Blog posts for bundles of asparagus wrapped in prosciutto are ubiquitous. Some are roasted until the prosciutto is crispy and some are wrapped at the last minute, after only the asparagus are cooked. I’ve even seen some that have cheese either under or on top of the prosciutto. Whatever kind you’re looking for, here are a few tips to save you some headaches:
- Precook the asparagus before roasting. Just a 2-3 minute simmer will cook the asparagus enough that it won’t be tough after a short time in the oven to crisp up the whole bundle. I don’t think I would use the very fat stalks, but if you have to, you should probably peel them before simmering.
- If like the prosciutto I always find, yours tears into pieces just trying to separate them—even when they have paper or plastic between the slices—don’t panic. Prosciutto pieces will stick to themselves and you can easily piece them together. Every single one of my slices tore into three identical pieces, one small square, one long straggly strip, and one nice looking rectangle that was large enough to go around the bundle itself. So I put the ugly duckling pieces on the inside and wrapped the big rectangle around the whole thing. No one would be the wiser, if I actually had company, instead of being in self-quarantine with just my husband.
I brushed mine with olive oil and roasted them at 400º for about 20 minutes.
I was trying to think of what to stuff in this mini bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and then my husband brought in a bunch of poblanos from the garden. Usually I stuff the poblanos with meat and cheese, so it was just a matter of turning the whole thing inside-out. Traditionally, you wouldn’t use bacon with stuffed poblanos, but I didn’t expect the stuffed poblano police to stop by, so I didn’t worry about it. Smoking takes time, and ground meat needs a fatty buffer, like bacon, to keep it moist during the longer cooking. It took about 2 hours to smoke to the point that a little cheese started to melt out of one end, and a thermometer registered 165º-170º in the center (of course, the center was pepper and cheese).
I only used 1 lb of ground meat for the two of us, and there were still leftovers. You’ll have to consider how much to make for your group. Usually, for example, I would use 1 lb of ground meat to make four burgers, and we would have one left over. Personally, I prefer less than a quarter pound for my burger, but I’m probably unusual. You could make several of these rolls for a larger group of people. I cut our one roll into six thick slices.
I made a woven mat of bacon to wrap the filled meatloaf in, using my favorite local thick-sliced bacon. It’s very thick and so you can’t stretch it like the typical thin commercial bacon. I made the mat 6 strips wide, but had to add partial pieces into the weaving to make it fully woven. I’m not sure you can see those half pieces in the photo. After wrapping the roll, I sealed the edges with another strip and put that side of the roll down on the grill grate. I didn’t worry about having beautiful ends, but I did pinch the rolled meat together to hold in the cheese for as long as possible. I wrapped it all tightly in plastic and refrigerated it for about an hour to try to convince it to stay in that nice loaf shape. The lesson here is this: Don’t fret about the appearance too much. Just take your time and keep handling it until it all seems to hold together. Believe me, the gorgeous smoked bacon on the outside and the gooey cheese on the inside will overpower any construction flaws.
meat filling mix
Peel and seed peppers
Filling and bacon mat
About half way through
Center of finished roll
Inside-Out Stuffed Poblanos. Smoked. With Bacon.
- 1/2 lb ground beef, 93% lean
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut in small dice
- 1 tablespoon garlic, mashed or grated
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ancho pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
- 2 long 1/2″ wide sticks of Monterrey Jack cheese, each about the length of your meat roll (it doesn’t matter if you have to use smaller pieces)
- 1 pkg thick-sliced bacon, at least 12 strips
- On a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, make a mat of woven bacon, about 6 strips wide and using as many pieces as you need to weave in the opposite direction. If you make it too big, you can always remove pieces, as needed. Set aside.
- Mix the first eleven ingredients together in a large bowl—meat, breadcrumbs, tomatoes, and spices. Form the meat into a log about the length of your bacon mat, then pat it out on a piece of plastic wrap to make a square. It was easy enough to pat it out with my hands, but I’ve seen videos of people using rolling pins and even large plastic bags. Just make it even and squared off at the corners so you don’t end up with a football shape.
- Lay out sections of poblano peppers to fit the meat, but don’t worry about getting them out to the ends, because you want to pinch them together after rolling.
- Lay sticks of cheese on top of the peppers lengthwise and far enough apart that you can roll them up in the meat. But this isn’t rocket science—fill the roll as full as you like with as much as you can cram in there.
- Roll up the meat, using the plastic wrap to help you. Roll rather tightly and firmly, using pressure from your hands to mold and keep it all together. Pinch the ends together to cover the filling and pat the ends kind of flat so you have a neat cylinder.
