Let's call a spade, a "spade," ok? If you shave the bones off the back of a pig's baby-back ribs, you'll have a pork loin. If you cut medallions off of this loin, you'll have chops. If you cut medallions off of this loin from between the bones, you'll have bone-in pork chops. Sam's and Costco both sell whole pork loins, and if you're careful when you cook them, you can make your own succulent loin of pork for your table.
First item of note, the whole pork loin is NOT the same as a pork "tenderloin." The tenderloin is an entirely different cut of meat. It's the "Filet Mignon" of the pig and is much smaller, more expensive, and while it is worthy of it's own show, we won't talk about it in this article. The second item to note, is that whole pork loins have very little fat in them, and while this makes them exceptionally good for you, it also means they are tricky to cook properly. Low-fat means "low forgiveness" and you can easily overcook this delightful treat and turn it into a chunk of white leather if you're not careful. Ready?
- One whole pork tenderloin
- A spool of butcher's twine or cotton string, OR
- An oven safe elastic netting for roasts (available for free from most butcher counters) Just be sure to get one that is long enough to fit your pork loin.
- A pound of good bacon (I know, its about the loin but you'll need bacon. Trust me.)
- Chili powder
- Brown sugar
- Digital oven safe probe thermometer
and here's the fun part, wrap it bacon! Why? To serve this dish so that it is truly succulent, moist, and delicious, you'll need some fat to season it. That's just a fact. In addition to adding flavor, the layer of bacon also helps seal the loin so that critical juices aren't lost to steam during the cooking process. How much bacon you add is entirely up to you. Obviously, I like to go a little crazy.
What you see above is a lot more than a pound of bacon. Sorry. I know I told you you'd need a pound of bacon. I cooked this dish a second time, following my own instructions. It came out like this:
Either way you choose, you'll need to anchor your bacon with toothpicks. Stick your toothpicks in on a straight line and count them, so you'll know you got them all out when you're done cooking.
I would serve this with a baked apple side-dish that some walnuts in it (for crunch), and with a garden salad that had a tart vinaigrette. Maybe some bacon-wrapped bundled asparagus, too?