Smoked pork tenderloin is really good just like it is but anything can become better when you take the time to do a few extras.

In this smoked pork tenderloin recipe, I decided to cook it with an apple theme –  I brined it in apple juice,  smoked it with apple wood then used my version of apple barbecue sauce to finish it off.

It is super moist and you can taste the apple juice brine all the way through the meat.

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Apple Juice Brined Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Brine Time: 4-8 hours
  • Cook Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 145°F
  • Recommended Wood: Apple
What You'll Need
Make the Brine Solution

Put ¼ cup of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) in a plastic, glass or other non-reactive container.

2014-IMG_5435

Pour 1 quart of apple juice over the salt and rub and mix well.

Note: The salt will dissolve, the rub will not.

2014-IMG_5431 2014-IMG_5437

Set the brine aside while you get the tenderloins ready.

Trim the Tenderloins

Most packages of pork tenderloins include (2) of them.

Remove them from the package, rinse them with cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

2014-IMG_5427

To help make sure they cook evenly, I like to trim off the tails and anything that looks irregular so that the ends are square and the thickness is consistent from end to end.

The pieces trimmed off are seasoned like everything else and cooked separately. Chef's treats!

2014-IMG_5428

The tenderloins are then placed into a plastic bowl, zip top bag or other brining container.

2014-IMG_5440

Cover the tenderloins with the apple juice brine that you made earlier then place a lid on the container and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours but I recommend overnight.

2014-IMG_5444 2014-IMG_5445

Once the pork tenderloins are finished brining, remove them from the brine and rinse them really well under cold water. This removes any excess salt that might have accumulated on the outside of the meat.

Seasoning the Pork Tenderloins

Apply a little yellow mustard and about a teaspoon of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) per tenderloin. Rub it all in together to create a nice paste on the outside of the meat.

2014-IMG_5484 2014-IMG_5487

Making the Pork Tenderloins Round

This is optional but I do highly recommend it as it affects the finished product in a big way.

You will notice in the pictures above that the tenderloins are sort of oblong and flat on the top and bottom.. we want them to be round so that they will cook more evenly and make better looking slices on the plate.

This is easy to do using butchers twine about every 2 inches along the meat.

2014-IMG_5488

I like to lay the pork tenderloins on a smoking plank but you can also use a Bradley rack, Weber grill pan or you can place them directly on the smoker grate if you want to.

The plank does not infuse as much smoke into the meat as it does on a grill due to the lower temperature but it does make a great presentation.

2014-IMG_5491

Leave the tied up tenderloins on the counter while you go get the smoker ready.

Get the Smoker Ready

Prepare your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat.

Fill the water pan with water if your smoker has one and have enough smoking wood (apple recommended) to last about 1.5 to 2 hours.

Let the smoker preheat to 225°F before placing the meat in the smoker.

If you need further help with your smoker, try one of these links:

Smoke the Pork Tenderloins

Place the pork tenderloins in the smoker directly on the grate or use a plank or Bradley rack as mentioned earlier.

Keep the smoke going the entire time if possible and let the pork cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F in the center of the meat as measured by a digital probe meat thermometer such as the Maverick ET-733 or an instant-read thermometer such as the super-fast Thermapen.

Another great tool is the improved ThermoPop digital pocket thermometer which reads in 3-4 seconds (that's fast), is splash-proof and is being offered now for only $29. One of my favorite toys.. er, tools;-)

ThermoPop_generic-01

Note: spray the outside surface of the meat with apple juice about every 30 minutes but do it quickly to minimize heat loss. If your smoker has a difficult time recovering when opened, you should probably skip this step.

Serve it Up

When the pork reaches 145°F, remove it from the smoker and let it sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.

2014-IMG_5588

Be sure to remove the butcher's twine.

Apple Barbecue Sauce

Make a batch of apple barbecue sauce by mixing equal parts of Jeff's barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) with apple juice.

I used 1/3 cup of apple juice and 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce.

2014-IMG_5620

Notes/Comments:
  • These are great as an entree with a couple of vegetables but they also work well as a slider.
  • Use apple sauce instead of mustard as a base for the rub to switch things up.
  • Do not overcook the pork. The USDA now says that 145 °F is completely safe for whole cuts of pork (unground).
  • Since the pork is brined, be sure to use a rub like mine that has very little salt. If you use a store-bought rub it will probably be way too salty.

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Love the sauce and rub
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Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well! ~Peter S.
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..I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while. ~Darwyn B.
Love the original rib rub
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 Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future! ~Michelle M.


