How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin in a Smoker

One of the most common meat that I smoke (aside from ribs of course!) are pork tenderloins. I love the smoke flavor and the meat of the tenderloin is incredibly tender.

One of the reasons I like to smoke tenderloins so much is that, once sliced, they are great to add to many other dishes from appetizers, pasta, wraps, beans, sandwiches and more. The smokiness of the meat can add a wonderful flavor dimension to a dish. It is so tasty that I love pork tenderloin on its own as well.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin-3

These come out perfect in my Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker and I even tried them in my newly acquired Bradley 2 Rack Compact Smoker and they were awesome! There are many different rubs and sauces that work well with pork tenderloin.

Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat, but there is sometimes some chunks of fat along the outside of the meat. I like to trim it of any excess fat, and it is quite simple to do, usually almost coming off with a bit of a tug.

Along one section of the tenderloin there is a thin layer of silverskin. If desired, you can remove this. I often take it off with a sharp knife and I find that its removal makes slicing the meat after the smoking easier.

Before you smoke the pork tenderloin, you want to rub it down with a your choice of seasoning. Normally, I use my basic bbq rub, but there are so many different options depending on the flavour profile you are going for.

Here are some great rub recipes that work really well with pork tenderloin!

If I am smoking a pork tenderloin with some rub or sauce, I like to smoke it more low and slow, so I will have the smoker temperature set at 225F. Smoke it until the internal temperature is at least 145F. Then let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

I usually brush the tenderloin with BBQ sauce right when it comes out of the smoker. If desired, you could brush the meat midway through the smoking session. That allows the sauce to caramelize itself on the meat.

Here are some of my BBQ sauce recipes:

Sometimes, I will stuff a pork tenderloin and wrap it in bacon. The bacon adds a wonderful flavour to the pork tenderloin. In this case, I smoke at a higher temperature – usually around 275F. This is a better temperature for crisping up the bacon.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin-2

If you are wanting to smoke a pork loin, like a centre cut loin roast, check out this recipe!

Here are a number of different recipes for smoking pork tenderloins.

4.23 from 9 votes
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How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin in a Smoker
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 5 mins
 

How to smoke a pork tenderloin using an electric smoker like a Bradley Smoker, Masterbuilt or a Kamado Grill like a Big Green Egg. Use rub of choice and wood like hickory.

Servings: 2 or more
Author: Steve Cylka
Ingredients
  • 1 or more pork tenderloin
  • 3 tbsp rub of choice per pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce per pork tenderloin
Instructions
  1. Start smoker, using wood of choice (I usually use hickory or maple) setting the temperature of the smoker for 225F.
  2. Trim pork tenderloin of any fat or silver skin.
  3. Generously rub the spice mix all over the meat.
  4. Place meat in the smoker and smoke till the internal temperature is 145F, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  5. Brush the meat with BBQ sauce when there is about 30 minutes left to go in the smoker.

How to smoke a pork tenderloin

60 comments

  1. I don’t own a smoker. I confess. I see beautifully smoked things and swoon. My son doesn’t understand how I can survive without one. After looking at your pork, I don’t understand either. 🙂

    • I just bought a smoker from home depot for $99 great investment

    • was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made from a cooking perspective.

    • There are smokers that make cooking easy. I have a Charbroil Big Easy smoker. It’s a “set it and forget it” appliance that even has a digital thermometer that stops cooking when it reaches the proper temperature. It makes having smoked to perfection food without having the experienced knowledge and hard work of a charcoal smoker.

    • I can’t actually afford a proper smoker BUT there are lots of great I structions online on how to make your own. I’ve had great success as well smoking meat on a charcoal BBQ.

      While a controlled smoker helps make the results consistent, they can be lived without while still getting to enjoy deliciously smoked meals. 🙂

  2. I think I just found my next project. Those look great & easy to prepare. I’ll post my results when I do. Thanks Steve.

