This Smoked Pork Tenderloin recipe turns this lean cut of meat into the most tender, flavorful pork! It’s coated with a slightly sweet and smoky rub, smoked to juicy perfection, and slathered with BBQ sauce.
This is one of the easiest things you’ll ever cook in your smoker.
Pork tenderloin is a low commitment, exceptionally easy choice for smoking. Unlike big cuts like pork butt or brisket, it cooks more quickly, doesn’t require any advance brining, and there’s very little work to do once it goes in the smoker.
If you are new to the world of smoking meats, this is a great recipe to start with. In fact, you’ll feel like a pro when you serve this gorgeous smoked pork!
Table of contents
- Pork tenderloin – Tenderloins are typically sold in a 2-pack with a total weight of about 2 pounds or a little more.
- Pork dry rub – Smoked paprika, brown sugar, granulated garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, cumin, kosher salt, black pepper, and a little cayenne pepper for a kick. This blend is slightly sweet, smoky and perfect for pork.
- BBQ sauce – Use your favorite brand or make your own! I used Kinder’s (love it) but I think it would be delicious with my Root Beer BBQ Sauce too.
Smoked Pork Tenderloin Dry Rub
The prep for this recipe could not be easier. Just pat the trimmed pork tenderloins dry with paper towels and coat all sides well with the pork spice rub. See the FAQ section below for details on how to trim the tenderloins.
This is the first recipe I tested in my new Z Grills 700 Series Pellet Grill and Smoker. Having a smoker in our backyard has opened up a whole new world of delicious recipes. I love this thing! It’s lightweight enough for me to easily move around and it’s exceptionally easy to operate. With just the press of a couple of buttons, you’re on your way to a delicious meal.
The pellet grill and smoker pictured in this post was provided by Z Grills.
How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin
- Fill the pellet hopper with your wood pellets of choice, open the lid, and set the smoker to the “Smoke” setting. Within about 5 minutes, you’ll see whitish, grey smoke coming out of the smoker.
- Once you see smoke, close the lid and set the smoker to 225 degrees F. It will take about 10 minutes to reach temperature.
- Place the spice coated pork tenderloins on the grill and insert the temperature probes. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature registers 135 degrees F.
- Finally, brush all sides of the pork tenderloins with BBQ sauce, close the lid, and continue to smoke for an additional 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads at least 145 degrees F.
If your smoker does not have a built-in temperature probe, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest tenderloin after 1 hour.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
If your pork tenderloin has not been trimmed, you should remove the silver skin. It is a silvery sheath of connective tissue that does not break down or soften during cooking. It’s easy to trim silver skin with a sharp knife. Just cut into it and lift it up, carefully slicing down along the tenderloin to remove it. If you don’t see silver skin, it just means that it was trimmed by the seller – lucky you! Many times I find the pork tenderloin in the 2-packs come beautifully trimmed and ready to cook.
It takes about 30 to 40 minutes per pound for a total of about 1 1/2 hours or slightly more to fully cook 2 pounds of pork tenderloin on a smoker. Different types of smokers will vary so be sure to start checking the temperature after the first hour.
Pork tenderloin is a small cut that should not be smoked at a temperature higher than 225 degrees F or you’ll risk cooking it too quickly. It needs time in the smoker to absorb and retain that rich, smoky flavor. Low and slow is best!
Fruit woods, like apple, are mild and impart great sweet and savory flavor. Slightly stronger woods like hickory, maple and pecan also work well since pork tenderloin doesn’t spend a very long time in the smoker. And remember, if you have a pellet grill/smoker you can use one of the many wood pellet blends available to get a combination of these flavors.
How to Serve Smoked Pork Tenderloin
- Classic BBQ Menu – Served with side dishes like Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Spicy Baked Beans, and the Mexican Cornbread shown above, you’ll feel like you ordered takeout from a great BBQ joint.
- Sandwiches – Use a sharp knife to slice the pork tenderloin as thinly as you can and store it in an airtight container for sandwiches through the week. I used mine to make a smoked pork version of my Cuban Sandwiches and they were ridiculously delicious! This is a great option if you don’t need both tenderloins for one meal – cook once, eat twice.
More Pork Tenderloin Recipes You’ll Love
- Southwestern Pork Tenderloin
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze
- Sweet and Sour Pork Kabobs
Smoked Pork Tenderloin
- 2 to 2.25 pounds pork tenderloin, 2 tenderloins
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
Pork Spice Rub
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Preheat your pellet grill/smoker to 225 F with the pellets or wood of choice.
- Combine the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Trim the pork tenderloin of any silver skin, if needed. Generously rub the spice mixture all over the meat.
- Place the tenderloins on the grill, close the lid, and smoke until the internal temperature of the tenderloins reaches 135 degrees F., approximately 1½ hours.
- Baste the tenderloins on all sides with BBQ sauce, close the lid, and continue to cook until the internal temperature of the thickest tenderloin reaches a minimum of 145 degrees F., approximately 20 to 30 minutes more.
- Remove the pork from the smoker and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it rest for about 5 minutes then slice it into 1-½-inch medallions and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.