Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin will be the juiciest pork of your life, with caramelized bacon and a sweet and tangy glaze!

This Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin makes an impressive, delicious centerpiece for the holidays and special occasions that everyone will want seconds of!  The pork is extremely juicy, slathered in a sweet and tangy chili Dijon glaze, all wrapped in tantalizing, crispy, caramelized bacon.  This recipe may look impressive, but is deceptively easy to make AND it’s entirely prep ahead friendly! Serve this Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with a side of Pear Salad and Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese for a satisfying meal the whole family will gobble up!

Pork tenderloin is a lean, tasty alternative to chicken and a chameleon when it comes to flavorings. Don’t miss our favorite Garlic Lemon Butter Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Hoisin Blackberry Pork Tenderloin and Chili Dijon Pork Tenderloin. If you’re looking for a slow cooker option my honey pork loin recipe is also fantastic (note that recipe is for loin and not tenderloin).

How to Make Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Video

up close of bacon wrapped pork tenderloin cut in slices on a cutting board
how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by baking in a skillet

Recipe Ingredients

This easy recipe for pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon has three components: the brine, the homemade spice rub, and the chili Dijon sauce. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this pork tenderloin recipe (see measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

For the pork: 

  • Pork tenderloin: The star of the show! Do NOT confuse pork tenderloin with regular pork loin. They’re two separate cuts of meat.   Pork tenderloin is almost always sold with two tenderloins per package. Each tenderloin weighs roughly 1-1 ½ pounds, for a total of 2-3 pounds per package. You will only use one of the two pork tenderloins sold in one package for this recipe.  
  • Bacon: Use traditional bacon for this recipe, NOT thick cut, which is too thick to get crispy in the allotted baking time. You’ll need anywhere between 7 to 10 pieces depending on the width of the bacon and the size of your pork tenderloin.

For the brine: 

  • Kosher salt: Do not use regular table salt in place of the kosher salt. Table salt is more finely milled and therefore tastes saltier.   If you only have table salt, use half the amount.
  • Warm water:  You want the water warm enough to be able to dissolve the salt.  Warm water from the tap, bordering on hot, is perfectly fine. 
  • Balsamic vinegar: Just a splash helps to tenderize and flavor the meat.  You may also use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. 
  • Brown sugar: This balances the vinegar and pairs well with the salty bacon. 
  • Ice cubes: You’ll add 1 cup of ice cubes to the brine to bring it back to room temperature before adding the pork.   

For the Rub and Glaze: 

  • Dry rub:  Accessible chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper are mixed together then rubbed all over the pork before searing it to create an irresistible crust of flavor.
  • Asian sweet chili sauce:  This sauce is a sweet and spicy explosion of flavor!  Please don’t confuse it for “chili sauce/paste” without the “sweet” or your mouth will be on fire! Asian sweet chili sauce can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  It is sometimes labeled “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.”  I use Mae Ploy brand.
  • Dijon mustard: Dijon is a tad more intense and complex than yellow mustard. You can use smooth or coarse Dijon. 
  • Honey:  This balances the tangy mustard and spicy chili sauce and helps promote beautiful caramelization.

 

showing how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by slicing pork

HOW TO MAKE bacon wrapped pork tenderloin

Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin is easy to make in 5 steps:

  • brine
  • season
  • sear
  • wrap
  • bake

Here’s an overview of how to make pork tenderloin wrapped with bacon (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

Step 1: Brine the Pork Tenderloin 

  • What is brining?  Brining pork simply means submerging it in a solution of salt and water to increase the moisture capacity of the meat.  The salty brine accomplishes two things: 1) hydrates the cells of the muscle tissues via osmosis; 2) breaks down the proteins so they can no longer contract when cooking, trapping in all that moisture.  Or in other words, less moisture is squeezed out and lost when cooking creating juicier pork!
  • How to brine pork: Mix the kosher salt with warm water in order to dissolve the salt, then mix in the vinegar, brown sugar and ice cubes, followed by the pork tenderloin.  I place the brining bag in a bowl or a large liquid measuring cup in order to prop it up and make it easier to work with.
  • Dry before seasoning: After 20 minutes, thoroughly rinse the pork and pat it dry.  If you don’t rinse the pork, it will be too salty – so don’t forget this step! 
a collage showing how to make bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin by brining the pork