  3. Can I iuse a maranated port loin to smoke

  4. Once again, its not even dinner time & I find myself drooling over this fabulous recipe & photos..YUM

  5. Can’t wait to try it tonight! Sounds wonderful! Just using my smoker for the first time 🙂

  6. I watch the temperature probe on my smoker and once the meat reaches 145F I take it out if not it begins to dry out.

  7. Looks great and sounds easy enough. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

  8. Good simple recipe. Thanks for that. I wrap mine in jalapenos and bacon – not too much to allow the smoke to penetrate. Spicy and moist. MMMMM

  9. Try brining it for a few hours beforehand. 1/4 C salt, 1/4 C brown sugar per quart of water. It’ll come out moister and with more flavor.

  10. Thanks! Did this today. I smoked mine at about 300 for 2 hours because “the kids” (me) were hungry. Smoked in my Weber kettle with Apple wood and served with some baked beans and jalapeño corn bread. I hadn’t smoked a tenderloin before, but I will again soon. Regular rub of smoked paprika, a little cayenne, salt, and lots of brown sugar.

  11. What temperature?

  12. My husband bought the Master Built Electric Smoker, “I do all of the cooking, he just loves to shop” and I must say, this is one of the best purchases that he’s made! I have tried everything, from sweet potatoes, garlic, whole onions, etc.. Food is awesome! In the bowl where you would add water, I add BEER! Yep, beer, the smell, the flavor of the food is aaamazing… Best money he has spent in a while..

  13. Only issue with this receive was that everyone LOVED it so much I didn’t even get to taste it! What a massive hit! Everyone kept telling me how amazing y pork loin tasted all night long. 🙂

  14. Going for the 225 temp. Dry rub, and may string a few pieces of bacon and onion on top for the win. Great recipe!

  15. I am doing pork tenderloins for graduation in an electric smoker. My question is; I have 7 loins. Going to cut them in half. So there will be 14 pieces in the smoker. At a temp of 225 how long will I have to cook the meat. Super new at this.

    • OK so a few thoughts here. First, congrats on who’s graduating! I have two kids graduating this year as well! Now your plan to cut the tenderloins in half, I would personally reconsider that. Why are you cutting them in half? Do you not have room to get all seven in there without cutting them? Pork tenderloins can dry out in the smoker if they are smoked a little too long, and cutting them in half I fear would increase the opportunity for them to dry out. If possible I would personally leave them whole. Next, you ask about the time it would take, and this is really hard to judge. Every smoker is different and some pork tenderloins can to be a little bit plumper than other ones so it is difficult to know exactly when they would be done. Do you have a digital thermometer? I would use that as your guide to know when they are done. That way when it reaches your desired internal temperature you know that it is done and the chance of them drying out is so minimal. I hope this helps, and if you have anymore questions feel free to fire away!

  16. Great post about making a pork in smoker. Thank you

  17. Great simple recipe. Thank you for sharing. I will try it one day

  18. Doing a tenderloin tonight in my Bradley digital smoker. No kids at home tonight so I’m going with a jerk seasoning to try it out. Love the posts here. Great info and great recipes as well.
    Smoke em if you’ve got em 🐂🐖🐓

  19. I am smoking a tenderloin in my masterbuilt tomorrow. My only question is I’m smoking a 5 pound loin, I am gonna use my int thermometer. But I don’t want it to b done to soon will a 5 pound loin still take around 3 hours!! I did one in a charcoal smoker a couple years ago that was not holding temps and it took alot longer

  20. I’ve not had a lot of luck with the electric smoker but I have with my charcoal Weber kettle. I have the charcoal holders that are push to the side and the product in the middle for indirect heat. I’ve smoked pork loins, shoulders, turkeys, ribs brisket and burnt ends. I even won the brisket cookoff at the county fair. The type of Weber that I have is one that has a gas starter so no lighter fluid is needed. I highly recommend the Weber, I’ve used one for 20 years. Being a Kansas City gal who grew up on BBQ, I had to teach myself with the help of the Weber cookbook that came with the grill as there was no BBQ joints where we live. I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and for some reason people just don’t care that much about good BBQ, we’ve seen restaurants come and go. But I have to say, our friends love my BBQ and ask when the next party will be. Now, that’s a compliment.

