Smoked Pork Loin - How to Smoke a TENDER & JUICY Pork Loin - The Wolfe Pit

How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin

Three Parts:

If you're only using your grill to make chicken and steak, you're missing out. Smoked pork tenderloins are a delicious meal that is easy to prepare with a charcoal or gas grill. The smoking process does take several hours to complete, though, so make sure you set aside enough time to cook the pork.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Chill time: 15 minutes to overnight
  • Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours per pound at 250 degrees Farenheit (121 degrees Celsius)


Basic Smoked Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • Dry rub or marinade

Basic Dry Rub

  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 4 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 ½ teaspoons onion salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme

Basic Marinade

  • ½ teaspoon of minced garlic
  • ¼ cup of cola
  • ¼ cup of dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil.


Preparing the Pork Tenderloin

  1. Prepare a rub or marinade.For the best flavor, you want to season the pork tenderloin prior to smoking it. Depending on your preference, you can use a dry rub or a marinade to help make the pork more flavorful. Prepared rubs or marinades are a good option if you’re in a hurry, but you can also create your own with your favorite spices and ingredients to pair with pork tenderloin.
    • For a tasty dry rub for your pork tenderloin, mix together 1 ¼ cup brown sugar, ⅔ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons black pepper, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 4 ½ teaspoons garlic powder, 4 ½ teaspoons onion salt, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons paprika, and ¾ teaspoon dried thyme.
    • To make a good basic marinade for a pork tenderloin, combine a ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, ¼ cup of cola, ¼ cup of dark brown sugar, ¼ cup of soy sauce, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, 1 teaspoon minced onion, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Cut the pork.Before applying the rub or marinade to the tenderloin, you may want to cut it to ensure that the pieces will fit on the grill. If you’re dealing with a tenderloin that’s between 1 ½ and 3 pounds, cutting it in half is usually sufficient. For larger pieces of pork, you may need to cut into additional pieces.
    • Pork tenderloins usually have a silvery-looking membrane known as the silverskin on the top of it. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut off the silverskin before applying the rub or marinade. You can also trim away any fat as desired.
  3. Season the tenderloin.Once the pork is properly cut, it’s time to season the meat. You can apply a dry rub with your fingers, making sure to apply a generous amount and cover all sides of the tenderloin. For a marinade, you can use a pastry brush to cover the entire tenderloin with the mixture.
    • Lightly scoring the tenderloin before you apply a dry rub can help the spices better penetrate the pork.
    • When using a marinade, you can also place it in a plastic zipper bag, add the pork to it, and move the meat around inside to ensure that it is completely covered with the mixture.
  4. Let the rub or marinade sit.To ensure that the flavors really have time to penetrate the pork, allow the tenderloin to sit with the rub or marinade on it for some time before smoking it. You can wrap the pork in plastic wrap or place it inside a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. With a rub, you can allow it to sit on the meat for 15 minutes to several hours. You may want to let a pork tenderloin in a marinade sit in the refrigerator overnight, but a few hours is usually sufficient.
    • Make sure to keep the seasoned tenderloin refrigerated until it’s time to smoke it.
    • If you marinade has citrus in it, don’t let it sit on the pork for more than two to three hours.
    • Make sure to throw away any excess marinade that’s still in the bag or dish after you remove the pork. It can contaminate other food if you reuse it.

Readying the Grill

  1. Choose the right wood.For the best smoking results, the wood that you use makes a big difference. Hickory, apple, cherry, and oak are all effective in helping give your pork a delicious smoky taste. You’re also better off using wood chunks instead of chips because chunks are less likely to cause fire flare-ups.
    • If you are using wood chips, soak them in water for at least an hour before putting them on the grill.
    • Never use sap woods, such as pine for smoking. Not only will they ruin the taste of the pork, they can be toxic.
  2. Set up the grill up for indirect grilling.To effectively smoke your pork tenderloin, you must use your grill for indirect cooking. For smoking, a charcoal grill works best. Start by removing the grate and opening the grill’s bottom damper. Place coals lit by chimney starter on top of it, making sure that they’re all piled on one side of the grill.
    • If you’re using a gas grill, start the smoking process by preheating it to medium.
  3. Add the wood when the grill reaches 250 degrees.It’s important to add the wood chunks or chips to the grill when it’s reached a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius). You can get the grill to the right temperature by gradually adding coals to continue to build up the heat. Once the grill is at the right temperature, place the wood directly on top of the coals.
    • If your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, you can test the temperature by holding your hand over the charcoal. If you can do it for three seconds or more, the grill needs additional coals. If it’s too hot to keep your hand over the charcoal for more than two seconds, it’s hot enough
    • If you’re using a gas grill, put the wood in a smoker pouch or box inside the grill, set it to high until you see smoke, and then reduce the grill heat to medium.

Smoking the Pork

  1. Place the tenderloin on the grate.Once you’ve added the wood to the grill, you’re ready to smoke your pork. Replace the grill’s grate and set the tenderloin on opposite side from the coals. Make sure to close the lid, and open the damper directly above the meat.
    • If you’re using a gas grill, place the tenderloin on the grate directly above the smoker pouch or box.
  2. Let the pork smoke for a few hours.Smoking is a slow cooking process, so you have to be patient with your tenderloin and avoid opening the grill. It usually takes two and a half to three hours to smoke tenderloins that are approximately 1 ½ to 2 pounds. Make sure that the internal temperature of the pork is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius) before you remove it from the grill.
    • As a rule of thumb, it takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes per pound to smoke a pork tenderloin.
    • Because you’re cooking with indirect heat, there’s no need to touch or move the meat during the heating process.
    • With a charcoal grill, you will need to open the lid to add fresh lit coals during the smoking process to ensure that the temperature stays at 250 degrees. Use oven mitts to remove the tenderloin and the grate, add more hot charcoal, and then replace the grate and pork so you can close the lid as quickly as possible.
    • A digital meat thermometer makes it easy to figure out if the pork is fully cooked.
  3. Allow the pork to cool before slicing.Once the pork tenderloin is finished smoking and you’ve removed it from the grill, wrap it in foil and allow it rest for approximately five to ten minutes. That will keep the meat juicy and flavorful. After it’s slightly cooled, slice it for serving.
    • If you want to give your tenderloin extra flavor, you can apply barbecue sauce or more of the marinade that you used right after it comes off the grill and it’s still hot. If you’re using a marinade, just be sure that it’s fresh and hasn’t touched the raw pork.
  4. Finished.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Are wood chips soaked before use in smoking meats?
    Jeff Goss
    Community Answer
    You can soak the wood if using chips so they do not burn up as fast. Just make sure to drain off any excess water before placing them on coals.
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This simple video will help you making your smoked tenderloin.
  • Be patient when you’re smoking pork tenderloin. It’s an easy meal to prepare, but it takes significant time to cook.
  • If you don’t want to use a rub or marinade on your pork tenderloin, just season it with some kosher salt and black pepper before you smoke it.
  • You can serve smoked pork tenderloin hot, cold, or at room temperature.


  • Never eat pork that has an internal temperature below 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius) because bacteria and parasites may not be eliminated at a lower temperature. Keep in mind that pork may still be pink when it’s fully cooked, so always use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin to ensure that it is safe to eat.

Video: Smoked Pork Tenderloin Recipe

How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin
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