Earth and smoke: Grilled Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Mushrooms and Pear

by Terry B on May 22, 2013

A butterflied pork tenderloin is stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, pear, shallots and sage, then grilled both indirectly and directly. Recipe below.


We’re experiencing the season’s first real bout of don’t-heat-up-the-kitchen weather here in Chicago. So this weekend, I fired up the grill. For my inaugural grilled meat meal of the year, I turned to a recipe inspired by one of our favorite vegetarians. You may remember the recent vegetarian pasta dish based on a side served by our friend Laura. Well, even though she doesn’t eat meat, she knows how to cook it.

Two elemental flavors come together beautifully in this recipe. With two cups of chopped mushrooms, the filling delivers a delicious, earthy taste. And a combination of indirect and direct grilling adds plenty of smokiness to the pork tenderloin.

The pear adds a slightly sweet note that plays nicely with pork. And sage and pork? What’s not to like? Laura didn’t grill her wonderful stuffed tenderloin; she pan seared it, then roasted it in the oven. Many recipes call for this approach—in fact, that had been my plan until temperatures started rising. Either method produces delicious results, but I’m happy with what the smoke brought to the party.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Mushrooms and Pear
Serves 4

6 ounces mushrooms (I used cremini—buttons are also fine)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped (or 1 medium onion and a minced clove of garlic)
1 pear, peeled and diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 generous tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
1 pork tenderloin, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds

special equipment: pieces of kitchen twine, soaked in water

Make the filling. Slice and/or chop the mushrooms (I bought sliced mushrooms and chopped the larger slices into smaller pieces. You should have a generous two cups of mushrooms when finished. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium flame. Add mushrooms, shallot and pear to skillet and toss to coat with butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid overly browning the shallot. Add sage and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add brandy and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Fire up the grill. If you’re working with a charcoal grill (I was), start your coals now and prepare the tenderloin. When the coals and the meat are both ready, set up your grill for indirect grilling, pouring the coals on one side. If you’re using a gas grill, set it up for indirect grilling (he said, having no idea how you do that).

Prepare the tenderloin. Butterfly the pork tenderloin, slicing it down the middle lengthwise without cutting all the way through. Open the tenderloin like a book on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Using the side of a meat mallet or a medium-sized heavy saucepan, pound it until it is about 1/2-inch thick, work from the center to the edges of the tenderloin.

Arrange the mushroom filling down the middle of the tenderloin lengthwise, spreading it evenly. Starting with a long side, roll the tenderloin as tightly as possible. Tie it in four places with the twine and trim off the loose ends (this will reduce the chance of the twine catching fire on the grill). Brush the tenderloin with oil and season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Grill the tenderloin. Lightly brush the grill with oil and lay the tenderloin on the side not over the coals. Cover the grill (with vents open) and let it cook for 20 minutes, turning the tenderloin at the halfway mark. Move the tenderloin over the coals and cover the grill. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, or until an instant read thermometer registers 140ºF when inserted in the center. Transfer to a platter or cutting board and tent with foil. Let the tenderloin rest  for about 5 minutes and then slice crosswise into medallions. Serve. (Make sure no one gets a piece of twine.)

Kitchen Notes

Well, one note. As you can see from the photo above, I didn’t achieve the classic spiral of filling. To do so, chop the mushrooms and the pear finer and spread the filling a little thinner on the butterflied tenderloin. Maybe be a little less generous with the filling as well. As it was, I liked the chunkier bits of filling—both their appearance and their individual pops of flavor—as we ate.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

kitchenriffs May 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Pears and mushrooms are a wonderful combo — and alas, one I almost never use! But every time I see it I’m reminded that I’m slacking. Great dish — simple, yet something I’d serve company. We’ve had the AC on part of the time the last week or so — looks like summer is definitely here. Anyway, thanks for a really nice dish.

kitty May 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I like how special this dish looks! hm!!!
We haven’t quite gotten to the grilling season yet, but I see it just around the corner.

Anita May 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm

You are meanies! I don’t have a grill, nor would I have a place to grill if I bought a grill. To atone, can you please provide the details of finishing this in the oven? I’ve been looking forward to this since you mentioned it a few weeks ago. Pleasethankyou!

Terry B May 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Thanks, Kitchenriffs! And ah, springtime in Chicago—It’s not going to get past the mid-fifties today and is feeling more like November than May. Will probably grill again this weekend, but may be doing so in a jacket and holding an umbrella.

Thanks, Kitty!

Sorry, Anita. Preheat your oven to 400ºF and after searing the rolled tenderloin on all sides in an ovenproof pan, transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the tenderloin until an instant read thermometer registers 140º in the center, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let us know how it turns out!

randi May 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Pork tenderloin is one of my favourite cuts of meat. What a delicious sounding combination! I’ve never had pear and mushroom together.
My spiral fillings have always looked sad as I refuse to decrease the fillings. I’ll never learn. There’s lots of tenderloin in the freezer and the sage has run amok in the garden so I will be making this soon.

Torin May 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm

My gas grill has 4 burners, so when I cook chicken etc that shouldn’t be over an open flame, I turn on the two outside ones and put the meat in the middle. It still heats up to 500 degrees+ according to the thermometer on the top.

Terry B May 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Randi, we had a few herbs come back in our garden, but none like the sage. It is already huge.

Thanks for the tip on gas grills, Torin!

altadenahiker May 27, 2013 at 8:07 pm

This is a work of art, Terry, or at least looks like one. But I happened to click on your friend Kitchenriffs over the week, and have assembled everything for the slow-cooked ribs.

Terry B May 28, 2013 at 2:20 am

You cheat on me, Altadenahiker, and this is how I find out? You tell me? Just kidding. Kitchenriffs is always doing amazing stuff, isn’t he? And gorgeous photography.

GramCeesHouse June 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Thank you for posting this recipe. I’m a great fan of pork tenderloin but was becoming bored with the ‘roast it whole’ method. I don’t know if I’m a fan of the pear filling — I’ll have to think of a different ingredient. Thanks again!

Terry B June 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm

GramCeesHouse—happy experimenting! I love when a recipe inspires me to go a whole different direction, without actually following the original recipe.

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