Smoking a pork tenderloin is a wonderful thing. I have probably smoked this cut of pork as much as any other piece of meat. It is reasonably priced, super tender and has a wonderful flavour when it comes out of the smoker.
I will smoke pork tenderloins just straight up with a bit of rub and BBQ sauce. It is delicious like that and also great sliced or chopped up to be used in other dishes including chili, pasta, salad, wraps and more. The possibilities are just endless.
But, my favourite way to prepare a smoked pork tenderloin is to stuff it. There are many different ways to stuff it and, over the years, I have stuffed tenderloins with many things. During the next couple weeks I will be sharing a lot of recipes with different types of stuffing that are all excellent.
This stuffing is made with a mixture of cream cheese and grated mozzarella. Along with the cheeses, I also mixed in some minced roasted red peppers which provides a wonderful rich flavour to the stuffing.
Stuffing meat is great, but there is always the fear of the stuffing spilling out. With pork tenderloin that can be a common occurrence because it is not as large of a cut of meat and it is difficult to make a large pocket to hold the stuffing in place. Tying a stuffed cut of meat with kitchen twine helps to keep the stuffing where it is supposed to be.
Instead of tying up the pork tenderloin, I try a different approach. I wrap the stuffed meat in bacon. This does multiple things to help the finished product. First, it does keep the stuffing in place. Even melted cheese usually stays inside the meat. Check out the pic below and you can see that just a little bit of cheese was bubbling out.
On top of that, bacon keeps the meat moist and juicy which is great, cause a lean cut of meat like pork tenderloin can be known to dry out. The other reason I do this is because it is bacon! Everything is better with bacon – right?!?
If I am smoking a pork tenderloin without stuffing and no bacon, I tend to smoke at a lower heat, usually set at 225F and smoke it until it reaches 145-150F. This results in a moist, nicely smoked piece of meat.
For a stuffed pork tenderloin, wrapped in bacon, I like to smoke it at a higher heat. Primarily, I do this so that the bacon will render and crisp up. A temperature of 275F works very well and, when stuffed, I prefer to smoke till 165F. The result is a bacon that is perfectly cooked, pork that is still moist and a cheesy stuffing that is gooey and delicious!
I have a number of different pork tenderloin recipes for the smoker:
- How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin in a Smoker – This recipe is a great ‘how-to’ for smoking pork tenderloin. It uses a simple rub for the tenderloin.
- Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Harissa and Tangerine Glaze – I love deep and spicy flavour of harissa and it works very well with tangerine to create an exotic taste to this tenderloin.
- Bacon Wrapped Smoked Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Pineapple and Cheese – This tenderloin is filled with a Hawaiian style cheesy stuffing.
- Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Smoked Pork Tenderloin – This might just be my favourite stuffing for the pork tenderloin. Cheesy and spicy, this filling totally tastes like a jalapeño popper!
Bacon Wrapped Smoked Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Roasted Red Peppers and Cheese
- 2 pork tenderloin
- 1/3 cup roasted red peppers diced
- 1 cup cream cheese softened
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 10-12 bacon slices
- 1/4 cup honey
- Trim the pork tenderloins of any fat and membrane. Holding knife horizontally, slice the pork tenderloin in half being careful not to pierce through the other end.
- In a small bowl, mix together the roasted red pepper with the cream cheese and mozzarella cheese.
- Spread the cheese and red pepper mixture evenly in the openings of the pork tenderloin. Close up the tenderloins ensuring that the cheese stays inside the pocket of the meat.
- Wrap the tenderloins with the bacon and place on smoker rack. It may be wise to have the tenderloins with the cut open side facing up, so that any melted cheese will stay in the pocket and not ooze out.
- Set the smoker to 275F using wood of choice (hickory, apple or cherry work great).
- Smoke the pork until they reach an internal temperature of 165F and the bacon is rendered and starting to crisp, approximately 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
- With about 30 minutes left of smoking, brush the honey all over the bacon and then continue smoking until fully cooked.
- Remove the pork tenderloins from the smoker and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Slice into 1 inch medallions and serve.