Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 30

***Editor’s Intro ~ The Super­bowl is right around the cor­ner and that means par­ties. Lots and lots of par­ties. Some par­ties are bet­ter than oth­ers. If you’re par­ty is the best because you have chips, dip, one of those six foot subs and chili made with your secret recipe I have a new flash. Nobody else thinks that you throw the best par­ty. You want to make sure peo­ple are talk­ing about your par­ty more than the inevitable blow out in the game or the com­mer­cials, then start with this recipe. It’s rel­a­tive­ly quick with no more than about 90 min­utes on the grill. And by mak­ing slid­ers this recipe becomes fin­ger food, per­fect for a Super­bowl par­ty. I’ll pass it off to Dad for the step by step, pic­ture by pic­ture, fool­proof instruc­tions***

The inspi­ra­tion for this grilling recipe came from Joe Thomann of Bad to the Bone BBQ dur­ing our annu­al Back­yard BBQ Bash last fall. Sev­er­al of our staff raved about the sam­ples Joe passed out and sug­gest­ed I pay a vis­it to his booth. Joe was eager to share his cre­ation and gave a ver­bal descrip­tion of the process that pro­duced this tasty treat. Sev­er­al weeks lat­er I attempt­ed to recre­ate Joe’s gem from mem­o­ry on yet anoth­er grilling adven­ture where we shoot from the hip based on inspi­ra­tion such as this. Here’s hop­ing I did jus­tice to Joe’s fine effort.

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Ten­der­loin Ingre­di­ents:

2 whole gar­lic ears (not cloves, the entire ears)
Driz­zle of olive oil
2 pork ten­der­loins
8 oz. cream cheese (at room tem­per­a­ture)
1 bunch, fresh chives
8–12 slices bacon
Slid­er buns

Yield: 16–20 Slid­ers, depend­ing on how thick you slice them

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloin - 1

Grilling Direc­tions:

To begin, I will roast some gar­lic for the stuff­ing. Slice the stem top of the ears to expose the fra­grant gar­lic cloves inside and driz­zle with olive oil:

Bacon Wrapped, Stiffed Pork Tenderloins - 2

Bacon Wrapped, Stiffed Pork Tenderloins - 3

Place in a foil tent and roast for about an hour at 350:

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While the gar­lic roasts, remove any excess fat from the ten­der­loins:

Bacon Wrapped, Stiffed Pork Tenderloins - 5

Don’t sweat the “sil­ver skin” as it’s not tough like with a beef ten­der­loin. It will melt away dur­ing the cook­ing process.

That knife above is my 6 inch Ker­shaw Shun Util­i­ty Knife. We’re big fans of the Shun (pro­nounced shoon) knives. I went to William Sono­ma and tried all the big knives, actu­al­ly hold­ing them and using them. All of them were razor sharp, but this was by far the most com­fort­able. If you don’t have a William Sono­ma near by, you can also get them on Ama­zon. They aren’t cheap, but they last for­ev­er.

But­ter­fly the pork ten­der­loins being care­ful to not cut all the way through the meat:

Bacon Wrapped, Stiffed Pork Tenderloins - 6

If you’re curi­ous about the knife, it’s a Shun Clas­sic 6 inch util­i­ty knife. You will see a lot of them on this site as we are big time Shun fans.

Spread the ten­der­loins on a cut­ting board and cov­er with plas­tic wrap:

Bacon Wrapped, Stiffed Pork Tenderloins - 7

Pound the meat to ½ to ¾ inch thick­ness as shown:

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Bacon Wrapped, Stiffed Pork Tenderloins - 8a

The meat mal­let I used for this can be seen here.

After an hour in the oven and the house smelling amaz­ing, pull the gar­lic from the oven. Notice how gold­en brown it is?

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Squeeze the roast­ed cloves onto the inside of the pork ten­der­loins, mash, and rub into the meat:

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Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 12

At this point the option is leave the cloves in or remove them after rub­bing. I chose to leave them in:

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Divide the cream cheese in half. This may look to be too much, but remem­ber some will be lost in the cook­ing process:

Bacon Wrapped, Stiffed Pork Tenderloins - 9

Smear the cream cheese over each ten­der­loin.

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The next step adds anoth­er lay­er of fla­vor as well as more col­or. Fresh chives are fine­ly chopped with my favorite Shun chef’s knife:

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 15

That knife is the Ker­shaw Shun Ken Onion 8 inch chef knife. It is the best knife I’ve ever owned. It’s incred­i­bly sharp and prac­ti­cal­ly ergonom­i­cal­ly per­fect. It feels like an exten­sion of my hand. If you would like one your­self, they aren’t cheap, but they are worth it. You can get one here

The chives are sprin­kled even­ly over both pork ten­der­loins and I’m ready to wrap with bacon:

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Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 18

***Editor’s Note ~ You could also mix the roast­ed gar­lic and fresh chives in with the cream cheese before spread­ing onto the pork ten­der­loins***

Now roll the pork ten­der­loins up:

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 19

One of the pork ten­der­loins bacon wrapped and secured with tooth­picks. Then repeat with the sec­ond:

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Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 21

You could also use cook­ing twine here, and I would’ve but I was out. I stopped buy­ing my cook­ing twine local­ly because it is so expen­sive for the most piti­ful lit­tle rolls. I got mine on Ama­zon with a stain­less hold­er that I can refill again and again for the cheap. If you just want the ball of cook­ing twine, they have that too.

