Smoked Pork Tenderloin: Easy Recipe

Pork tenderloin is an easy and tasty meat to smoke. It cooks faster than large portions like brisket or pork butt and requires little attention once it is in the smoker. When cooked properly, this meat cut is delicious, juicy, and moist.

I’ve cooked pork tenderloin for years with a special recipe, which I’ll share with you in today’s article. So, continue reading to learn how to make smoked pork tenderloin. You’ll feel like a professional pitmaster once you’re done reading this article.

How to Make Smoked Pork Tenderloin?


  • 2 1-pound pork tenderloins
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • Apple or cherry wood chips
Smoked Pork Tenderloin closeup

Brine Ingredients

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


  • Step 1: To make the brine, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Then, add the ingredients to the pot and stir for a minute. Now, add the remaining 2 cups of water and transfer the brine to a large container. Let the brine completely cool, then add the tenderloin cuts and refrigerate for around five hours.
  • Step 2: Next, remove the pork tenderloin from the container and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Step 3: Combine the dry rub seasonings in a small bowl and mix. Afterward, generously apply the spice rub on all sides of the pork cuts. Pour the remaining rub into a jar and store it in a cool place.
  • Step 4: Preheat the pellet smoker to 225 degrees and when it is ready, place the tenderloin on the grill grate. The tenderloin should cook for about 1.5 to 3 hours. Remove the pork when it reaches an internal temperature of around 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Step 5: Finally, before serving, give the pork tenderloin about 10 minutes to rest. By doing this, the juices will remain inside the meat, making for a soft, succulent pork tenderloin.

This recipe produces a unique smoky flavor of the pork, which will leave you salivating. Moreover, this recipe ensures the meat stays moist and prevents chewy or dry results.

Tips for Smoking Pork Tenderloin

  • Trim the silver skin. This is a thin and tough skin membrane that is unpleasant to chew and does not break down under heat. Get a sharp knife to trim the thin layer. You can also get the butcher to cut off the silver skin for you.
  • Since the tenderloin is a lean cut, a wet brine helps enhance the flavor while keeping it moist as it smokes. You can use just water, salt, and sugar to make a brine, but adding a few aromatic herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, garlic cloves, and chili powder can give it extra depth. After making the brine, you can also apply a dry rub to increase the flavor of the meat and give it an appealing appearance on the exterior.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of a dry rub. A dry rub gives the meat a deliciously tender interior with a crunchy outer crust.
  • I recommend using hardwood chips or wood pellets to impart more flavor and beautifully cook these pieces of meat.
  • Always use a meat thermometer. Your pork tenderloin should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can be easy to overcook this meat cut. So, after an hour has passed, start gauging the meat’s temperature by sticking the probe of the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Continue taking readings every fifteen minutes until the tenderloin reaches the desired temperature.
  • Buy unseasoned pork tenderloins from the local grocery store. The term “seasoned” refers to an injection of saline solution and flavoring. This gives the meat additional weight and plumpness so that the meat manufacturer can charge you more per pound. Choose a pork tenderloin that has no additional additives.

How to Make Roasted Pork Tenderloin?

Don’t own a pellet grill? I’ve got you covered! Here’s how to make the perfect pork tenderloin using a cast iron skillet and oven.

Pork Tenderloin on a grill


  • 2 1-pound pork tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper


  • Step 1: First, pat the pork dry and generously season with kosher salt and pepper. The spices will stick to the meat if you pat it dry.
  • Step 2: Put the meat in a hot pan or cast iron skillet and sear all sides until they are golden brown. The tenderloin doesn’t need to be completely done in the skillet. The pork is ready to go into the oven once it has been seared on all sides. Now is the time to add any additional herbs or seasonings of your choice.
  • Step 3: Place the pork into the preheated oven of 250 degrees to finish cooking it. Roast the tenderloin for 15 to 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Pull the meat out of the oven once the internal temperature reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The pork will then be tender and slightly pink in the center. Cook it for a little longer if you don’t like the pinkish tinge but be careful not to overcook the meat.

What is Pork Tenderloin?

The pork tenderloin is a long, slender, boneless piece of meat that runs along the pig’s backbone. This pork cut is taken from the inside of the rib cage, at the rear of the pig loin. The mild flavor of pork tenderloin complements a variety of spices, so you have a lot of flexibility when preparing it.

Pork tenderloins are typically sold in individual packages in grocery stores. Tenderloins typically weigh between 1 and 1 and a half pounds, which is not a lot of meat. So, it’s common to see two tenderloins in a single package. If you can’t finish two cuts in a few days, cook one cut and freeze the other.

