Wed Feb 23, 2011
You may have caught on between this blog and my ramblings on Serious Eats that I really love to roll things up in meat. Pastes, cheeses, fruits, they're all fodder to deliver additional flavor and texture to grilled meat by becoming entwined into one. Nothing takes the cake more than rolling meat within meat, and what filling is better than bacon, and what meat more fitting than pork. Get ready for some hardcore pig on pig action with these tasty pecan-crusted pork pinwheels.
I recently had the great opportunity to be challenged to use a pound of bacon a different way each month when it was delivered to my doorstep via the bacon of the month club. Each time I got that delivery confirmation email, I couldn't get home from work soon enough to see what new treat awaited me. One of my favorites was this pepper crusted bacon, half which I fried up and ate, the other half went into these rolls.
To make the rolls, I cut down a pork loin into quarter-inch high strips the same width and length as the bacon. Then a strip of bacon was laid on top of each piece of pork and tightly rolled.
Then came a great use for my South Carolina mustard sauce—each roll was given a coating of it, which became the "glue" to hold on a layer of chopped pecans. Rolled, slathered, and nut crusted, each roll was then cut in half and skewered in preparation for the grill.
It didn't take long for these to cook up, only about 7 minutes per side. I sat and watched the meat start to brown and bacon crisp, the smell of bacon making the excitement of the feast an arduous wait.
The only problem was that these transformed from beautiful two-tone rolls when raw, to somewhat burnt looking blobs after grilled. Now I consider myself a pretty good photographer (heck, I have a college degree in it), but I have little to no food styling skills, and for the life of me, couldn't figure out how to get a flattering photo of these babies once they had been blackened by the grill.
Never-the-less, looks are only part of the equation, and taste here triumphed enough that I forged ahead with deeming these "blog-worthy." After given a final drizzling of mustard sauce, they were gobbled up by me and the loved one. The peppered bacon brought a great spice to the pinwheels, while the pecan coating added a pleasing nutty crunch, making these a meat roll to remember.
Pecan-Crusted Pork Pinwheels
Adapted from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book by Chris Lilly
1 pork tenderloin
6 bacon strips, preferably peppered bacon
South Carolina mustard sauce
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to use
1. Cut the tenderloin lengthwise into 6 long strips approximately 1/4 inch thick. Lay the slices on a cutting board; they should be the same size and shape as the bacon strips. Place a strip of bacon on top of each piece of tenderloin. Starting at one end, roll the tenderloin into a pinwheel medallion. Secure with skewers.
2. Set aside 1 cup of the Carolina Mustard Sauce and apply remaining sauce to the outside of the pinwheels. Stir together the pecans, salt, and pepper, and coat the tenderloin pinwheels with the pecan mixture. Cut each of the pinwheels through the center to make two thin pinwheel medallions.
3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Place the medallions on the grill and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side or until the edges of the bacon start to crisp. Serve with the reserved sauce drizzled over each pinwheel.