This Smoked Pork Tenderloin recipe is simple to make and you just can’t go wrong with wrapping it in bacon. The three ingredient bourbon honey mustard glaze adds just the right amount of tanginess to the dish. Full disclosure, it is temping to just eat the bacon with the bourbon honey mustard glaze all on its own. That glaze ranks as one of my top five all time sauces.
Every now and then, we collect some fun meat from Costco. My wife limits my time in the butcher’s shop there, otherwise I’d gather just about everything to throw on the grill. This time she acquiesced and let me add some pork tenderloin to the cart! 😃
Pork Tenderloin – Don’t confuse this with pork loin. They are two different cuts of meat. Pork tenderloin is usually found in vacuum packaging and is long and thin. This is from the muscles along the spine of the pig and are the most tender cut of meat available.
Bacon – You will use about ¾ of a package of bacon. I recommend thinly sliced versions, as they are much easier to weave around the pork and will crisp up nicely on the grill.
Dry Rub – Use a mild BBQ rub like DizzyPig’s Crossroads. The flavor from the smoke, the bacon and the glaze work well together and you don’t want the rub to overpower the other flavors. My wife even thought the meal would have been just as good without adding the rub at all!
Bourbon, Honey and Mustard Glaze – These are the only three ingredients in the glaze. The stone ground mustard adds the zest and the honey and bourbon add the sweetness. This is one of my favorite glazes, and works well with many dishes, but definitely adds a burst of flavor for this smoked tenderloin.
Trim the Tenderloin
The only real preparation for the pork is to remove the fat and the silver skin. The fat is easiest to remove by picking it off with your fingers. The silver skin lifted up and peeled away by hand as well. There were a couple of areas where I used kitchen shears to remove some stubborn fat, but this process took less than five minutes.
What is Silver Skin? You’ll see an area on various cuts of meats with a thin layer of connective tissue still affixed to the meat. It may also be referred to as a membrane, especially on ribs. It is easy to remove by hand. It will shrink as you grill and cause the meat to warp. It is also more difficult to cut through when it is cooked, so it is just easier to remove it as you prepare the meat.
Weave the Bacon
Step One: Lay a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan and lay several pieces of bacon side by side. We used seven as it looked like it would be wide enough to cover the tenderloin.
Step Two: Start weaving bacon from the side to create a crosshatch, basket-weave pattern.
Note: It is much easier to do this with thinly sliced bacon. Also, the thin bacon will crisp up much better than the thick cut variety.
Wrapping the Tenderloin
Step One: Lay the tenderloin in the center of the woven bacon and apply the rub to both sides of the pork.
Step Two: Lift one side of the parchment paper (with the bacon) and wrap it over the top of the pork.
Step Three: Carefully peel back the parchment paper. The bacon should adhere to the pork. Press down on the bacon to make sure it sticks.
Step Four: Repeat the process for the other side of the tenderloin.
Make the Glaze
This three ingredient glaze is perfect for the bacon wrapped pork. It has a sweet and tangy flavor profile that complements the pork without taking over.
Step One: Pour the ingredients in a small pot. Turn the burner to medium-high and stir while bringing the mix to a boil.
Step Two: Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step Three: Turn off the burner and let it cool. It will thicken slightly as it cools, but this is a glaze, and you want it to be on the thinner side to brush on later in the grilling process.
🔥 Smoking Instructions
Step One: Set up the grill for indirect heat. For gas grills, turn off the burners in the middle. For the Big Green Egg, add a plate setter.
Step Two: Set the temperature to 275 degrees.
Note: I usually smoke at lower temperatures, but found that the higher temperature works better to help the bacon crisp up during the smoking process.
Step Three: Add apple wood to the grill. For gas grills, add the chips to a smoking box. Fruit woods are more mild and work well with pork.
Step Four: Insert a wireless meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the pork. When it reaches 140 degrees, move to the next step.
Step Five: Once the pork is almost at temperature, apply the glaze using a long-handled basting brush. Brush on several layers of the honey mustard glaze.
Step Six: Continue smoking until the temperature reaches 145 degrees.
Step Seven: Remove and let rest for at least ten minutes.
💡 Expert Tips
This is an extremely tender cut of meat and the addition of the bacon drippings just provide even more juiciness. As a result, you have a little bit of leeway in the final grilling temperature. If the tenderloin stays on the grill for a little longer, you shouldn’t have to worry about it drying out or becoming tough.
The parchment paper wrapping trick is the easiest way I found to wrap the pork in bacon. While I love eating thick slices of bacon, the thin sliced varieties work best here.
Stay on the fruitwood side of the smoking wood spectrum. Apple, cherry, and plum are excellent choices. You only want a little bit of smoke. Large, billowing clouds of smoke will leave your dish tasting like an ashtray. This is a case where a little goes a long way.
Bacon Wrapped Smoked Pork Tenderloin
- 1 Pork Tenderloin
- ¾ lb Bacon thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp Dry Rub DizzyPig Crossroads
Bourbon Honey Mustard Sauce
- ¾ cup Mustard stone ground
- ¾ cup Honey organic
- ¼ cup Bourbon Bare Knuckle from KO distillery
Prepare the Tenderloin
- The tenderloin will have some pieces of fat and a silverskin on it. Trim that off using your fingers or a pair of scissors. It peels off easily and will make cutting simple after it is smoked.
- Rub the pork with your favorite dry rub. Keep with a more mild rub to allow the flavors of the bacon and the sauce to shine through. *You can omit the rub altogether for this recipe as there is more than enough flavor from the bacon wrap and honey mustard glaze.*
Prepare the Bacon Wrap
- Lay out the slices of bacon and weave them into a crosshatch pattern on a piece parchment paper. It should look like a tight basket-weave when you are done. This used approximately 12 ounces of bacon.
- Lay the tenderloin in the center of the bacon weave and lift one side of the parchment paper (with the bacon) to cover one side of the pork. Gently peel the parchment paper back, leaving the bacon to stick to the meat.
- Repeat the process with the other side of the bacon and parchment. The bacon should completely wrap around the tenderloin.
Prepare the Glaze
- Combine the bourbon, honey and stone ground mustard in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil on the stove top.
- Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the burner and let it rest. It will thicken as it cools, but you will brush this on later, so it is fine if it is on the thin side.
Smoke the Tenderloin
- Prepare your grill for smoking by setting it up for indirect heat. For a Big Green Egg, add the plate setter. For gas grills, turn off the center burners.
- Set the temperature for 275 degrees. Usually, we smoke at a lower temperature, but the higher temperature in this case will allow the bacon to crisp up nicely!
- Add apple wood smoking chips to the grill. For the gas grills, use a smoking box. You only want a little bit of smoke, as a little goes a long ways.
- Gently lay the bacon wrapped tenderloin on the grill grate and allow it to smoke until the temperature reaches 145 degrees. Use a good quality wireless meat thermometer to measure the temp.
- During the last 5-7 minutes of smoking, apply the glaze several times to all sides of the pork tenderloin. The heat start to create a thick and sticky exterior to the pork.
- Remove from the grill and let it rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.