Step 2: Make the Dry Rub and Sauce 

  • Make the dry rub: While the pork is brining, you’ll make the dry rub and the chili-Dijon sauce simply by whisking the ingredients together in two separate bowls.
a collage showing how to make bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin by mixing the glaze ingredients together

Step 3: Season and Sear the Pork 

  • Dry rub the pork: Evenly rub the spice mix over the pork tenderloin and pat it into the pork on all sides.
  • Tuck in the tail:  Tuck the thin tail end of the fillet under so the pork is a more even thickness and fits into a cast iron skillet.
  • Sear pork:  Heat vegetable oil over medium- high heat.  Add the pork tenderloin and sear until golden on all sides. Searing the pork creates a caramelized crust, which locks in the juices and creates complex flavors that cannot be achieved any other way.
a collage showing how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by rubbing the pork tenderloin with a spice rub
showing how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by searing pork

Step 4: Wrap Pork in Bacon 

  • Prep the bacon: Lay the bacon strips vertically on a cutting board, slightly overlapping. 
  • Wrap the pork: Place the seared pork at the end of the arranged bacon.  At this point, you can double check you have the correct amount of bacon and adjust as needed.  Slip a long knife under the bacon and pork tenderloin and use it to help you lift the bacon and roll the pork so the bacon wraps around the fillet.
a collage showing how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by laying out strips of pork on a cutting board, then wrapping the pork tenderloin

Step 5: Bake 

  • Top with sauce: Transfer the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin to a cast iron skillet seam side down.  Separate out some of the chili-Dijon sauce and brush it all over the bacon. 
  • Bake: Bake the pork tenderloin for about 20 minutes, then baste it with the pan drippings and additional reserved chili-Djion glaze.
  • Broil: Pop the tenderloin back in the oven and bake for a few more minutes, then finish it off by broiling to help crisp up the bacon. 
a collage showing how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by baking pork, then brushing with glaze, then broiling and basting again

Step 6: Rest Before Serving 

  • Let pork rest: Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with additional chili-Dijon sauce if desired. 
showing how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by brushing the pork with glaze after baking
  • If you don’t brine the pork:  Make sure to remove the pork from the refrigerator 1 hour before searing to help it come to room temperature. 
  • Thoroughly rinse the pork after brining so it isn’t too salty: You can always add salt after cooking but it’s hard to take away!
  • Overlap the slices of bacon: When wrapping the pork, make sure that the bacon slices are slightly overlapping because they will shrink while baking. 
  • Trim bacon if desired:  Only the bacon on the outside of the pork tenderloin will become crispy, not the bacon that is overlapped. So, I suggest trimming the length of the bacon after wrapping so it only overlaps by 1 ½ inches or so.  The bacon will shrink while it cooks, and you’ll be left with only crispy bacon!
  • Use toothpicks if needed:  You shouldn’t have a problem with the bacon staying in place by placing the bacon seam side down in the skillet, but if the bacon is unruly, you can secure it with a few toothpicks. 
  • The bacon won’t look very crispy: After the initial bake and baste, don’t be alarmed when the bacon doesn’t have much color. It will crisp up only after basting for the second time and broiling.
  • Leave room to broil: Overcooked pork tenderloin is dry pork tenderloin because it is a very lean cut of meat. So, take care not to cook the pork to full temperature before broiling, we want plenty of time to crisp up that bacon!
  • Use a thermometer: The only accurate way to check your pork tenderloin temperature is with an instant read thermometer. There are many variables when it comes to cooking pork tenderloin such as size, thickness, actual oven temperature, searing level and your desired level of doneness. To eliminate the guesswork and guarantee perfectly cooked, juicy pork tenderloin every time, invest in an instant read meat thermometer. This is the exact one I use as seen in the video.
  • Pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon takes longer to cook:  Note that this method of baking pork tenderloin takes almost twice as long as traditional baked pork tenderloin because of the bacon layer, so be patient and don’t be alarmed!
  • Rest before slicing: Let the pork tenderloin rest 10 minutes before slicing.  This time allows time for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the pork.
how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by baking in a skillet
  • Brine: Mix up the brine by adding peppercorns, rosemary and/or thyme.  You can swap the vinegar for orange juice, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
  • Spice rub: The spice rub can be made with any combination of spices or use your favorite spice blend. You can go Cajun, Jerk, Fajita, Italian, etc.
  • Swap sauce: Use virtually anything! Pick a sauce from your favorite recipe and brush it over the bacon-wrapped pork before baking. 
  • Add a dipping sauce: Serve the recipe with your favorite like horseradish sauce, chimichurri sauce, etc.
  • Add veggies: Cook a pan of vegetables in the oven as the pork cooks for a complete meal. Note, because this pork tenderloin recipe takes longer to cook, you’ll need to add the vegetables halfway through cooking.
showing how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin by slicing pork into slices
top view of bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin on a cutting board

