This Smoked Pork Tenderloin is a low-effort, extremely simple smoked meat that requires just a few marinating ingredients and a bit of patience as the meat smokes to perfection.
We love to smoke meat, even on the weekdays, but larger cuts like pork butt or brisket take so long to do. We’re looking for something quick and simple, and that’s definitely a pork tenderloin. It requires no advance brining and very little effort once it’s in the smoker.
Pork tenderloin is a particularly lean and healthy cut of meat. It’s a great choice if you are looking for a healthy alternative to often fattier cuts that we tend to smoke like brisket or chicken thighs. If you’re new to smoking meat, this is an ideal place to start.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Soy Sauce – I always use low sodium soy sauce because it contains much less salt.
- Olive Oil – I prefer olive oil since it has a nice flavor and is healthy.
- Paprika – Smoked paprika adds a great well-rounded flavor.
- Chilli Powder – You can use either mild or hot chili powder depending on how spicy you prefer your food. Mild will not add heat to the rub, only flavor.
- Garlic Powder
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Pork Tenderloin – You can smoke one or as many pork tenderloins as you want. Buy one that’s trimmed well of the silver skin, around 2-pounds in weight.
- Smoker – I use a Z Grills 700 series smoker for most of my smoking, though I also have a Traeger grill. You can use whatever smoker you have – they all work the same.
- Wood pellets – There are many types of pellets available. If you’ve already got pellets in your smoker, use whatever you have. I really like Hickory pellets for chicken.
- Meat thermometer – Many smokers have a thermometer built in, but if yours doesn’t, get an instant-read thermometer. I love this Thermapen.
How to Make Smoked Tenderloin
Mix together the olive oil, soy sauce, and seasonings in a bowl. This will make a wet rub that you can spread all over the pork tenderloin. It doesn’t have to marinate, but if you have 15 minutes, it will add some flavor. This pork dry rub would be a great addition of flavor.
You can also do this ahead by a day and let it marinate overnight.
Preheat your smoker to 225° F. I use either apple or hickory pellets, depending on what I’ve got in the hopper at the time. You can use whatever wood pellets you like best.
Place the pork tenderloin directly on the smoker grate. Smoke if at 225° F for about an hour and a half, or until the internal temperature reaches 135° F. Take it off the smoker and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. That will bring the internal temp up to 140° F.
Additional Tips & Advice
- Allow the pork tenderloin to rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes after it has finished cooking. This will help retain the juices of the meat and bring it up to the perfect serving temp.
- Remove the silver skin from your pork tenderloin if it has not been trimmed yet. It’s a silvery covering of connective tissue that doesn’t break or soften when cooked. Silver skin can be easily trimmed with a sharp knife.
- This recipe can be doubled or tripled as long as your smoker has room for more tenderloins. It’s absolutely your choice how many you smoke. I’m often doing just one at at a time, but if you want to maximize on your time and pellets, doing 3-4 at a time is great.
- Leftover pork tenderloin can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
What Smokers We Use
Did you know that Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill? The Pro Series 22 is the one most people choose because it’s compact, yet has plenty of space for cooking. You can use any type of wood pellets you like. See the Traeger Series 22 Grill on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which wood is best for smoking pork?
Apple woods are subtle and offer a lovely sweet and savory flavor. Since pork tenderloin doesn’t spend much time in the smoker, slightly stronger woods like hickory, maple, and pecan work nicely as well.
What is the difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin?
Since they are different cuts of pork, their texture and flavor will differ slightly. Pork tenderloin is much thinner and more suitable for quick cooking. Pork loin is best grilled or slow-cooked.
How long should a pork tenderloin be smoked?
To properly cook 2 pounds of pork tenderloin on a smoker, allow 30 to 40 minutes per pound for a total of around 1 1/2 hours or slightly more. Because different types of smokers have different temperatures, begin testing the temperature after the first hour.
What should the pork’s internal temperature be?
The internal temperature of the pork should be between 140° and 145° F. I always take the pork off the grill at 135° F and let it rest. The carryover cooking will bring it up to 140° F. If you like your pork cooked more, you can take it off at 140° F. I wouldn’t go much over that, or the pork will end up terribly overcooked and dry.
What to Serve on the Side
For sides, there is an endless array of salads and veggies that would make a good choice. Here are a few of our favorites:
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Smoked Pork Tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 pound pork tenderloin or two 1-lb tenderloins
- Mix together the olive oil, soy sauce, and seasonings in a bowl.
- Spread the wet rub all over the pork tenderloin. If you have time, let it marinate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat your smoker to 225° F.
- Place the pork tenderloin directly on the grate. Smoke for about 1.5 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 145° F.
- Allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
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Laura is a passionate home cook and grill enthusiast who has spent years perfecting her culinary skills, with a particular focus on grilling techniques and flavor combinations. Her fascination with the grill, smoke, and the mouthwatering results they produce has led her on an exciting journey to discover the best methods for grilling delicious and unforgettable meals.