Cherry Bourbon Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked pork tenderloins are one of the easiest things you can cook in your smoker when you want something that tastes great, has a “fancy” feel to it and you don't have a lot of time to spare.

In around 2 hours, you can take a pork tenderloin from raw to smoked amazingly delicious and folks will think you slaved over it for hours.

The cherry bourbon compote Abi came up with is a perfect match for this as well.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 145°F
  • Recommended Wood: Cherry
What You'll Need
IMG 0492 1000x715Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Clean Up the Pork Tenderloins

Remove the pork tenderloins from the package, give them a rinse under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel

Lay them on the cutting board and do your best to remove any silver skin, extra fat, etc.

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Season the Pork Tenderloins

Now that the meat is all cleaned up and all that extra stuff is removed, you can proceed with the seasoning process.

As usual, I like to use the old trusty yellow mustard base on this pork to help that rub to stick really well.

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Apply a thin layer all over..

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Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).

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Massage it into the meat all over.

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If you are doing these the night before (recommended) simply put them in a big ziploc bag and place in the fridge overnight.

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If you are ready to smoke, you can lay them on a Bradley rack or Weber grill pan with a little space between them and you are good to go.

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Smoke Time

Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225°F using indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up. Once the smoker is preheated, it is time to cook.

Place the pork tenderloins directly on the grate or place the Bradley rack with the meat on the grate.

You can probably expect these to take around 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the perfect safely done temperature for pork at 145°F*.

Keep the smoke going for the entire time if you can or for at least an hour to get some good smoke flavor on the meat.

I used cherry to go along with the cherry compote but any fruit wood or even pecan would be really good on these.

When the pork tenderloins reach about 110°F or about an hour into the cook, brush some of the cherry bourbon compote onto the top of each one.

Wait about 20 minutes and repeat.

Be sure to use a tested digital thermometer to monitor the temperature while they cook. You are looking for about 145°F but I often remove them a couple of degrees early if I plan to wrap them in foil and hold them for 30-60 minutes until dinner time.

*The USDA has now assured us that it is perfectly safe to eat pork at medium rare (145°F  ) and if you have not tried this, it makes all of the difference in the world. The pork will be so tender and juicy, you might not be able to believe its lean pork.

Make the Cherry Bourbon Compote
  • ¼ cup Bourbon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 13 oz jar of cherry preserves (I used Bonne Maman)

Place all of the ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Using medium heat, bring the mixture to a rolling boil then reduce heat slightly to simmer for 10 minutes.

The compote will reduce by about 1/3 by the time it is finished.

When 10 minutes have elapsed, remove the compote from the heat and allow it to cool.

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Finish and Serve the Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Remove the pork tenderloins from the smoker and bring them into the house. It is a great idea to immediately wrap them in foil and then in a thick towel on the counter to hold them for 30-60 minutes until dinner time.

When ready to serve, remove from the foil, slice and serve about 1/3 to ½ tenderloin per person.

Be sure to have some of the warm compote on the table so your guests can pour a little over the top of their slices if they want to.

Questions

Can I do the same thing with a whole pork loin?

Yes, but the cook time will increase to around 4 hours or so. You still need to watch the temperature and pull it from the smoker when it reaches 145°F.

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Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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Printable Recipe

cherry bourbon smoked pork tenderloin 575x384 2
Print Recipe
4.41 from 5 votes

Cherry Bourbon Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked pork tenderloins are the easiest thing you can cook in your smoker when you want something that tastes great, has a “fancy” feel to it and you don’t have a lot of time to spare.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Servings: 4 -6

Ingredients

  • 2 Pork tenderloins
  • 2 TBS Yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup Jeff’s original rub

Cherry Bourbon Compote

  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 12-13 ounces Cherry preserves (Other berries will work fine)