Pork Tenderloin FAQS

What Is Pork Tenderloin? 

Pork tenderloin — also called pork filet, pork steak, or Gentleman’s Cut — is one of the most tender, lean proteins with fabulous flavor. It is a long, narrow muscle that runs along the backbone of a pig. This muscle is non-weight bearing and performs very few actions so it has little connective tissue and muscle fibers traditionally toughened by exercise. As a result, pork tenderloin lives up to its name as a tender loin.

Pork tenderloin is also extremely low in fat – about as lean as skinless chicken breasts! It is easy to cook, relatively quick to cook and the leftovers don’t dry out (if not initially overcooked). 

Pork tenderloin can be baked whole like we are in this recipe, cut into slices and pounded into cutlets (like this pork medallions recipe), cut into cubes for kebabs (like this al pastor kabob recipe), cubed for stir fries or cut into slices for satay. There are so many ways to enjoy succulent pork tenderloin!

Pork Tenderloin vs. Pork Loin

Before you make this pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon, it’s important you purchase pork tenderloin and NOT pork loin – they are not the same.  If you use pork loin, you will have to increase the baking time. 
 
Cut of Meat:
Pork tenderloin comes from the loin of the pig which runs from the hip to the shoulder. Pork loin roast comes from the back of a pig, starting from the shoulder and running to where the animal’s leg begins. 
 
Size:
Pork tenderloin is thin and small, usually 1-2 pounds; it usually comes in a package of two tenderloins. Pork loin is long and cylindrical in shape. A whole loin weighs up to 20 pounds which is then cut down into various chops and roasts.  Pork loin roast can be cut to order anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds.
 
Texture and flavor: 
Pork tenderloin gets its name for a reason – it is one of the most tender cuts of pork because it comes from a muscle that doesn’t receives much, if any, exercise. Pork loin roast is mildly flavored and relatively lean and not naturally tender.  It must be cooked longer, low and slow, in order to become tender.
 
Cooking Method:
Pork tenderloin cooks quite quickly at higher temperatures, anywhere from 350 degrees to 425 degrees F. Pork loin should be slow-roasted in order to become tender. It should not be cooked quickly or roasted at high temperatures. 

Should I Remove the Silverskin on the Pork Tenderloin? 

The silverskin is part of a sinew on one side of the pork and looks like thin, silvery fat. It is best removed because it doesn’t melt like fat and can become tough and chewy once cooked. Many packages will come pre-trimmed and ready to go or it’s easy to trim yourself. 

There isn’t anything special or complicated about removing the silverskin. To remove, slip a sharp knife in between the silverskin and the meat to create a “tab.” Angle the knife so the blade is facing toward the silver skin away from the meat. Hold the tab taught while you cut the silverskin with a sawing motion until it’s cut free.

How do you make juicy pork tenderloin?