Pork Loin vs. Pork Tenderloin

A pork loin and a pork tenderloin vary in a few ways. They come from different animal parts, have slightly distinct textures, and are often prepared using various cooking techniques.

Pork tenderloins are smaller and more tender than pork loins, which are typically used for roasts. As a result, they cook more quickly over a grill, skillet, or smoker. From experience, a pork tenderloin is the tastiest cut. However, if you have a large crowd to feed, you may be better served with the larger pork loin.

The Best Wood Chips for Smoked Pork Tenderloin

The best woods for smoking pork are fruit wood such as apple wood, cherry, or a blend of the two. This will produce a slightly sweet flavor that complements the delicate pork aromas beautifully without overpowering them. Because this cut cooks quickly, I suggest using wood chips instead of wood chunks.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin on a chopping board

The Best Smokers for Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Some grills smoke pork tenderloin better than others. My personal favorite is the pellet smoker. This smoker cooks the meat quickly under consistent heat. Let’s look at my three smoker recommendations for smoking meats.

1. Pellet smoker

Pellet grills are excellent for cooking pork tenderloin chops. They are more efficient than other smokers because the pellets can be added to the grill and burned at a low temperature without using any additional fuel.

These smokers use wood pellets to cook the pork in a heated chamber, enhancing the smoky flavor and keeping the meat moist. My favorite thing about using a pellet grill is that I don’t have to babysit the smoker while cooking.

2. Electric smoker

Electric grills also cook pork tenderloins excellently at a low temperature. This smoker comes with a thermometer for more consistent cooking results. I have found electric grills to be simple to use and effective thanks to their features.

3. Charcoal smoker

A charcoal smoker is my third choice for smoking pork tenderloins. These smokers have the advantage of being compact and can fit in smaller spaces than the other two smokers. Also, charcoal smokers are less expensive, easier to maintain and add a tasty, smokier flavor to the meat. These grills, however, require more attention during smoking, and you need to watch the meat regularly to prevent burning.

Dishes To Serve with Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked pork tenderloin pairs well with some delicious dishes. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Mashed potatoes: The depth of the mashed potatoes complements the lean nature of the cut quite well.
  • Coleslaw: Coleslaw gives the meal a lighter mouthfeel and blends deliciously with the dish.
  • Baked beans: These tasty side dishes pair delectably with smoked pork tenderloin. The baked bean sauce adds another layer of deliciousness to the dish.
  • Sandwiches: Pork tenderloin can be sliced and made into sandwiches. Use a sharp knife to slice the meat and store it in an airtight container. You can add the slices to tortilla wraps or bread with different toppings for extra flavor.

Storing Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked pork tenderloin can be stored in the refrigerator for 3–5 days. Simply place the meat in an airtight container or bag and store in your fridge.

On the other hand, smoked pork tenderloin can be kept in a freezer for up to three months. To avoid freezer burn, wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap before putting it in a container or zipper bag then place in the freezer.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin with roasted vegetables

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I Grill or Bake a Pork Tenderloin?

Grilling a pork tenderloin on a smoker is better than baking it in an oven. Why? Because the smoker imparts a smoky taste to the meat.

2. How Long Does It Take to Smoke Pork Tenderloin?

Depending on the size of the tenderloin, smoking pork tenderloin on the smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit can take anywhere from 1 and a half hours to 2 hours.

3. How Much Pork Tenderloin Do I Need Per Guest?

A 2-pound pork tenderloin can feed 2-3 people. This means a 5 pounds of tenderloin should feed 6–8 people.

4. How to Warm Up Smoked Pork Tenderloin Leftovers?

First, defrost the tenderloin. Then, put the tenderloin in a dish with chicken broth and pour melted butter on top. Cover the dish in foil and heat it for 20 to 30 minutes at 325 degrees F. Once it reaches the required internal temperature of 150°F, let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

5. Can Smoked Pork Tenderloin Be a Little Pink?

Smoked pork tenderloin can be pink after cooking. What’s important is ensuring your pork tenderloin’s internal temperature reaches 145°F. You can cook the meat for slightly longer to get rid of the pink color if necessary. However, make sure you don’t overcook the meat.


Smoked pork tenderloin is a lean cut that tastes delicious on its own and with different dishes. This pork cut is delicately tender and easy to prepare and store. Pork tenderloin is easy to smoke, and the preparation steps are no different.

You don’t need too many ingredients when preparing this lean cut. You just need to add a small amount of wood to create smoke. Follow my smoked and roasted pork tenderloin recipe to keep your guests happy without expending too much energy. Feel free to use more spices if you wish.