Either way, the prep is simple, but the trick is getting the temperature just right. You can cook it just 2 or 3 minutes too long and dryness will set in. If you do, all is not lost, because you can always make a quick sauce to compensate with the pan drippings and a bit of flour or cornstarch, but pork tenderloin is best enjoyed when it has cooked just a minute past the pinkness.
The obvious solution is a meat thermometer. Ideally, the pork is perfect when the internal temperature is between 140-160 degrees F. Ideally. I only recently purchased a meat thermometer and found it to be less accurate than my previous and recommended indicator for achieving the perfect pork tenderloin—bacon.
Wrap your roast in strips of bacon, stick it in the oven at 400 degrees F and leave it there until the bacon is well cooked and just starting to get crispy. When I used the meat thermometer, I found the tenderloin to still be frighteningly pink inside, even as the thermometer confirmed the proper temperature. The bacon has never lied.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat meat more responsibly and avoid the factory-farmed stuff as much as possible. If you live in New York, you can easily find local, organic pork at many of the greenmarkets around the city (click to find one near you) or at Dicksons Farmstand Meats in Chelsea Market. For those beyond our little island, check out Eden Farms, as they have distributors all around the country.
Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes 4-6 servings
- 2 garlic cloves
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- 1 1 1/2- to 2-pound pork tenderloin
- 4 slices of bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and roast for 20 minutes or until the garlic is soft and pops out of its skin.
Create a rosemary compound butter by mixing the garlic with the stick of butter and the chopped leaves of 2 sprigs of rosemary. Combine everything together in a food processor (or just grab a fork and work out your low-lying hostility) and slather it all over your tenderloin.
Wrap the bacon slices around the buttered tenderloin and place it in a baking pan with the two remaining rosemary branches. Cook until the bacon starts to crisp, approximately 35 minutes.
In the unlikely event that you have leftovers, you should wrap the unsliced pork with the rosemary branches in foil. It will taste even better the next day. Slice it thinly while still cold and make yourself a sandwich to bring to work for lunch.