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Printable Recipe

3.5 from 2 reviews
Apple Juice Brined Smoked Pork Tenderloin
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
In this smoked pork tenderloin recipe, I brine it in apple juice, smoke it with apple wood then use my version of apple barbecue sauce to finish it off.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2-3 Pork tenderloins (½ per person)
  • 1 quart + ⅓ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 TBS Jeff’s rub (purchase recipes here)
  • Brining container of zip top bag
  • Yellow mustard
  • Butcher’s twine
  • ⅓ cup Jeff’s barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here)
  • Apple or hardwood plank (optional)
  • Extra apple juice in a spray bottle (optional)
Instructions
Make the Brine Solution
  1. Put ¼ cup of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of Jeff’s rub (purchase recipes here) in a plastic, glass or other non-reactive container.
  2. Pour 1 quart of apple juice over the salt and rub and mix well.
  3. Note: The salt will dissolve, the rub will not.
  4. Set the brine aside while you get the tenderloins ready.
Trim the Tenderloins
  1. Most packages of pork tenderloins include (2) of them.
  2. Remove them from the package, rinse them with cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  3. To help make sure they cook evenly, trim off the tails and anything that looks irregular so that the ends are square and the thickness is consistent from end to end.
  4. The pieces trimmed off are seasoned like everything else and cooked separately. Chef’s treats!
  5. The tenderloins are then placed into a plastic bowl, zip top bag or other brining container.
  6. Cover the tenderloins with the apple juice brine that you made earlier then place a lid on the container and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours but I recommend overnight.
  7. Once the pork tenderloins are finished brining, remove them from the brine and rinse them really well under cold water. This removes any excess salt that might have accumulated on the outside of the meat.
Seasoning the Pork Tenderloins
  1. Apply a little yellow mustard and about a teaspoon of rub per tenderloin. Rub it all in together to create a nice paste on the outside of the meat.
Making the Pork Tenderloins Round
  1. This is optional but I do highly recommend it as it affects the finished product in a big way.
  2. You will notice that the tenderloins are sort of oblong and flat on the top and bottom.. we want them to be round so that they will cook more evenly and make better looking slices on the plate.
  3. This is easy to do using butchers twine about every 2 inches along the meat.
  4. Lay the pork tenderloins on a smoking plank but you can also use a Bradley rack or you can place them directly on the smoker grate if you want to.
  5. The plank does not infuse as much smoke into the meat as it does on a grill due to the lower temperature but it does make a great presentation.
  6. Leave the tied up tenderloins on the counter while you go get the smoker ready.
Get the Smoker Ready
  1. Prepare your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat.
  2. Fill the water pan with water if your smoker has one and have enough smoking wood (apple recommended) to last about 1.5 to 2 hours.
  3. Let the smoker preheat to 225 °F before placing the meat in the smoker.
Smoke the Pork Tenderloins
  1. Place the pork tenderloins in the smoker directly on the grate or use a plank or Bradley rack as mentioned earlier.
  2. Keep the smoke going the entire time if possible and let the pork cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 °F in the center of the meat as measured by a digital probe meat thermometer.
  3. Note: spray the outside surface of the meat with apple juice about every 30 minutes but do it quickly to minimize heat loss. If your smoker has a difficult time recovering when opened, you should probably skip this step.
  4. Serve it Up
  5. When the pork reaches 145 °F, remove it from the smoker and let it sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.
  6. Be sure to remove the butcher’s twine.
Apple Barbecue Sauce
  1. Make a batch of apple barbecue sauce by mixing equal parts of Jeff’s barbecue sauce with apple juice.
  2. I used ⅓ cup of apple juice and ⅓ cup of barbecue sauce.
Notes/Comments:
  1. These are great as an entree with a couple of vegetables but they also work well as a slider.
  2. Use apple sauce instead of mustard as a base for the rub to switch things up.
  3. Do not overcook the pork. The USDA now says that 145 °F is completely safe for whole cuts of pork (unground).
  4. Since the pork is brined, be sure to use a rub like mine that has very little salt. If you use a store-bought rub it will probably be way too salty.
 

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

10 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Kevin August 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    I’m gonna cook this for a get together tomorrow. How long do you think this will take on an electric smoker?

    • Kevin August 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      Do I feel like an idiot for not realizing the time thing. Well I made it this weekend, I brined it a little too long so even after a good rinsing, the pork was still a little salty. Also the ends of the pork where a little dry. The meat in the middle was juicy and tender though. It got me thinking that this would probably taste a lot better with a fattier cut of meat.

  2. Matt Medeiros July 2, 2015 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Yet another outstanding recipe! Thanks Jeff!

  3. Kurt December 4, 2014 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Awesome awesome recipe, made this tonight it was unreal, may be the best meal to ever come out of my smoker, it was a huge hit. Thank you!!

  4. Larry W Parker Jr November 24, 2014 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Do you think I could do this recipe with a boneless pork shoulder. If yes, do you have any tips or an established recipe I could follow?

  5. Larry W Parker Jr November 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Hello Jeff and all!
    I would like to use this recipe for a Boneless Pork Loin Roast.
    Are there any tips and suggestions you have?

    Thanks for the hard work Jeff.

  6. Clay Weldon October 9, 2014 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Your last picture prior to smoking shows the SINEW fully intact. Shouldn’t this always be removed, especially on a tenderloin where it is right there in front of you and you were trimming anyway. This IS the same sinew that we remove from the inside of our ribs prior to cooking!!!

  7. donald Butterbaugh October 9, 2014 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Jeff
    I tried something different last week. I soaked the pork loin in Ginger beer, brown sugar, and salt for 12 hours, rinsed it off, then dried it, and put your rub on it. I slow smoked it at 225 degrees in an electric smoker with Apple wood for the smoke flavor. Every hour I sprayed it with ginger Beer. About 25 minutes before I took it out I coated it with a mop of Arther Bryant’s BBQ sauce.
    Wow it was pretty good.

    Don

  8. Clete October 9, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Jeff when you smoke a pork butt do put a drip pan under the butt and use the juices with the finished product. I am in love with your rub, it is the best. Look forward to your weekly news letters.

    Thanks clete

  9. Rick Cole October 9, 2014 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Jeff,

    I religously use your recipes and have yet to be dissappointed. Rarely do I waver too far off script. I have a quick question, is there any reason why I couldn’t use a whole tenderloin as apposed to rapping sliced pices in twine? Would suggest injecting the brine if I use a whole loin?

    Thanks in advance for your response,
    Rick

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