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Smoked pork tenderloin is a go-to recipe in my house. It’s easy to make and is a “scroll-stopper” as I like to call it. My kids drop their electronics and are pumped to join me for dinner when they see a pork tenderloin marinating in the fridge.

sliced smoked pork tenderloin served on cutting board
Smoked Pork Tenderloin is tender and juicy every time!

Top Tips for Preparing Smoked Pork Tenderloin 

Before you throw that beautiful pork tenderloin on the smoker, there are some steps to take to make sure you’re making the best smoked pork tenderloin you’ve ever had. 

Tip #1: First things first, remove the silver skin and excess fat from the pork. Look at your pork loin, do you notice one side has a white film over it?

seasonings (rubs) and uncooked pork tenderloin displayed on cutting board

That’s the silver skin and you don’t want it left on your pork — trust me, you’ll wind up with tough and chewy pieces of pork. 

To remove the silver skin, start at the narrow end of the tenderloin, pinch the meat in order to move the membrane away from the skin, and then slide your knife under the membrane.

In a sawing motion, move your knife from the thin end to the thick end of the membrane. 

Tip #2: For the fullest flavor and to avoid drying out the meat, start with a brine. My favorite pork brine is made up of:

brine used for pork tenderloin displayed on cutting board
Smoked Pork Loin Brine
  • Apple cider
  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Kosher salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Bay leaves
  • Garlic
  • Dark brown sugar, and
  • Water

How do you keep pork moist when smoking?

One of the biggest concerns that people have when smoking meat is that they’re worried that the meat is going to dry out. While it’s possible, you can prevent it by rubbing a dry brine on the pork and letting it rest for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.

The longest part of this process is letting the pork loin marinate in the brine for at least two hours.

pork tenderloin marinade in brine in ziplock bag
Let pork loin marinate for at least 2 hours.

Tip #3: Don’t forget a pork rub. A rub can be simple. In fact, most of my rubs involve the same ingredients:

  • Sweet Paprika
  • Ground Pepper
  • Dry Mustard
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
seasoning mixed together used for smoked pork tenderloin

If you’re going to be smoking pork frequently, I suggest making a large batch of this rub and keeping it on hand. 

pork tenderloin covered in rub (seasoning) preparing for smoking
Pork tenderloin covered with seasoned rub.

What Temperature Should I Smoke Pork Tenderloins At?

For most of my recipes, I recommend smoking them low and slow.  But for pork tenderloins, you don’t want to smoke them too slowly.

In order to ensure tenderness and avoid a tough, unpalatable meat, I recommend smoking the meat at 225°F until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. This usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half. 

What Type of Wood Should I Use for Smoked Pork Tenderloin? 

My top choice for smoked pork tenderloin is applewood. The sweet and mild flavors of applewood always compliment pork well. 

Cook pork tenderloin quickly to ensure tenderness. Although pork tenderloin is one of the most tender pork cuts, overcooking can make it tough and unpalatable.

Do you flip pork tenderloin when smoking?

Since you’re going to be smoking the meat and having that heat and temperature surrounding it in all directions, flipping it isn’t really of concern.

I do think that it’s important however to rotate and move the meat to different areas in the smoker as the heat can be distributed differently throughout the smoker.

At what temp does meat stop absorbing smoke?

This is actually a misconception that many grillers have. There isn’t a set temperature on when meat stops absorbing smoke but you will stop getting smoke ring growth once the meat hits an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

smoked pork tenderloin smoking on a Weber smoker
The smoked pork tenderloin should reach an internal temp of 145 degrees.

Does meat get more tender the longer you smoke it?

It does. This is why smoking meat is a low and slow process. It’s heating the meat at a constant slow temperature to break down the meat, in turn giving it that smoky flavor and making it more tender, too.

Do you wrap meat in foil when smoking?

You have choices to make about this when it comes to smoking meat. If you decide to wrap the meat in aluminum foil, it will retain more moisture and speed up the smoking time because it’s trapping in more of the heat.

pork tenderloin wrapped in aluminum foil

However, you don’t want to wrap it in foil for the whole process but rather about halfway through the cooking time.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin seasoned and ready to be wrapped in foil
Wrap pork tenderloin halfway through the smoking process

You also don’t have to wrap it in foil if you don’t want which will give it a more direct smoke flavor when smoking the meat.

This Smoked Pork Tenderloin pairs well with my smoked mac-n-cheese recipe. Don’t forget to check it out.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin served with smoked macaroni cheese
Smoked Pork Tenderloin with smoked mac-n-cheese, oh yum!

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Before you throw that beautiful pork tenderloin on the smoker, there are some steps to take to make sure you’re making the best smoked pork tenderloin you’ve ever had.
4.56 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Smoked Recipes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Pork Tenderloin
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 108kcal
Author: Mark Rogers

Ingredients

Brine

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar

Pork Rub

  • ¼ Cup Sweet Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
  • ½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Powder

Instructions

Brining

  • Combine brining ingredients in a medium saucepan, heat over medium heat until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool completely.
  • Remove silver skin and excess fat from tenderloin.
  • Place in a brining container and pour the cooled brining solution in to cover the tenderloin.
  • Marinade in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Smoking

  • Preheat the smoker to 225F degrees.
  • Remove the tenderloin from the brining solution, rinse well and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Mix together the ingredients for the pork rub and sprinkle on all sides of the tenderloin.
  • Add applewood chips to the smoker and place the tenderloin in the center of your smoker and smoke until the internal temperature comes up to 145F degrees. About 1-1 ½ hours.
  • Remove from smoker and wrap in aluminum foil for 15 minutes before serving.
  • Slice into ½ – ¾ inch thick medallions.

Nutrition

Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2343mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 2288IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

All you pitmaster dads need to check out my other recent smoked recipes:

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