My lat­est BBQ pit is a Napoleon ket­tle char­coal grill:

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This fan­tas­tic ket­tle grill fea­tures a hinged lid (hooray!) which means no look­ing for a place to set a hot grill on the ground or try­ing to find which side has the hook like with oth­er ket­tle grills. The entire ket­tle rotates 360 degrees inside the stand. The stain­less side table dis­ap­pears beneath the main body reduc­ing the foot­print for stor­age. The cast iron grates flip up on 2 sides and have 3 dif­fer­ent height set­tings. The ash catch­er removes eas­i­ly and the whole thing is on wheels. You can see this awe­some ket­tle grill for your­self at Arnold Stove and Fire­place Cen­ter. Stop in and tell them Grillin’ Fools sent you.

The bacon wrapped, stuffed pork ten­der­loins will be smoked with apri­cot wood:

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I set up the Napoleon ket­tle for indi­rect grilling with coals to the right and left of the bacon wrapped pork ten­der­loins in the cen­ter:

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That’s one hot ash fire!

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***Editor’s Note ~ Should you buy one of these, I would rec­om­mend not pick­ing up the cast iron grill grate and flip­ping it over at chest height like dad did to clean the bot­tom. If you do, you just might lose one of the flaps on either side that flip up, again, like dad did. That suck­er shat­tered into about 30 pieces. That’s why one side is always open on that bad boy. He’s work­ing on get­ting a replace­ment***

The bacon wrapped pork ten­der­loins are on the Napoleon ket­tle grill, smoke wood added, lid dropped, and vents adjust­ed. These should be smoked for about an hour to hour and a half, depend­ing on the heat of your grill, or as Joe said, “When the bacon’s done it’s done.”

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Here’s a peek after 30 min­utes of grilling on the Napoleon. Bacon is brown­ing nice­ly and the stuffed cream cheese is ooz­ing forth:

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 30

The bacon wrapped pork ten­der­loins have smoked for one hour and 15 min­utes and are done, despite one look­ing lighter than the oth­er.  The light­ing was not great after the sun went down:

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I used Joe’s bacon method but sug­gest using a probe ther­mome­ter to make sure they come to the right tem­per­a­ture of around 140–145 degrees for a nice medi­um, although you don’t have to cook pork to medi­um or high­er any­more as explained here.

The bacon wrapped, stuffed pork ten­der­loins are removed from the Napoleon and brought inside to rest before slic­ing and as you can see the bacon for both is nice­ly browned:

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 33

Rest­ing allows for the juices, in an excit­ed state from the heat of being smoked, to calm down and redis­trib­ute through­out the meat. Rest­ing is very, very impor­tant.

Joe served his ten­der­loin slices naked, as appe­tiz­ers. I chose to cre­ate slid­ers. I picked up sweet Hawai­ian rolls at the local mar­ket and they await prepa­ra­tion by my Shun bread knife, it slices every­thing else too!

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Here it is! It’s ready for every­one to dig into a com­bi­na­tion of fla­vors and tex­tures: sweet bread, crispy bacon, smoked pork, and creamy herbed stuff­ing, all cre­at­ing a deli­cious treat that has become a fam­i­ly favorite. Here are a cou­ple pics from each end of the long plate, one of the ten­der­loins is sliced, the oth­er is stay­ing warm until the first one is eat­en:

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 129

Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Tenderloins - 134

Joe, I hope I came close to what you served that day and thanks for the inspi­ra­tion. By the way, Joe Thomann throws their own BBQ com­pe­ti­tion in May. You can get the details here.

