Howdy. Everyone still alive? Doing OK? Do anything fun this week? How was your weekend? Fine, thanks. Got any plans this weekend? Oh, nothing.
Looks like it's all good. I haven't been on Twitter for a while, nor have I been on our fanbase's crazy little corner of the internet much. But it seems like y'all didn't let the house burn down this week.
Here, just watch this for a second and breathe in and out a few times:
We can argue about the best Pac song there is, but for me it isn't Keep Ya Head Up or California Love. It's his ode to his mother, Dear Mama, with the lyrics right before the chorus: "It's a struggle everyday, gotta roll on / And there's no way I can pay you back / But my plan is to show you that I understand / You are appreciated" that just get me every time.
I was on Pac and Biggie Week DEFCON 5 this week. I had my finger on the trigger. But I backed off the ledge. Just calmed down a little bit and realized it'll all be alright. I can't waggle my finger and tell you "dude it's just sports" because, well, I care more about how the college kids in winged helmets do 12ish Saturdays a year more than anything. And most of you do too. That's ok. This was a shitty loss - the worst I've seen in a very long time - but is anyone seriously doubting there are brighter days ahead? We have to deal with bros from East Lansing being themselves for another year, lots of media stories, some ugliness from our own fanbase, ok, fine. But football is still what gives us joy beyond all things, and it'll come back next week and we'll all be OK.
The time will come when the strength of MnB fails and there's nothing we can do but redo 2Pac lyrics. But it is not this day. This day, we drink (and smoke meat).
So this off week we're gonna smoke a pork tenderloin, and we're gonna make it super delicious, ok? OK.
- A charcoal or gas grill you can reasonably heat to about 225 degrees for a couple hours
- A foil pan of soaked wood chips of your choosing
- 2-3lb pork tenderloin - this'll probably be 2 1.5 lb loins in a package. Great. It's cheap right now.
- Some maple syrup
- a bottle BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's if I don't make my own, but that's another day)
- Butter - maybe about 1/8 cup
- Rub of your choosing - just don't let it be too salty. Pork's got plenty of that. So maybe some cumin, cocoa, red pepper,
- 1lb of thick cut bacon
First, get the grill going to about 225. Ideally, one side has most of the heat and one side has indirect heat. Gas is easy - turn one side to medium-high and one side to as low as possible. With charcoal, try to get most of the briquettes/lumps on one side and few, if any, on the other.
If you want the true smoky flavor, you need to add a small foil pan of woodchips soaked in water and - a little black coffee if you want to get fancy. Put those over the hot part of the grill. Make sure there's plenty of water in there - check every 15 min or so otherwise it's going to dry out. Moisture's really important.
While your grill is heating heating, let's prep your pork.
Prep the pork by patting it dry with some paper towels. Then melt the butter and mix it with some maple syrup and barbecue sauce and just slather the hell out of your tenderloins with it. Then add your rub. Again, avoid getting too salty.
Now the fun part: wrap your pork in bacon. Each piece of bacon should go around it fully and then add a toothpick/skewer to keep it in place. Once you're pretty much fully wrapped up, go ahead and brush on some more of your butter/syrup/sauce creation. You're ready to move to the grill.
Keep this on the low-heat side. You want low, slow indirect heat for a couple hours. I'd say start checking at about an hour and 45 minutes. I've done this whole thing in an hour and a half for smaller tenderloins (meh) to about 2 1/2 hours (great). You want your total time to be around two and a half hours - you want the internal temperature around 145 degrees. Baste with sauce every time you check the water, but be careful not to let too much heat out.
Then let the thing sit for about 15 minutes and remeasure the temp - you're looking for right around 150-155 degrees.
If you want to get really fancy, you could put some potatoes in a rack underneath the pork and let them cook in the drippings, but this is a quick and dirty pork loin recipe. Your call.
Serve this guy sliced on some toasted bread with some of that BBQ sauce and let no one tell you northerners can't grill again.
Your Beer of the Week: Shiner Bock
Take it easy this weekend with a Shiner Bock. You want a beer that goes great with smoking hot grills. Yeah, I know it's a little overpriced in the Midwest and not UGH GREAT CRAFT beer, but it's excellent barbecue beer. It doesn't overpower anything and if you need to cook it down into sauce, use it. You won't be disappointed. Don't mess with their shandies or whatever. Grab a six-pack and enjoy your cookout.
Until next week and football, Cheers, Michigan Faithful!