered the natural flavor of the pork, and the slight heat of the jalapeño came through.
Although we ate it for dinner, I’m dubbing it an ultimate tailgate food.
- 1 - 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
- 5 - 6 pieces thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
- 3 oz gouda cheese
- 1/8 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/2 small jalapeño, diced
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- butcher's twine
- Butterfly the pork tenderloin and pound slightly until the meat lays flat.
- Mound the cheese, bacon, parsley, jalapeño and black pepper into the center of the tenderloin. Roll the meat up and secure it using butcher's twine. Be sure to close the ends so that the filling doesn't escape during the cooking.
- Rub the outside of the meat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Set up grill for 2-zone cooking.
- Grill the pork on the indirect side of the grill for 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Then, move the meat to the direct heat side and sear it for 3 minutes on each side.
- Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes prior to cutting. While it is resting, remove the butcher's twine from the outside.