Just kill me now
June 17, 2015
Kill. Me. Now.
Because if it gets much better’n this, I don’t know that I can stand it.
Actually, I can. Because there is one thing in this meal that can stand improving in this meal, and it will take me about one or two more tries at it to get it absolutely perfect, and when I do that, watch out. Because this was Sweet Baby Jesus good as it was, and if I can get it any better, well, we may all be in trouble.
Unless the rest of you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have more self-control than I do.
It started out on Facebook the other morning. I scrolled down past this post, backed up to it, and said, “Oh, holy hell. I have to do this. Today.”
Memphis Guinea Pig was visiting. He is amenable to experimentation of the culinary variety. “This” was a creature that involved a whole pineapple, peeled and cored, stuffed with country-style pork ribs (the boneless, mostly loin meat), and the entirety of the thing wrapped in bacon.
And I repeat: Oh, holy hell. I have to try this.
So I did. But I determined I needed to use pork tenderloin, as opposed to country style ribs. So I set out to procure same, as well as pineapple, and some more bacon, becaue I ain’t sure I’ve got enough bacon in the fridge, and one Does Not Want to run out in the course of all this.
So I came home with all the makings, I had tenderloin. I had pineapple, courtesy of the nice person in the produce department at Kroger in Jonesboro (can I just tell you, the new Kroger in Jonesboro is like an amusement park for food; it’s wonderful) procured me two containers of peeled and cored pineapple, albeit it was sliced, on which I had not planned, but it worked out well. I had bacon.
I decided, since I was a bit concerned about the tenderloin getting done in the middle of the pineapple, which is a pretty thick insulator, I ought to sous vide it, which I did, after coating it liberally in Cajun seasoning, for an hour and a half at 135. Bad move. More on that later.
So I got out the sliced, though I didn’t want it sliced, pineapple. Determined I could keep it as a relatively cohesive whole by pinning it together with skewers, so I did that, four per pineapple stack. Then there was the issue of just how I was going to get the tenderloin, diameter X, into the hole in the pineapple, diameter approximately 1/2x.
H’mm, sez I. “Self? I suspect you need to cut that pineapple cylinder in half.” So self did, the halves remaining in a cohesive whole thanks to a total of four skewers at the compass points. I put the now-cooled tenderloin in between the pineapple halves, and proceeded to reassemble the “sandwich.”
H’mm. Big gaps. More tenderloin than holes in pineapple. Well, what if we double-wrap it in bacon; then when the bacon shrinks as it cooks, and the tenderloin shrinks as it cooks, it’ll pull it back together.
Except: (a) the tenderloin is already mostly cooked. And, (b), the bacon is NOT Wrights or Petit Jean, but King Cotton, because it was on sale. Bad move.
So. I put the things together. Meant to sprinkle the pineapple with Cajun seasoning, too, and forgot it (turned out that was not an issue, and I wasn’t fixin’ to unwrap it, anyway). Soaked some wood chips, put them on one end of the grill, turned on the two outside burners, put the pork in the middle on foil.
Went back to check it in 20 minutes. All good. Smoke rolling. Adjusted temp.
Went back in another 30. Houston, we have a problem. Bacon is pulling apart at the pineapple seam, and tenderloin is not shrinking. Necessity being the mother of invention, I get my handy knife, do on-grill surgery halving the tenderloins lengthwise, laying the whole thing down on its cut side, making four pieces instead of the two I’d started out with.
Another 20, and I took the ears of corn, which I’d been soaking, in their husks, in a sinkful of water, on either end, on top of the live burners. Brought out my wine and stood attendance on the grill the last 20 minutes, while the corn cooked and the bacon crisped. Which it never really did, but I called it done and took it up, anyway.
Verdict. Awfully damn good. My sole quibble was the texture of the tenderloin. Since I’d cut the assembled roasts (for lack of a better word) in half, it eliminated the problem that has orignally caused me to cook the tenderloin sous vide before it went on the grill — doing away with the insulation on one side ensured the tenderloin could cook. But the hour and a half in sous vide, while it left the meat wonderfully juicy,also presented me with a texture that was so soft as to be off-putting.
I think next time, if I can’t figure out some way to keep the pineapple mostly whole, I’ll not pre-cook the tenderloin at all.
But the rest of it? Just about perfect. The bacon did nice things melting into the pineapple from the top, while the tenderloin flavored it from the bottom. That was some kickass pineapple. Next time, I might add a bit of a hot note by way of a quick brush with some sriracha or Tabasco. Or not
The sweet corn — soaked in the husk in cold water for a half-hour, 15 minutes on a hot grill, turning every five, was, in a word, perfect. As in, it don’t get no better’n that. I cut mine off the cob, stuck a pat of butter in the middle of it, and nuked it long enough to melt the butter. Heaven.
Because I thought we needed a green thing, I sauteed some snap beans that needed to be used in some canola and sesame oil, with soy sauce, ginger and a little sugar. Couldn’t complain, other than the fact they were kinda superfluous.
All in all, it was quite respectable, and I was much pleased with it, barring the too-soft tenderloin.
You n’ y’mama ‘n ’em try this. It’s worth it.