If you have any ques­tions or com­ments about this grilling feat, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Bacon Wrapped, Stuffed Pork Ten­der­loins
Recipe type: Entree
Cui­sine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8–10
Pork ten­der­loins stuffed with roast­ed gar­lic, cream cheese and chives, wrapped in bacon and smoked on the grill
  • 2 whole gar­lic ears (not cloves, the entire ears)
  • Driz­zle of olive oil
  • 2 pork ten­der­loins
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (at room tem­per­a­ture)
  • 1 bunch, fresh chives, fine­ly chopped
  • 8–12 slices bacon
  • Slid­er buns
  1. Slice the top off of each ear of gar­lic
  2. Driz­zle with olive oil
  3. Place in foil tent and bake at 350 for 1 hour
  4. Whole gar­lic is roast­ing, remove excess fat from pork ten­der­loins (don’t wor­ry about the sil­ver skin)
  5. But­ter­fly the ten­der­loins by cut­ting length­wise down the mid­dle being care­ful not to cut all the way through
  6. Cov­er with plas­tic wrap and pound with mal­let till ½ to ¾ inch thick
  7. When gar­lic is done, squeeze the roast­ed cloves out onto the ten­der­loins and spread into the meat
  8. Divide cream cheese in half and spread over the ten­der­loins
  9. Spread chives over the cream cheese
  10. Roll the ten­der­loins up and wrap with bacon, secur­ing the bacon in place with tooth­picks
  11. Smoke the ten­der­loins indi­rect at 250–275 for 75–90 min­utes until the bacon is done and the pork has reached at least a min­i­mum inter­nal tem­per­a­ture of 145 degrees
  12. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 min­utes
  13. Slice and place on the buns to serve
Serve with a top­pings bar of a vari­ety of cheeses (havar­ti and pep­per jack work well) and sauces (basil pesto, hon­ey mus­tard, or BBQ sauce), but they can cer­tain­ly be enjoyed with­out any­thing, even a bun. 


I made this recipe with a pork loin instead of a ten­der­loin and it turned out fan­tas­tic. Brought some into work and one of my co-work­ers decid­ed to make a slid­er with a glazed Krispy Kreme donut as the bun. I’ve got to say — that also was deli­cious!



Krispy Kreme bun? You had me at Krispy! Don’t tell my car­di­ol­o­gist!


Made this for din­ner tonight. It was fab­u­lous! I have a great pho­to of it, but I don’t see any way to post it. Thanks for the recipe!


OMG!Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the exten­sive recipe


Do you need to sea­son the out­side of the pork ten­der­loin? Hop­ing to try this for Christ­mas.
Thanks so much,



Not real­ly. Nor­mal­ly we add salt to the out­side, but the bacon has plen­ty of salt in it and that takes care of the sea­son­ing…


I like to brine my ten­der­loin overnight with kosher salt and brown sug­ar and i also add cow­boy can­dy to the cream cheese. 



What be this cow­boy can­dy ye speaketh of? 

I’m not sure why I just jumped back a few cen­turies in terms of my writ­ten speech. So, what’s cow­boy can­dy?


cow­boy can­dy-can­died jalapenos-sweet, spicy and tangy



That sounds like heav­en to me!


I don’t have access to my BBQ right now; can I do this in the oven?


Absolute­ly Shelly…


can this be done in the oven-what temp & how long?? thanks :)



Sure it can be done in the oven. I would fol­low the temps and times that are men­tioned in the posts. Just make sure to take the pork to an inter­nal tem­per­a­ture of at least 145 degrees (still a lit­tle pink) to be safe…


I was already think­ing of using the same ingre­di­ents for my pork loin. Googled the inter­net to see if any­one else had tried cream cheese in smoked meat and came upon your recipe.
I am going to stuff a 4 lb pork loin by roll cut­ting and using the same ingre­di­ents you used here but, I am going to add, fresh Asi­a­go, Romano and sliced baby Porta­bel­la Mush­rooms sauteed in but­ter then wrap in a bacon weave.



That sounds fan­tas­tic. Let me know how that comes out…


I assume I could do this on a gas grill if it can also be done in the oven. Any tips?



On a gas grill, turn on the burn­er on one side and put the meat on the oth­er side. In the oven, just bake till it hits about 145–15. Let me know how it comes out…


I nev­er leave recipe reviews because I am not food crit­ic, but with this meal I don’t have to be one. Amaz­ing. Served up well with but­ter roast­ed corn. Thank you. 


Glad the recipe came out so well, Nick! 


Made this for fam­i­ly this past Sun­day. We cooked it on the grill as instruct­ed (0nly light­ing one side of grill and cook­ing it on unlit side). We made 3 pork ten­der­loins and fed about 8 peo­ple — maybe because it was so incred­i­bly deli­cious. Fol­lowed the recipe exact­ly and, despite the fact that we over­cooked it a bit, it was a huge hit. We used the King’s Hawai­ian din­ner rolls baked as instruct­ed on the pack­age and made an aioli with low fat mayo, sev­er­al jarred roast­ed red pep­pers, about 1/2 can of chopped jalapenos, some red pep­per flakes and hon­ey — put all in blender. The aioli was a great com­ple­ment. Though the cook­ing time for both the gar­lic and the ten­der­loins added to the time til served, the actu­al prepa­ra­tion was a snap. Thank you for such a great recipe! I have already shared it mul­ti­ple times. 



I’m so glad this recipe was such a hit. I real­ly appre­ci­ate you tak­ing the time to let us know. I’m going to for­ward this on to day who penned that recipe so he can see it as well…


I tried this for my fam­i­ly and they all loved it!! What a great recipe! Thank you! 



Glad you enjoyed it! 


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