Smoked Pork Tenderloin

5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 votes

Smoked pork tenderloin cooked over applewood and ready in just one hour. This easy barbecue smoked pork is incredibly tender and boasts a deep flavor that’s unlike any other meat cut.

smoked pork tenderloin

Smoked pork tenderloin is an impressive dish that is surprisingly easy to cook. It’s delicious when served sliced or pulled, making it a versatile option for any occasion.

It’s an incredibly tender pork cut and, best of all, one pound of pork tenderloin only needs about one hour to cook. This makes it a great option for weeknight dinner or for when you need a smoker recipe quick and ready.

From meat preparation to smoking woods, discover how to smoke pork tenderloin from scratch today.

smoked pork tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin Explained

A truly underrated pork cut, pork tenderloin is a small boneless pork cut from the top of the hog’s bag, opposite the loin. Known for being lean and low on fat, it has an unfair reputation for often being dry but I promise if you treat it right, you’ll have an incredible tender pork cut with a stronger pork flavor than any other pork cut.

Cooking pork tenderloin on the smoker can give this meat cut a juicier texture than grilling it and, because it’s so lean, it’s relatively quick and easy to cook. If you need a pork cut that’s ideal for weeknight dinners, this is the one to go for.

Quick Note: Tenderloin is often mistaken for loin, thanks in part to their similar names and the fact that they’re both from the hog’s back. However, the loin is a larger back section with substantially more fat on top and a milder flavor. This means it takes longer to cook, so make sure you get the right cut for this recipe.

smoked pork tenderloin

Meat Prep

Prepare your pork tenderloin carefully to ensure that it is tender and flavorful when it leaves the smoker.


Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat, but it can still have some chunks of fat along the outside that should be discarded before cooking. You can usually pull this off easily or cut it off with your knife.

trimming fat and silverskin from pork tenderloin on wooden chopping board

A thin layer of silverskin will be present along one side of the tenderloin. Use your knife to cut this off to make your meat easier to slice after smoking it.


If you want to add extra flavor and make sure your pork is moist and juicy, you can brine it before smoking. Pork tenderloin has a tendency to dry out, but brining can help you avoid this.

Use water, salt, and whichever flavorful add-ins you’d like to create your brine. Popular add-ins include spices, herbs, sugar, or apple juice. Be sure to add enough salt (1 tablespoon for every cup of water) to make the meat extra tender.

Brine your tenderloin for one to two hours before smoking it. Take care to ensure your brine completely covers the pork. You will likely need around five or six cups to do so.

Dry Rub

Using a good dry rub blend is the best way to elevate the natural flavors of smoked pork tenderloin with some added sweetness and a dash of heat. You can easily buy premade seasoning online, but we prefer to make our own dry rub.

For this recipe, we’re using our classic pork rub recipe. It combines smoked paprika, chili powder, and cumin for a balance of sweetness and spice that complements pork perfectly. Full ingredients are in the recipe below.

Best Smoking Wood

Applewood is typically best for smoking tenderloin because apple and pork flavors pair so well together. You can complement these flavors by using apple slices in your brine or marinade.

If you aren’t a fan of applewood, you can also use cherry, oak, maple, or hickory to smoke your pork tenderloin.

Times & Temperatures

It will take approximately one hour to smoke your pork, so plan accordingly to set time aside for cooking. This does not include the time it will take for you to prep the meat for smoking.

If you have thicker pork tenderloin, the cooking time may vary slightly. You do not want to slice or cut your tenderloin before smoking, so adjust the cooking time based on the cut of meat instead of trying to cut it down for a shorter time frame.

Your pork tenderloin is finished smoking when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove the pork from the grill as soon as it reaches this temperature to avoid overcooking and becoming dry.

Some prefer to remove the pork from the grill when it reaches 135 degrees and then allow it to continue cooking the last 10 degrees while it rests. This can be an excellent strategy if you are worried about overcooking.

smoked pork tenderloin

Quick Tips

Follow these quick tips for your smoked pork tenderloin.

  1. Got a charcoal grill? Learn how to smoke pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill with our easy grill setup guide and recipe.
  2. Let your smoked pork tenderloin rest for at least ten minutes before slicing and serving. If you have time to let the meat rest longer, it will allow the pork to better retain its juices after you begin cutting.
  3. Reheat pork tenderloin on the stove in a covered pan, in an oven, in a slow cooker, or by putting it back in the smoker. The key to successfully reheating smoked pork tenderloin is retaining its moisture, so keep it wrapped or covered while heating up.
  4. Not sure what to do with leftovers? Slowly reheat it before shredding it to make homemade enchiladas or taquitos, or serve it as a filling for pot pie. See our guide to our favorite leftover pork tenderloin recipes to discover more ideas.
smoked pork tenderloin

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

5 from 2 votes
Smoked pork tenderloin cooked over applewood and ready in just one hour. This easy barbecue smoked pork is incredibly tender and boasts a deep flavor that's unlike any other meat cut.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • applewood smoking chips


  • 1 lb pork tenderloin

Pork Dry Rub

  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp dried onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


  • Fire up your smoker to 225°F (107°C). If you are using a charcoal grill, set it up for 2-zone indirect cooking.
  • Using a boning or paring knife, trim any silverskin or excess fat from the pork tenderloin surface. Rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients. Use a fork to remove or crush any lumps that form.
  • Apply the dry rub across the meat surface, on all sides. Work the rub into any folds or crevices on the pork’s surface.
  • Place the pork on the smoker grates (or grill over indirect heat) and close the lid. Smoke until the pork tenderloin's internal temperature is 145°F (63°C), approximately 1 hour.
  • Remove the pork tenderloin from the smoker and place on a chopping board. Slice into ½-inch thick medallions and serve immediately.

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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