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Pork Tenderloin, Bread and Bacon Kabobs with Sage

These skewers have it all: bacon, which bastes the tender, lean pork; bread cubes, which turn into crisp, brown croutons; and sage leaves, which season the bread and meat as they cook on the grill. Serve the kabobs on their own or over a simply dressed green salad—romaine or iceberg is sturdy enough to stand up to the heat of the skewers—and accompany with a nutty amber ale.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb., silverskin removed, pork trimmed of excess fat  
  • 20 cubes coarse country bread, each about 3/4 inch  
  • 3 bacon slices, cut into 16 squares, each about 3/4 inch  
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for grill  
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt  
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika 
  • 20 large fresh sage leaves 
  • Lemon wedges for serving  

Directions:

Cut the tenderloin into 1-inch cubes. You will need about 20 cubes. Reserve any remaining pork for another use. If using bamboo skewers, soak 4 long skewers in water for at least 1 hour.

In a bowl, combine the pork, bread, bacon and the 3 Tbs. olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the paprika and sage and stir gently but thoroughly. Let stand for 15 minutes. The bread should be well coated with the oil; if it isn’t, stir again.

Thread the ingredients onto the skewers, alternating the pork, sage leaves, bread and bacon, and putting a bacon square next to each bread cube. Wrap about 2 inches of the blunt end of each skewer with aluminum foil to make a handle.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill, or preheat a cast-iron stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the grill rack or pan with olive oil.

Place the skewers on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire or in the grill pan. Cook until the pork is firm and lightly golden and the bread is golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Move the skewers after 1 minute if the fire flares up.

Remove the foil from the skewers and arrange on plates. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

A note from the butcher: When removing silverskin, it is easier to insert your knife near the tapered end of the silverskin and to cut toward the thick end. Keep the knife edge tilted up against the silverskin slightly, and the knife will glide between the skin and the meat. If you cut the other direction, you are fighting the grain and the knife can dig into the loin, causing choppy cuts.
— Mark Martin, Nelson’s Meat Market, Cedar Rapids, IA

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Cook and The Butcher, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, Inc., 2011).