How to Smoke a Pork Tenderloin on a Pellet Grill

How to Smoke a Pork Tenderloin on a Pellet Grill: Ultimate Guide For 2024


To smoke a pork tenderloin on a pellet grill, first, preheat the grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the seasoned tenderloin on the grill and smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grilling enthusiasts often search for the perfect method to smoke a pork tenderloin, a cut known for its leanness and quick cooking time. A pellet grill provides an ideal environment for smoking this type of meat, infusing it with a rich, smoky flavor while maintaining its tenderness.

Mastering the art of smoking pork on a pellet grill involves maintaining the right temperature and giving the meat the care it deserves. With precise temperature control and patience, you can transform a simple pork tenderloin into a mouthwatering meal that will impress your guests and elevate your grilling game. This guide promises a delicious outcome and provides a straightforward approach to achieving barbecue perfection.

How to Smoke a Pork Tenderloin on a Pellet Grill

Introduction To Smoking Meats On Pellet Grills

Pellet grills are popular for their ease of use and consistent temperature control. Smoking meats on these grills can impart a unique flavor profile that is both rich and subtle. Pork tenderloin, known for its tenderness and mild flavor, becomes especially succulent when smoked. The pellet grill enhances the meat’s taste without overpowering it. The size and texture of pork tenderloin make it ideal for smoking, as it absorbs just the right amount of smoke to enrich its natural flavors. This succulent pork cut requires less time on the grill, making it perfect for a family meal or special occasion.

Choosing Your Pork Tenderloin

Finding the perfect pork tenderloin is the first step. Seek out a piece that has consistent marbling and appears pinkish-red in color. The uniform size ensures the meat cooks evenly on your pellet grill. Aim for a tenderloin that feels firm when pressed and springs back quickly.

To prep your pork, gently remove any excess fat or silverskin. This lets the smoke penetrate the meat. Create a simple yet flavorful rub to coat the tenderloin. Use ingredients like salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Wrap the seasoned meat with plastic wrap. Let it rest in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, for optimal flavor absorption.

Pellet Grill Basics

Pellet grills are beloved for their ease of use and versatility. They use wood pellets as fuel, which are fed into a burn pot by an auger. This process is controlled by a digital controller, maintaining a consistent temperature. A fan circulates the air and smoke, ensuring your pork tenderloin cooks evenly.

The advantages of using a pellet grill include the ability to smoke, grill, and even bake with one device. Consistent temperatures make it easy to cook tenderloin perfectly. They produce a rich, smoky flavor, but with less mess and ash than traditional smokers. With their simple cleanup and user-friendly operation, pellet grills are great for both beginners and seasoned grill masters.

How to Smoke a Pork Tenderloin on a Pellet Grill

Preparation Essentials

Bringing the tenderloin is a key step for juicy, flavorful results. Submerge the pork in a solution of salt, sugar, and water for several hours. This process ensures the meat retains moisture. Change the brine’s flavor by adding herbs and spices like rosemary or garlic.

Crafting the perfect rub starts with choosing spices that complement the pork. Mix brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and salt for a basic rub. For a spicy kick, add black pepper or cayenne. Apply the rub generously to the tenderloin before smoking.

Setting Up Your Pellet Grill

To smoke pork tenderloin perfectly, precise temperature and smoke control are key. Begin by preheating your pellet grill to the ideal temperature of 225°F. This ensures that the meat cooks slowly and absorbs that delicious smoky flavor. Always use high-quality, food-grade pellets for consistent heat and smoke. For a pork tenderloin, fruitwood like apple or cherry pellets are great choices, offering a sweet and mild smoke that complements the meat. Keep a close eye on your grill’s thermometer to maintain the temperature. If your grill has a smoke setting, use it to enhance the smokiness. Maintaining the temperature is crucial for a tender and juicy pork tenderloin.

The Smoking Process

Smoking a pork tenderloin on a pellet grill requires attention and precision. Begin by setting the grill temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This low-and-slow approach allows the meat to absorb the smoky flavors while tenderizing.

Season the tenderloin evenly on all sides with your chosen spices. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. The meat should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be done.

Time Interval Action Internal Temp Check
Hour 1 Place meat on the grill Not needed
Hour 2 Check pellet levels Every 20 mins
Finish Remove and rest the meat 145°F

Remember, resting the meat post-cooking is crucial. It allows the juices to be redistributed. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy your perfectly smoked pork tenderloin!

Flavor Enhancements

The right wood pellets bring out unique flavors. Choose hickory for a strong taste. Applewood or cherry gives a sweeter, fruity scent. Blend different types for a custom profile.

