Truly Heavenly: Bacon Wrapped Bison Tenderloin
If you've ever eaten a succulent bison tenderloin fresh off the grill, you know there's nothing that holds a candle to it in in this world. It's lean, it's amazingly tender, it's juicy, and it has a depth and fullness of flavor unlike any other red meat you've ever eaten. But just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any better, along comes a recipe that takes bison tenderloin, "to a whole 'nother level." Read on to find out how you can raise the bar on bison tenderloin to a level you didn't even know was possible. Ingredients: Bison Tenderloin Usually, one bison tenderloin per person is plenty. On the other hand, when you taste bison tenderloin prepared this way, you might well wish you'd have cooked a couple of extras. Bacon Whatever bacon you have will work. The hickory smoked bacon is nice, but some people prefer the maple syrup smoked variety. You may like to use "thick-cut" bacon for this recipe. Whichever bacon you choose, one piece per tenderloin should be considered the minimum. Spices Salt and pepper to taste, and whatever spices you normally use on red meat will go well with this combination. Remember, tenderloins are quite thick, so you're going to need more spices than you might with a steak with more surface area. That's it! Very simple, very clean. The best recipes are always that way. Instructions: Set the tenderloin out at least an hour before cooking so it has an opportunity to come to room temperature. The bacon can be used cold. Wrap the tenderloin in at least one piece of bacon. The bacon can be secured with string, or you can tie it with butcher's string. When we say "at least one piece of bacon," many people wrap the entire tenderloin in bacon to the point where the bison is not even visible. Go ahead and experiment. If you really like the bacon flavor, and the way it interacts with red meat flavors, use more. If you're not sure, just use one piece. Once the loins are wrapped, go ahead and add spices. As far as cooking, there are several schools of thought. Some chefs say you need to "sear" the bacon before cooking the tenderloin. Others say that searing the bacon heats it up enough that the fat renders out before the tenderloin has come up to temperature, and you lose all the flavor. Some chefs think you cook this on a very hot grill, for a short time. Others say that results in a loin that is well done on the outside and raw in the middle. So what's the best way? At Intermountain Bison, we recommend taking the freshly wrapped tenderloin and searing just the loin (not the bacon) in a very hot pan. That will take about 30 - 40 seconds per side. Then it's off to the oven where it will continue to cook at 200 degrees until the center of the loin reaches 128 degrees Fahrenheit (usually about 30-40 minutes. (NOTE: If you wrap the entire tenderloin in bacon, skip the "searing" step and go right to the oven.) When the tenderloin has reached 128 degrees, take it out of the oven and let rest at least 8 - 10 minutes. Do not be tempted to skip this step. If you do, the juices will run out on your plate and the meat will be dry. That would be the unpardonable sin! Most people like to take a small bite of bacon (or a not so small bite) with a piece of tenderloin. Some just remove the bacon and set it aside, eating only the tenderloin. You'll have to see what works best for you. This recipe will work with beef or other red meat, but why would you want to eat anything other than bison? At Intermountain Bison we don't settle for second best. We suggest you do the same. Let us know how you like this recipe.