This dish, I can hardly call it a recipe, is one of those meal ideas that’s passed around from family to friend to book club to the office to tennis groups to cocktail party and on and on. You know, that simple recipe someone rattles off when you worry about new dinner ideas or what to serve to guests – “wrap a pork tender in bacon, sprinkle over some brown sugar and cook in a cast iron skillet.” I can’t count how many times it’s been my emergency meal, because it is so easy and so good. I never really considered putting it on the site because it’s just so simple. But I made it not to long ago, and it got me thinking that with a few simple little tweeks, it could turn into something really special.
So I brushed a little tangy mustard on the pork before wrapping it in smoky bacon, and added a rich sauce with bourbon verve and butter smoothness. The sauce goes wonderfully well with any grilled pork dish.
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Butter Sauce
For the Pork:
1 pork tenderloins, about 2 pounds each
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pound bacon
2/3 cup light brown sugar
For the Sauce:
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons bourbon
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 375°. Evenly coat a 12-inch cast iron skillet with oil making sure it is all well covered. I use a wadded up paper towel.
Place the pork tenders on a cookie sheet or large cutting board. Tuck any thin ends underneath so you have nice, even logs of pork. Keep it tucked as you wrap. Brush 1 Tablespoon mustard evenly over each tender. Wrap the bacon around the tenders, starting the next piece where the first one ends and so on, so you have a nice little package completely wrapped in bacon. Get the ends covered as best you can too.
Spinkle the sugar next to the tenders then start pressing it into the sides and top of the bacon. You can roll the tenders around in the sugar a little if needed. When they are nicely covered, tuck any bacon ends back in place and carefully transfer to the oiled skillet. Neaten up the bacon, but try not to let any stray sugar fall onto the skillet.
Cook the pork for about 45 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140°. I recommend a probe thermometer. Turn on the broiler to crisp the bacon on the top, and cook to 145°. Remove from the oven and transfer the pork to a cutting board. (At this point, I usually pour a little water into the bottom of the skillet and scrape up any cooked sugar with a silicone spatula to make cleaner up easier). Tent the pork with foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
For the Sauce:
Mix the brown sugar, mustard, bourbon and Worcestershire sauce together in a small saucepan until it is all well combined. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil, whisking frequently. Cook about 2 minutes, until the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat, and when the bubbling subsides, return it to low heat and whisk in the butter a few small pieces at a time, letting each addition melt before adding another. When all the butter is combined, remove from the heat. You may gently reheat the sauce over low heat, stirring constantly.
Spoon the sauce over the sliced pork.
Serves 4 – 6