  21. Hi Steve!
    I am appreciating all of the information you post! Glad I came across your site as I am a smoking novice!
    Just received my electric smoker and as I type this the husband is assembling:) Then I will season it. If you would be so kind to answer a few questions….First I am going strait to the jerky recipe. I always read reviews and am unclear as to add the water or not for drying out purposes? Second, I am making a pork tenderloin, 4.5 lbs. with your basic rub, can you please give me an estimated time for this as I am so new to smoking. Oh and lastly will mesquite chips work well for both? My Apple chips are on the way.
    Many thanks!
    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa! Welcome to the world of smoking. You guys are going to love it! With regards to your jerky question and using water, i’m not exactly sure what you mean. Are you wondering if you should still use the bowl of water at the bottom smoker to catch the wood bisquettes? Is your smoker a Bradley? If that is your question then yes you always need to use the water because otherwise there’s a chance those used up wood pieces could catch fire. You always want them to be advanced and fall into the water. If that’s not what you mean, let me know and I’ll try and answer what you were thinking. With your question About smoking a pork tenderloin and how long it will take it really does depend on what is in the smoker and what the temperature and wind is like outside. Is this one pork tenderloin that’s 4 1/2 pounds? That seems pretty big for a pork tenderloin. Are usually find that it takes me about three hours to smoke a pork tenderloin when I’m smoking at 225°F. If there’s a bunch of other stuff in the smoker sometimes it takes longer. Mesquite wood chips do work OK for pork. It’s definitely one of the stronger smokes so I usually save it for smoking beef or lamb. You will definitely love applewood for pork! Feel free to fire anymore questions my way as I’m happy to help!

      • Thank you so much for the prompt response Steve!
        I have an electric smoker with a water pan. I’m conflicted on using water as some say this inhibits the drying out of the jerky. I was going to use non soaked mesquite chiunks and smoke low and slow, based on what I’ve read. They have been marinating over night, and I think I will add additional pepper to half. What do you think?
        As far as the pork loin, it’s probably 2 in the package. Thinking about grabbing some Hickory and mixing them with apple chips for that.
        Also, and this may sound like a stupid question, should my vent in the back of the unit stay partially open during the whole smoking process?
        I’m so excited, as I love smoked everything! I usually use a lot of spice and liquid smoke for my marinades…I know, not the same!
        Next week I’m planning turkey breast, Cornish hens, cheese and olives!
        Thanks for all your help! I appreciate it:)
        Lisa

        • Sounds awesome! Personally I would still use the water pan. I have not found it inhibits he drying for jerky. I keep the vent open for jerky as I find that helps drying. I love a little extra pepper on my jerky as well. Should be great. I have never smoked Cornish hens. I’d love to hear how that turns out!

          • Yup! I should of used the water pan! lol. I think it would of helped decrease the bottom burnt mess left from the marinated jerky, also the bottom rack of meat got too crisp and the top was perfect! Should of rotated racks and and went with 165 instead of 200 ( many reviews said both temps ) ….based on what I read I figured the higher temp was best with a cool rainy day. Smoke and learn!
            Today, send positive vibes for that 4.5 lb. pork loin I’ve had marinainating in your rub overnight! 225 with apple chips. Going to put a drip pan under that beast! My husband needs a rest after cleaning up that jerky mess! lol

  22. We purchased a propane smoker and cooking two pork tenderloins for the first time. Is there a difference in cooking time between an electric and propane smoker? Is propane more inconsistent?

    • Yes propane is more consistent at maintaining the temperature compared to electric. You may find the length of time will be shorter. I would just monitor the internal temp of the meat. Happy smoking!!!

      • Hi Steve! Just a follow-up, we smoked two pork tenderloins, the first time we’ve ever smoked anything. We followed your temp and time directions and they came out perfect! Best tasting tenderloins we’ve ever had and they were so moist! Now that our confidence it up a little, we are going to try a turkey. We are having a lot of people over for Thanksgiving and plan on smoking one turkey. We are testing one this weekend to make sure we smoke it correctly. Any tips?

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