Misting the pork with apple juice or cider can lock in moisture. It also adds a subtle, sweet taste. A good marinade enhances the meat. Try a mix of brown sugar, salt, and your favorite spices. Let the pork soak in it for several hours or overnight. This step ensures a juicy, flavorful tenderloin.

How to Smoke a Pork Tenderloin on a Pellet Grill: Ultimate Guide


Safety And Temperature Checks

Knowing the correct internal temperature is crucial for a perfectly smoked pork tenderloin. Always use a reliable meat thermometer. A pork tenderloin should reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) before removing it from the grill. It’s important not to rely on guesswork. A thermometer ensures the meat is safe to eat and cooked just right.

After cooking, let the meat rest before cutting. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the tenderloin, making it moist and tender. The rest should be for 5 to 10 minutes. This waiting time might be the secret to the best-tasting pork. Patience during this stage is key!

Serving Suggestions

Carving your smoked pork tenderloin requires a sharp knife and patience. Ensure that the tenderloin is rested before slicing. Cut against the grain into thin medallions for the best texture.

For an impressive presentation, arrange slices neatly on a platter. Garnish with fresh herbs to enhance visual appeal. Sides such as grilled vegetables, coleslaw, or a fruit salsa complement the tenderloin’s smoky flavor. Pair tenderloin slices with a bold barbecue sauce or a light chimichurri to boost taste.

Cleaning And Grill Maintenance

Maintaining your pellet grill is essential for the best smoking results. After smoking a pork tenderloin, it’s crucial to perform post-cook cleanup. Begin by allowing the grill to cool sufficiently. Safely dispose of any remaining ash and unused pellets. Next, focus on the interior surfaces of the grill. Use a grill brush to scrub the grates gently. This practice prevents residue buildup and ensures tasty food every time.

Regular maintenance extends your grill’s life. Every month, inspect all components. Replace worn-out parts promptly. Clean the temperature probes and check that the pellet hopper is free from moisture and debris. By keeping your pellet grill clean and well-maintained, you can look forward to many years of delicious smoked foods.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Smoking pork tenderloin can be tricky, and one common mistake is overcooking. This lean meat can dry out if cooked too long. To keep it juicy, use a thermometer and aim for an internal temperature of 145°F before taking it off the grill. Remember, the tenderloin cooks slightly when you remove it from the heat.

Another key step not to skip is resting your meat. After cooking, let your pork tenderloin rest for at least 10 minutes. Resting allows juices to be redistributed, ensuring each slice is moist and flavorful. Skipping this step often leads to dry and disappointing cuts.

Taking It Further

Exploring new flavors can make smoking pork tenderloin exciting. Try different wood pellets like cherry, hickory, or mesquite. Each type offers a unique taste.

Mix herbs and spices to create custom rubs. Combine sweet and savory for a complex flavor profile. Marinades can also infuse the meat with moisture and taste.

Flavor Type Recommended For
Cherry Wood Pellet Sweetness
Hickory Wood Pellet Strong Smoke
Mesquite Wood Pellet Intense Flavor
  • Brine the pork before smoking for added juiciness.
  • Wrap in foil with butter during the last hour for tenderness.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure perfect cooking.
How to Smoke a Pork Tenderloin on a Pellet Grill: Ultimate Guide



What Temperature To Smoke Pork Tenderloin?

To smoke pork tenderloin, aim for a grill temperature of 225-250°F. This low and slow approach ensures a juicy and tender final product. Use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 145°F before resting.

How Long To Smoke Pork On A Pellet Grill?

Smoking a pork tenderloin on a pellet grill typically takes 2-3 hours. The key is maintaining consistent temperature and smoking until the internal meat temperature reaches 145°F. Always let it rest before slicing to preserve juiciness.

Is Marinating Necessary For Smoking Pork Tenderloin?

While not necessary, marinating can enhance flavor and tenderness. A simple marinade for 2-4 hours before smoking will suffice. Alternatively, a dry rub can also impart rich flavors and should be applied at least 30 minutes before smoking.

Can I Use Any Wood Pellets For Pork Tenderloin?

For pork tenderloin, fruit woods like apple or cherry are recommended. They impart a mild, sweet-smoke flavor that complements pork well. Avoid using stronger woods like hickory or mesquite which can overwhelm the delicate flavor of the tenderloin.


Mastering smoking a pork tenderloin on your pellet grill can elevate your outdoor cooking experience. Following the steps outlined, your next backyard barbecue will surely be a hit. Remember, patience and proper temperature control are critical.

Now, fire up that grill and let the smoky magic unfold!


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