Since I'm a sucker for a 50% off tag, much of the meat I buy is of the "use today or freeze" variety. So although turkey isn't generally my favorite, when a turkey tenderloin showed up in the markdown bin at my grocery store, I tossed it in my cart.
Confronted with how to cook this thing, I sent it through my rigorous food betterment routine (not really a thing... I just now made it up).
Step 1: Identify the Weakness
Turkey is dry. In this case, I am the weakness. Meat gets dry when you overcook it. I am guilty of doing this. With a whole bird, it's tough to hit your target temps without going over/under on any one piece. Theoretically smaller homogenous cuts should be easier. I still manage to overcook. Maybe because raw poultry is disgusting and I'm trying to cook the ick out. I could take a deep dive into my personal cooking psychology here, but instead lets...
Step 2: Compensate for the (perceived) Weakness
When choosing complementary colors on the color wheel, you look to the other side of the wheel. In our cooking dilemma we must simply discover the ingredient on the food wheel (also not a thing) opposite of dry turkey. Don't fret, I already did the work for you.
Rolling your eyes? Yeah, I know. I get it. This is not original. If you've looked for a recipe on Pinterest lately, you'll find that all the top hits are "Bacon Wrapped (insert any food item)". I can't even look there for dinner ideas anymore. The fact is I don't want to wrap my apple pie in bacon (I don't think...) and some foods are pretty awesome on their own. No bacon required.
Still I come to you today, a little ashamed, to tell you that IT IS A MORAL IMPERATIVE THAT YOU SMOKE YOUR TURKEY UNDER A SALTY FATTY PORK BLANKET! Sorry about the yelling. I get a little excited. But seriously, it is really REALLY good. Do it.
Step 1: Simplest Lists Ever
- Turkey tenderloin
- Bacon (enough to cover the top, half pound should be more than enough)
- Black pepper
- Grill or Smoker (I used a Traeger pellet grill)
Really. That's it. Don't try to make this more difficult than it needs to be.
Step 2: Get After the Grub
- Get your cooking apparatus moving to 225°. On my Traeger, that consists of switching it on and turning the knob to smoke, lid open. Once it's smoking, shut the lid, turn the knob to 225°
- Rinse tenderloin in the sink. Pat dry*
- Make a bacon lattice draped over the top and sides of the tenderloin, securing with toothpicks
- Season with a few pinches of ground black pepper
- Insert thermometer into the meaty center and transfer to the grill/smoker
- When the tenderloin's internal temp reaches 165°(2ish hours, depending on size), pull it off and allow it to rest a few minutes
- Slice it up and serve. DO NOT EXPECT TO HAVE LEFTOVERS.
Damn. Doing delicious stuff is easy. Now go be a hero!
*For some reason, there is a national debate about this step. Unnecessary, risk of cross contamination, blah-blah-blah. My dislike of slimy poultry exceeds my fear of germs, so I rinse and pat. Do what you want, but leave me out of this debate. If I come down with salmonella from licking my sink, you can revel in the smug satisfaction of knowing you were right.