Instructions

  • Remove the pork tenderloins from the package, give them a rinse under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Lay them on the cutting board and do your best to remove any silver skin, extra fat, etc.
  • As usual, I like to use the yellow mustard base on this pork to help that rub to stick really well.
  • Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of Jeff's original rub and massage it into the meat all over.
  • If you are doing these the night before (recommended) simply put them in a big ziploc bag and place in the fridge overnight. If you are ready to smoke, you can lay them on a Bradley rack with a little space between them and you are good to go.
  • To make the compote: Place compote ingredients into a medium sauce pan.
  • Using medium heat, bring the mixture to a rolling boil then reduce heat slightly to simmer for 10 minutes. (The compote will reduce by about 1/3 by the time it is finished.)
  • Remove the compote from the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225°F using indirect heat.
  • Place the pork tenderloins directly on the grate or place a rack with the meat on the grate.
  • When the pork tenderloins reach about 110°F or about an hour into the cook, brush some of the cherry bourbon compote onto the top of each one. Wait about 20 minutes and repeat.
  • You are looking for about 145°F but I often remove them a couple of degrees early if I plan to wrap them in foil and hold them for 30-60 minutes until dinner time.
  • Remove the pork tenderloins from the smoker and bring them into the house.
  • When ready to serve, remove from the foil, slice and serve about 1/3 to ½ tenderloin per person

13 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Budd December 2, 2021 at 8:30 am - Reply

    have you tried the compote on spiral ham?

    • Jeff Phillips December 2, 2021 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Jeffrey, I have not but that stuff is so good, I'd just about put it on anything LOL. I'd say yes to the compote on ham!

  2. Bill Fotheringham Jr. December 26, 2019 at 12:37 am - Reply

    5 stars
    You might be surprised to hear me say ‘yet another winner!’ but I ain’t lied yet!

    Jeff’s recipe is foolproof as usual and produces a tender, juicy result. Abi’s bourbon cherry compote brings the ‘fancy’ element and takes this dish over the top. Incredibly simple recipe with a huge payoff. We had a great Christmas Eve dinner and it paired perfectly with our wine choice. Saw a user rec to try a peach version of the compote, that sounds like summer to me, can’t wait to try it soon.

  3. Larry Williams July 14, 2016 at 2:11 am - Reply

    4 stars
    I made this recipe last night, and it turned out great!!! The house loved it.
    I divided the sauce and added mango to one. It also turned out great.
    Thanks, Jeff

  4. Jerry June 30, 2016 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Jeff. I typically use a drum smoker but I'm interested in an electric smoker for convenience. Any ideas without blowing the budget?

    • twogap December 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      I know it's been months, but if you have yet to decide I personally love me Masterbuilt Electronic Smoker (MES). I have the 40″ and it is about as convenient as can be. If you pair it with the A-Maze-N pellet smoker then it is truly set it and forget it!

  5. David Keindel May 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Thanks for highlighting the importance of not over cooking pork. People do not believe how tender and juicy pork can be, when cooked properly (pink). Great recipes and enthusiasm for smoking. Thanks Jeff.

  6. Jason Armes June 15, 2015 at 10:01 am - Reply

    5 stars
    I exchanged the cherry preserves for peach preserves…..DELISH!!! Thanks for the recipe. I'm going to try it with chicken thighs next

    -Jason

  7. doyan December 31, 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Jeff I smoked the bourbon loin everybody loved it

  8. John Kirkland December 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    I'm using a Bradley electric smoker at 225 degrees, and my tenderloin went to 175 degrees after only one hour. I was going to start monitoring the temp @ the one hour mark, so I missed medium rare. The sauce was so good that it made well-done tenderloin taste great! My Christmas guests all liked it.

  9. Ray December 18, 2014 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Hi Jeff, That's an amazing recipe, got your book ordered sounds like a good one.
    My question is can the Bourbon be replaced with a non alcoholic liquid? My son is a group leader at a recovery center of about 120 men and I sometime take stuff there.
    Thanks and God bless!

    • Jeff Phillips December 19, 2014 at 11:41 am - Reply

      I think you could safely replace the 1/4 cup of bourbon with a couple tablespoons of apple juice or even cider.

      I have checked some other sources and that seems to be the consensus.

    • Blaine March 25, 2018 at 8:41 am - Reply

      The alcohol will cook out, leaving the finished glaze alcohol free. It won't break anyones sobriety.

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