1.  Brine the pork.  If you’ve never brined your pork before, it will change your culinary life!   Brining literally changes the molecular structure of the pork and only takes 20 minutes. You will especially love that it works better than a marinade without having to plan ahead.
2. Sear the pork.  This creates a caramelized crust of flavor that can’t be beat and helps insulate the pork for optimal juiciness.  
3.  Don’t overcook the pork.  Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat and shouldn’t be cooked above 145 degrees F.
4.  Rest the pork. Let the pork rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices that have been forced to the center of the pork to redistribute evenly throughout the meat. 

How Long Should Pork Tenderloin Be Left in the Brine? 

Brining pork tenderloin literally takes 20 minutes – you actually can’t brine pork tenderloin longer than that or it will become mealy. 

What Internal Temperature Should Pork Tenderloin Be Cooked To?

The USDA guidelines state that pork can be safely consumed when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F with a resting time of three minutes, but anywhere between 145 degrees F (medium-rare) and 160 degrees F (medium) is considered acceptable. Your tenderloin will increase in temperature anywhere from 5-10 degrees as it rests, so I remove my pork as soon as it hits 145 degrees F for juiciest pork.

How do I Check the Internal Temperature of Pork Tenderloin? 

The most accurate way to check the internal temperature of pork tenderloin is with an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin. Instant read thermometers eliminate all of the guesswork – you simply cannot make perfectly cooked pork tenderloin without one!

You can pick up an inexpensive instant read thermometer at the grocery store or Amazon, or I HIGHLY recommend this digital probe thermometer – you will never overcook any protein again!  Instant read thermometers can be temperamental, but this digital probe thermometer retrieves temperature precisely to within ±1.8°F (±1°C). 

Best of all, this digital thermometer comes with two probes.  You insert one probe into each of the pork tenderloins (through the foil) and you leave it in the pork while it cooks, whether on the stove, grill or oven.  Set the desired temperature and an alarm will ring as soon as it reaches the set temperature.  This works particularly well when cooking pork tenderloins of different sizes/thickness because they will be done at different times.  Now, just walk away and be rewarded with succulently juicy pork tenderloin every time.

Is it okay for cooked pork to be pink in the middle?

Yes, pork tenderloin is safe to consume when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F which means it will be slightly pink inside.

This 145-degrees temperature is 15 degrees less than the old standards of 160 degrees F which would mean the pork would be completely cooked through without any pink.  The research shows, however, that 145 degrees F is the same safety-wise as cooking pork to 160 degrees F AND yields much more tender pork.

This is what your pork will look like with the allotted 5-minute resting time:
pork taken out at 145 F, will rise to 150 F – slices will be somewhat pink and moist
pork taken out at 150 F, will rise to 155 F – slices will be a little pink and moist
pork taken out at 160 F, will rise to 165 F – slices will not be pink but still should be relatively moist

showing how to serve bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin by serving with mashed potatoes and vegetables

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

This Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin makes an impressive, delicious centerpiece for the holidays and special occasions that everyone will want seconds of!  The pork is extremely juicy, slathered in a sweet and tangy chili Dijon glaze, all wrapped in tantalizing, crispy, caramelized bacon.  This recipe may look impressive, but is deceptively easy to make AND it’s entirely prep ahead friendly! Serve this Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with a side of Pear Salad and Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese for a satisfying meal the whole family will gobble up!
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins

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Ingredients

PORK BRINE

SPICE MIX

  • 1/2 TBS EACH chili powder, garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH paprika, pepper

CHILI DIJON SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup Asian sweet red chili sauce (like Mae Ploy)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey

BACON

  • 7 to 10 slices traditional bacon (NOT thick!)

