While much of the pork that we smoke and grill is anything but healthy, smoked pork tenderloin rivals lean white meat chicken in calories, fat and cholesterol. Eat it because it tastes amazing and enjoy the fact that it's also healthy!

Helpful Information
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Smoker temperature: 225-240°F
  • Meat finish temperature: 145°F
  • Recommended wood: Cherry
What You'll Need
Please 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.

Step 1: Rinse

These often come packaged in sets of (2) and it rarely says so on the package for some reason. A good way to tell is by the weight– most tenderloins will weigh around 1 lb each so a 2 lb package probably has (2) tenderloins. If it says 1.17 lbs, there's probably only one in there.

Remove these from the package and give them a good rinse under cold water.

Pat dry with a paper towel and lay them on the cutting board.

Step 2: Remove Silverskin

Use a very sharp knife to remove the silverskin that will often be along one side.

Slip the knife under one end and just follow it to the end. If you miss a part of it, just give it another go.

While you have the knife in hand, it's a good idea to remove any excess fat as well.

Step 3: Apply Rub

I normally use my original rub on all pork but I wanted to try out the Texas style recipe on these pork tenderloins so I did one with the original recipe and one with the Texas style recipe. (purchase recipes here)

As an afterthought, I also decided to use a different sticking base for each one.

Mayonnaise contains oil and egg and makes a great base for applying rub and helping it to stick. I often use this on chicken but felt it would marry better with the Texas style rub.

I used my normal mustard base with the original rub on the other pork tenderloin.

Make sure to get the rub applied well to all sides and the ends.

Step 4: Set up Smoker

Set up your smoker for cooking at 225-240°F.

If your smoker came with a water pan, use it.

When your smoker is up to temperature and holding steady, it's time to cook.

Step 5: Smoke Cook

I placed the tenderloins on a rack to make it easy but you can also just place them directly on the smoker grate.

Keep the smoke going for at least 1 hour but it's ok to keep a light smoke going for the entire time as well. Cherry wood smoke goes great with this pork.

I highly recommend the use of a remote digital probe meat thermometer and you have plenty of options for these.

The Smoke by ThermoWorks is my usual go to thermometer for things like this. The probe stays in the meat throughout the entire cook and is attached to the sending unit that sits next to the smoker.

The receiver is in my pocket or next to me where I can see it.

In this way, I have constant knowledge of the smoker temperature and the meat temperature without having to walk out to the smoker.

Is that lazy or just efficient? 😉

It is important that the pork tenderloin be removed from the smoker at 145°F. This is the safe temperature for pork.

It should take about 1.5 to 2 hours for the pork tenderloins to reach 145°F.

Step 6: Serve

Place a foil pan or a piece of foil over the tenderloins for about 10 minutes to let them rest.

Once rested, slice the pork into pieces and serve immediately.

Questions & Comments

How about grilling?

Pork tenderloin, like chicken, can be cooked hotter if you prefer and even cooked on the grill but I recommend indirect heat for all options.

No matter how hot you decide to cook it, watch the temperature of the meat carefully and when it reaches 145°F, it is done.

Round vs. Oval Slices

I am ok with the oval slices and because this reduces the thickness of the meat, it gets done faster if you just let it lay sort of flattened out.

If you want perfectly round slices, use some cooking twine to tie up the pork tenderloin in about 3-4 places along the length of it. This will hold it in a round shape but will take slightly longer to cook due to the increased diameter.

Please 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.

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Printable Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Smoked Pork Tenderloin - So Lean and Delicious

While much of the pork that we smoke and grill is anything but healthy, smoked pork tenderloin rivals lean white meat chicken in calories, fat and cholesterol. Eat it because it tastes amazing and enjoy the fact that it’s also healthy!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Jeff Phillips

Ingredients

  • Pork Tenderloin (usually come 2 to a package)
  • Mayonnaise (optional)
  • Yellow mustard (optional)
  • Jeff's original rub
  • Jeff's Texas style rub

Instructions

Step 1: Rinse

  • These often come packaged in sets of (2) and it rarely says so on the package for some reason. A good way to tell is by the weight-- most tenderloins will weigh around 1 lb each so a 2 lb package probably has (2) tenderloins. If it says 1.17 lbs, there's probably only one in there.
  • Remove these from the package and give them a good rinse under cold water.
  • Pat dry with a paper towel and lay them on the cutting board.

Step 2: Remove Silverskin

  • Use a very sharp knife to remove the silverskin that will often be along one side.
  • Slip the knife under one end and just follow it to the end. If you miss a part of it, just give it another go.
  • While you have the knife in hand, it's a good idea to remove any excess fat as well.

Step 3: Apply Rub

  • I normally use my original rub on all pork but I wanted to try out the Texas style rub on these pork tenderloins so I did one with the original and one with the Texas.
  • As an afterthought, I also decided to use a different sticking base for each one.
  • Mayonnaise contains oil and egg and makes a great base for applying rub and helping it to stick. I often use this on chicken but felt it would marry better with the Texas style rub.
  • I used my normal mustard base with the original rub on the other pork tenderloin.
  • Make sure to get the rub applied well to all sides and the ends.

Step 4: Set up Smoker

  • Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F.
  • If your smoker came with a water pan, use it.
  • When your smoker is up to temperature and holding steady, it's time to cook.

Step 5: Smoke Cook

  • I placed the tenderloins on a rack to make it easy but you can also just place them directly on the smoker grate.
  • Keep the smoke going for at least 30 minutes but it's ok to keep a light smoke going for the entire time as well.
  • I highly recommend the use of a remote digital probe meat thermometer.
  • Is it vitally important that the pork tenderloin be removed from the smoker at 145°F. This is the safe temperature for pork.

Step 6: Serve

  • Place a foil pan or a piece of foil over the tenderloins for about 10 minutes to let them rest.
  • Once rested, slice the pork into pieces and serve immediately.