How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin in a Smoker

How to smoke a pork tenderloin

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. I often get asked how to smoke a pork tenderloin in a smoker. It could not be easier!

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.

How to Smoke Pork Tenderloin in a Smoker

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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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 2 people


  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 3 tbsp rub of choice
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce


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


Per serving:

Calories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 55gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 506mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12g

Nutrition Disclaimer

How to smoke a pork tenderloin


How to smoke a pork tenderloin

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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  • 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

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

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    • 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.

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      • Hello i just bought a smoker, never had one im going to try all your recipes.

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    • 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. 🙂

      • The Cajun culture have made homemade smokers for years out of cinder block construction brick’s and they work great like a stone oven.They lovingly refer to them as Cajun microwaves. LOL

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    • Yes, you need one, i love the set it and forget it for awhile. I am hooked, you will love one..

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    • I bought a Bradley smoker at a garage sale for 10 dollars I’ve never smoked before it worked awesome pork turned out perfect and delicious best thing I did.

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

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  • Can I iuse a maranated port loin to smoke

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    • Marinated meat work well in the smoker. You could use a pork loin, but the smoking time would be longer since it is larger than a tenderloin.

      • I’ve seen two different temps in my recipe search. 225 and 275. Which one would work the best?

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        • If it is just the pork tenderloin I go for 225F. But if I wrap the tenderloin in bacon and/or stuff I prefer 275F as it is a better temp to crisp up the bacon

          • Hi Steve, my pork loin is the length from my fist to my shoulder. Is their any charts that give specific slow cook times by weight of the loin. Or is it strictly 2.5 to 3 hours?

          • Not that I know of. Do you have a digital thermometer? I would just use that and monitor the internal temp and remove it from the smoker once it reaches 145F.

    • i use a Pit Boss austin xl..pellet smoker im smoking 3 loins now.. nice infoe steve…ty

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

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

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  • 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.

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

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    • I’m smoking my first tender loin can’t weight to try it out I’m using a grill mates Applewood rub I will post the results of how it turns out

    • You need to cook the meat to 165 then take it out and wrap in aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If you are dry at 145 you are cooking it to hot and to fast. Make sure you cook at 215 to 225 and it should stay moist.

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      • 165? Maybe 60 years ago. 145 is fine.

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      • 165 if you want dry overcooked pork. You do not even take a chicken to 165. That’s just nuts.

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • What temperature?

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      • We smoked a 3.8 lb pork tenderloin at the suggested 225 temp, for the suggested 3 hour time, and it was very undercooked and bloody. We ended up slicing it, amd finishing in the oven.

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        • By the weight of 3.8 pounds that would not be a pork tenderloin. Tenderloins are usually around 1 pound. I am thinking what you smoked might have been a pork loin. They are usually between 3 and 5 pounds.

        • Do you know how to use a thermometer? You always want to check internal temperature before removing from the smoker. I think that is also stated in the instructions. If not, it’s just common knowledge to always check the internal temp no matter how you’re cooking your meats.

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  • 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..

  • 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. 🙂

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    • Haha! I hear ya. That has happened to me as well. Glad it was enjoyed by many!!

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

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  • 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.

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    • 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!

      • Thanks for the reply. Congrats to you as well.

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

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

  • 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 ???

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  • 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

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    • A pork loin is quite a bit bigger than a tenderloin so in would expect it Tom take a fair bit longer than 3 hours.

    • I haven’t ever seen a Pork Tenderloin weighing 5 pounds, now a Pork Loin maybe 5 pounds. but not a Pork tenderloin. Have a great day

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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    • 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:)

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        • 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

  • 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?

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    • 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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  • Pork loin and pork tenderloin are not cut from the same part of the animal, and in fact, look really different — pork tenderloin is thin and small, while a pork loin is wide enough that you can cut steak-like pieces from it. Steve Cylka’s comment on the Bradley Smoker are absolutely correct on the water pan. It also prevents puts out the used burnt wood that creates a smoke taste not wanted. I have used a Bradley for 5 years. It is just great. Only downside is that you have to buy the pre shaped chips, but the selection from Bradley is very wide and exceptional.

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  • Thank you for the great rub recipes and the recipe for smoking pork tenderloins. We are new at this smoking business. I have 3 pork tenderloins that are each about 2 1/2 pounds. I want to try your basic BBQ rub, sweet and smoky chipotle rub, and curry powder spice rubs. We have a Louisiana smoker. I want to smoke them all at the same time. My questions are: Since each tenderloin will have a different rub, will the flavors through smoking mix together and mess up the tastes? And, will it take 3-3 1/2 hours to cook all three at once, especially knowing they are each larger than a pound? I just hate telling people when we’re eating and having the side dishes ready and then the meat takes another hour or more. Thank you!

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    • Hey Michelle! Using different rubs for each tenderloin will not impact their flavour at all. I would imagine 3-3 1/2 hours should be okay but it is hard to know since every cut of meat is a little different. Do you have a digital thermometer? I would suggest a using that to test the doneness of the meat and remove from the smoker when they are ready. Hope they turn out well!!

      • Thank you so much. Yes, we do have a digital thermometer. I can’t wait to try out your different rubs!

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  • Ermagerd….this my first smoke on a ‘lil chief’ ….excited doesn’t even begin to describe this feeling.

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  • Hey Steve, Just wanted to let you know we love your recipe so much we featured it as part of our 101 favorite smoker recipes! You can check it out here –

    Thank you for pushing yourself in the kitchen and sharing it with us all =]

  • I will try smoking pork tenderloins tomorrow. We have a Masterbuilt electric smoker that a neighbor put on the curb with a “Free” sign on it. The digital controller is fine but the heating element was burned out. Rather than wait for a delivery of a replacement heating element I put a 1000 Watt hot plate in its place and connected it to the wires that ran from the controller to the heating element. The digital controller controls the hot plate and it has worked fine for us. We get good smoke from wood chips in a stainless steel vented box directly on the hot plate element. I wonder if putting a pan of water in the smoker will improve the meat moisture? Thanks for your great advice and recipes.

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  • Ok so I thought pork tenderloin done this way would be too dry and I wanted more of a pulled pork but didn’t have a butt thawed. I rubbed both generously with a wonderful pork rub that had brown sugar, paprika cayanne, etc.
    I put in a tin pan with red onions, a honey crisp apple, a tiny bit of water and apple cider vinegar. Will this work? Smoker is set for 300.

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  • Wow I just can’t understand why I haven’t spent the money and purchased one of these long before now ?? But yes I have one now I got one for a Christmas gift and yes we are going to fire it up tomorrow for first time , I am so excited I will keep you posted

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  • Removed all fat and silver skin
    Rubbed w Pappys Smokehouse Rocket Rub
    Placed in refrigerator for 24 hrs on rack to dry
    Skewered with Weber skewer
    Hickory chunks with Lump coal in a Weber Smokey Joe
    Indirect heat for 60 min then direct heat for 10 min until 140 internal temp
    Wrapped in foil and rest for 20 min before slicing

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