Instructions

  • Brine: In a gallon-size freezer bag (I prop it up in a larger bowl to make it easier to work with), mix kosher salt with warm water until dissolved. Whisk in vinegar, brown sugar and ice, then add the pork (make sure pork is submerged). Brine for exactly 20 minutes (meanwhile see steps below). Remove pork from brine, RINSE thoroughly and pat very dry. The pork can become mealy if left in the brine any longer than 20 minutes.
  • Spice Mix and Sauce: While the pork is brining, whisk together all of the Spice Mix ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate small bowl, whisk together all of the Chili Dijon Sauce ingredients. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Spice Rub: Evenly rub the dried pork all over with the Spice Mix. Tuck the thin end of the fillet under so the pork is roughly the same thickness from end to end, and so it fits in a cast iron skillet (see photos in post or watch video if needed).
  • Sear Pork: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot and just smoking, add pork. Sear each side until golden, then transfer to a plate. Once the skillet is cool enough to handle, wipe clean. Meanwhile…
  • Prep bacon: Lay the bacon strips vertically on a cutting board, slightly overlapping (see photo in post). There should be enough bacon so when rolled, it will wrap the length of the pork.
  • Wrap pork in bacon: When the pork is cool enough to handle, place it at the end of the arranged bacon, closest to you. At this point, double check you have the correct width of bacon, and adjust as needed. Slip a long knife under the bacon and pork tenderloin and use it to help you lift the bacon and roll the pork so the bacon wraps around the fillet.
  • Optional – Trim bacon if desired: Only the bacon on the outside of the pork tenderloin will become crispy, not the bacon that is overlapped. So, I suggest trimming the length of the bacon after wrapping so it only overlaps by 1 ½ inches or so. The bacon will shrink while it cooks, and you’ll be left with only crispy bacon!
  • Glaze: Transfer tenderloin back to the wiped-out skillet seam side DOWN. Separate out 2 tablespoons Chili Dijon Sauce and brush it evenly over the bacon wrapped pork.
  • Bake: Bake at 400 degrees F until the pork registers about 138 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 20 minutes depending on thickness. (Note: this recipe takes much longer to cook than traditional pork tenderloin due to the bacon).
  • Baste: Remove from the oven and baste/brush the bacon with the pooled pan juices, as well as some additional reserved Chili Dijon Sauce that never touched the raw pork (this is what will make the bacon deeply golden).
  • Broil: Return to the oven and turn the broiler on high and broil until bacon is crispy, taking care that the bacon doesn’t burn. Check to see that internal temperature is about 145-150 degrees F before removing from the oven. This means the pork will be juicy and slightly pink in the middle.
  • Rest: Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Brush with sauce once more before slicing into thick slices. Serve with remaining Chili Dijon Sauce on the side.

Video

Notes

  • Pork tenderloin: Do NOT confuse pork tenderloin with regular pork loin. They’re two separate cuts of meat.   Pork tenderloin is almost always sold with two tenderloins per package. Each tenderloin weighs roughly 1-1 ½ pounds, for a total of 2-3 pounds per package. You will only use one of the two pork tenderloins sold in one package for this recipe.  
  • Asian sweet chili sauce:  This sauce is a sweet and spicy explosion of flavor!  Please don’t confuse it for “chili sauce/paste” without the “sweet” or your mouth will be on fire! Asian sweet chili sauce can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  It is sometimes labeled “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.”  I use Mae Ploy brand.
  • Kosher salt: Do not use regular table salt in place of the kosher salt. Table salt is more finely milled and therefore tastes saltier.   If you only have table salt, use half the amount.
  • Use a thermometer: The only accurate way to check your pork tenderloin temperature is with an instant read thermometer. There are many variables when it comes to cooking pork tenderloin such as size, thickness, actual oven temperature, searing level and your desired level of doneness. To eliminate the guesswork and guarantee perfectly cooked, juicy pork tenderloin every time, invest in an instant read meat thermometer. This is the exact one I use as seen in the video.
  • Storage: Leftover pork tenderloin should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; freeze beyond that.

Prep ahead

This Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin is easy to prepare ahead of time so all you have do to is pop it in the oven and bake or you can prep it up to different stages:
  • Prep Everything!   Follow the recipe up to wrapping the pork in bacon, but do not add the glaze.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours; store the glaze separately.  When ready to bake, transfer the pork to the cast iron skillet and let come to room temperature for 1 hour.  Brush with glaze and bake. 
  • Brine: Brine the pork, rinse and dry, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours ahead of time. Bring to room temperature before searing.
  • Rub: Brine, rinse, dry and coat with spice rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  • Sear: Brine, rinse, dry, spice rub and sear. Let cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 60 minutes before baking.
  • Sauce: Can be whisked together and stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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