- Set the meat roll on the mat of bacon and use the plastic wrap to bring the bacon up the sides—if you’re lucky the bacon will meet or come close to meeting and you can weave in a last piece to hold it together. Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about an hour. Bring it out about 30 minutes before the grill is ready, but leave in the plastic wrap.
- Set up the grill for slow, indirect heat with a 2 X 2 charcoal snake and a few handfuls of wood chips scattered over it. When your starter coals are ready and you’ve started the snake, set the roll on the cooking grate above a drip pan and close the grill. Cook and smoke for about 1 1/2-2 hours. The bacon should be browned and glossy with crispy areas, and the center will probably reach at least 165º, but keep in mind that you are measuring melted cheese in the center.
- Remove to a cutting board; let rest for a few minutes; then cut in thick slices.
I ended up burning only 1/3 of my charcoal snake, so today, I’m smoking some ribs with the remainder.
Here’s a quick and versatile way to grill a pork tenderloin. I’m marinating mine in teriyaki sauce—not the sticky stuff in a bottle—and then serving it with brown rice noodles, but you could marinate it or baste it with any flavors you have in mind. The 1″ thick slices are skewered on two long metal skewers (to keep the slices from spinning) and quickly grilled over direct heat. The meat chunks could be further cut after grilling—sliced or pulled—or served in the large chunks, depending on how you want to eat them. I sliced the large chunks in half, just to make them easier to eat. I had some roasted bell peppers in the freezer that I heated and sliced, and I grilled a few onions to complete the dish.
I made the traditional teriyaki sauce without any extra sugar. There is plenty of sugar in the mirin, a sweetened rice wine. I’ve always disliked what has passed for teriyaki sauce, even before I got diabetes, because it was just too sweet for my taste, kind of like those bottled barbecue sauces that hide the flavor of grilled meats. Traditional teriyaki has just the right sweetness to complement whatever meat you use it with. I did add garlic and ginger to the sauce, which some purists might object to, but we like those flavors very much, and the three basics in the sauce—soy sauce, mirin, and sake—held their own just fine.
Remember not to throw out the marinade, but to boil it for a few minutes to serve as the final sauce.
Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
Allow several hours for marinating the pork tenderloin chunks, plus time to set up the grill.
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) soy sauce
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) mirin
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) sake
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 pork tenderloin, sliced in 1″ thick slices
- Mix the teriyaki ingredients and place in a large zip top bag with the pork tenderloin slices. Marinate for about 2-4 hours.
- Lift out meat slices and pour remaining marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 3 minutes. You could cook it longer to reduce it for a glaze, but I wanted to use it as a sauce for the meat, vegetables, and noodles.
- Skewer the meat slices on two metal skewers to keep the slices from spinning as you turn it on the grill. It will kind of look like you have reconstructed the tenderloin on the skewers. You don’t need to have space between the slices, but you could if you want them browned on all sides, in which case you might want to use more skewers.
- Set up the grill for medium-high direct heat, about 400°.
- Oil the cooking grate and grill the skewered pork on all sides until nicely browned. We eat our tenderloins a little pink, but you can cook them as long as you desire. Remove the cooked meat to a platter and rest, covered, for a few minutes before serving.
I’m always looking for ways to change up the old grilled hamburger in the summer, like tonight for example when I made meatloaf burgers. They made a better version of a meatloaf sandwich, more tender than a regular hamburger and already full of lots of flavors, so that they didn’t need a lot of additions piled on. Last year I put giant meatballs on skewers, and that worked out pretty well, too. They were spicy, like these kebabs, but without quite so much heat. I made the kebabs a few days ago on one of the long holiday weekend days.
Tip for keeping any ground meat shape on a skewer: don’t make too wet or loose a mixture. You want the meat to hold its shape around the skewer so you can turn it on the grill.
We ate them two ways in flatbread wraps. I topped mine with roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, and a sour cream-cucumber sauce. My husband chose only the peppers and my homemade burger sauce (mayo, Sriracha, garlic, cumin, maple syrup, lime juice, salt).
Spicy Grilled Ground Meat Kebabs
Plan ahead so the meat and spices have a chance to marinate up to a day.
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried cilantro
- 2 teaspoons garlic paste or grated garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons ginger paste or grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 4 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
- Mix the ground meat, spices, and aromatics until completely combined. You might even want to run the mixture through a meat grinder, especially if your ground meat has not been ground fine. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Divide into four and shape each portion into a long sausage shape around a bamboo skewer.
- Grill over direct heat for a few minutes on each side. They cook quickly and you don’t want to overcook them. You could cook them over indirect heat with the grill lid closed for about 10 minutes, browning over direct heat or not. I like the taste of the charred kebabs better.