The logistics of this are amazing if you really think about it. Pork on pork love baby! The slow cooking in the smoker makes the meat tender to begin with. But then you add the fact that it's wrapped in bacon and all the fat from the bacon 1) soaks into the tenderloin and 2) drips on to the coals creating a different dynamic with the smoking process, call it "bacon smoke" if you will. I have used the cheapest bacon I could find, the thinnest cut you could imagine, and the bacon almost fuses with the tenderloin. Really cool stuff. Most of the time I use a dry rub that I get from a BBQ joint in the town I grew up in, wrap it up, set it, and forget it. This time I wanted to try something a little different though.
Marinating always makes meat better, no matter what cut or how long or what type. The flavors soak into the meat and change the flavor, also tenderizing in most cases. This time, I used a pineapple marinade because if it's good enough for a Hawaiian pizza, it's good enough for me.
Here's the marinade I used:
1 can diced or crushed pineapple
2 tablespoons of cilantro
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
a pinch of salt and pepper
a dash of liquid smoke
Run all of these ingredients through a food processor until you don't have any chunks of pineapple left. Pour in a Ziploc bag or put it in a dish (like above) and let your pork sit. We had a long day and I was running out of time so I only let this sit for about an hour. I suggest about 4 hours. I wouldn't leave it overnight because the acidity in the pineapple may begin to "cook" the pork, but that might just be my misconception. When it's done marinating, pull it out and scrape off the excess. Then comes the fun part: wrapping! Before wrapping, I seasoned the tenderloin with more salt, pepper, garlic powder, and bit of that dry rub I spoke of before.
When you're wrapping the tenderloin, lay out a bunch of toothpicks before hand, non-colored mind you. (If you use colored toothpicks, the dye bleeds into the meat, not changing the flavor, but making weird little colored lines throughout the meat!) Start at one end, securing the bacon with toothpick numero uno. What you want to do is work your way around the tenderloin. Once one piece of bacon runs out, get another, overlap a little, secure with another toothpick and keep going. This is the most time extensive part. After the first piece or two, it becomes like second nature and you can run through it in about 10 minutes. Make sure to leave enough of the toothpick sticking out so you can remove it once the cooking is over. Believe me, nothing is worse that having this beautiful cut of meat, slicing through a toothpick, and ruining the whole thing (just kidding, it's just really annoying to find a toothpick when slicing).
All that's left now is to smoke this thing! I prefer to use natural wood charcoal, just because it seems to burn longer that your regular briquettes. It looks like black pieces of wood (go figure). As far as the wood, it depends on your taste really. If you want something strong, go with a mesquite or hickory wood. Want something more subtle? Go with an apple or cherry wood. I usually just keep a bag of hickory chucks in the freezer. Freezer you ask? Keeping the wood in the freezer allows for the wood to hold it's moisture and not burn out in 10 minutes once put on the fire. When lighting the fire in the smoker, put a handful of chunks in water to let them soak up. I've even heard of soaking them in vinegar but have never personally tried it. I'm not going into the logistics of smoking but if you have any questions, shoot me an e-mail or post them to the page.
Pineapple Chipotle Barbeque Sauce
1 can diced or crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup of ketchup
2 tablespoons of mustard (any kind)
1 teaspoon of diced garlic
1 tablespoon of chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of dried cilatro and basil, run through mortar and pestil (see Lamb blog for info)
salt and pepper to taste
-Run pineapple through food processor until no big chunks remain.
-Add pineapple with juice, vinegar, and diced garlic to medium pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a -simmer for 30 minutes.
-After simmering, pour mixture through a strainer to remove garlic and pineapple pieces.
-Return pineapple/vinegar mixture to pot and add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
-After cooking, run sauce through a cheesecloth or any other fine strainer to remove the leftover bits of pineapple and pepper.