We found these great stuffed tenderloins at our local grocery store a month or two ago. We’ve bought them a couple of times and enjoyed the flavor combination immensely. So when it came time for Don’s annual “guys” hunting trip he decided he wanted to bring some for his meal contribution. (All the meals are split up between the guys so each contributes a particular item for one day’s meal. It’s a system that works out really well.) Unfortunately, our plan to simply buy a handful of prepackaged tenderloins went awry when the grocery store had none. Doh! So we bought 5 packages of tenderloin, a handful of jalapenos, and cream cheese to make our own.
First, let me tell you, it’s WAY cheaper to do your own! We were paying $17.99 for the pre-made ones; these were about $6 each when all was said and done. HUGE savings. Lesson. Learned. Make your own. 🙂
We needed to prepare enough for about 12 guys so we bought 5 tenderloins, planning to add a 6th from our freezer (pre-made) so that he would have 6 to take, estimating that each loin would feed about 2.5 people (we usually have some leftover when we make one for just the two of us.)
But lo and behold, the 5 tenderloin packages held 2 tenderloins each! Bonus! We made 6 for hunting and kept 4 for us. Sweet.
We didn’t know how much cream cheese and jalapeno mix we would need so we went all in with three packages of cream cheese, about 10 large jalapenos, and a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic. We only removed the stems from the jalapenos, roughly chopped them, and then pulsed them into bits in the food processor. Then we combined it all in a bowl and hand mixed it together. (With semi-hard cream cheese it takes a little muscle. Let it soften before you start if you have the opportunity.)
To prepare, simply butterfly a tenderloin, rub the jalapeno butter (as we like to call it) onto the loin, fold it back over, wrap it in bacon (oh yea), and sprinkle with a little extra spices. We used a blend of chipotle pepper spice, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, and a little sugar.
Gloves were a good way to go.
Previously, we have followed the instructions on the prepared packages which indicated to bake the tenderloin in the oven at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes. This is a good option if you’re cooking inside. It does come out good. I’ve heard others like to cook them at a higher temp, say 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. We haven’t tried that yet.
At the ranch, the boys wanted to use the smoker. Now, I must apologize in advance, I didn’t take any pictures. I should have. It. Was. Amazing. And I don’t normally like smoked meat. I smoked the loins for a little over 90 minutes at roughly 300 degrees. But let me tell you, managing the temp in a smoker is not easy! That darn thing dropped below 200 while waiting for the right time to put the meat on and then I had to fiddle with it to get it back up to 300. Once I figured out the mechanics I managed to keep it fairly consistent around 300 but it did take a lot of monitoring, adding wood, opening or closing the vent. I guess for my first time ever operating a HUGE smoker I did a pretty good job. Even if I did come out of it smelling like I’d jumped in a campfire.
Yes, I WAS at the guys hunting ranch during their man time but that’s another story. Thankfully they were very sweet to me and allowed me to crash the last night due to extenuating circumstances. See…proof I was there! 🙂
So, if you’re looking to smoke your loins, 🙂 which came out heavenly if you missed that part, aim for 300 degrees and adjust your cook time based on what happens with your temperature. Above all, aim for an internal temperature of 160. (Although some sources say the standard minimum has dropped to 145; the old standard of 160 just sticks out in our minds when cooking.) Mine was to temp at about 90 minutes but the guys were not back from hunting yet so I closed the smoker down to reduce the heat and let them sit at about 200 for another 15 minutes or so, then took them out to rest.
We still have 4 loins in the freezer. We look forward to an opportunity to share them. I’ve already had requests to have guests for dinner. 🙂
Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.