Smoked Pork Tenderloin is lean and juicy, plus it’s very easy to cook on any smoker. Paired with a delicious smoked pork tenderloin marinade, this recipe makes for an easy weekday dinner or a holiday meal!
Wondering how long does it take to smoke a pork tenderloin? Find out below, along with side dish suggestions and our favorite tips!
Smoked Pork Tenderloin
Perfectly juicy and coated in sweet, smoky flavor, this cut of meat is a family favorite.
The secret ingredient in the smoked pork tenderloin marinade is whiskey — Jack Daniels to be exact!
Prefer poultry? Instead of this smoked pork tenderloin recipe, try making chicken quarters instead!
They are juicy and tender on the inside with crispy skin on the outside, perfect for any type of smoker!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Pork – You will need a 2-pound tenderloin for this recipe. It should be pinkish-red in color with marbling throughout.
- Jack Daniels Whiskey – This is the base for our flavorful smoked pork tenderloin marinade! Feel free to use a different brand if that’s what you have on hand.
You can also swap this with an equal amount of beef or chicken stock for an alcohol-free version of this smoked pork tenderloin recipe.
- Brown Sugar – Adds just enough sweetness to balance out all the savory ingredients.
I prefer to use light, but you can use dark brown sugar for a deeper molasses flavor.
- Chili Paste – There are a wide variety of options to choose from, so use whatever you’re able to get your hands on.
Sambal oelek is probably the easiest to find, though chipotle chile paste, gochujang, or harissa will all do the trick!
Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin
There is a difference between the two, so be sure that you use the right cut for any smoked pork tenderloin recipes.
The tenderloin, also known as pork filet, is a long, thin boneless cut of meat from the area near the backbone. Because this cut comes from a part of the hog that isn’t used for walking, the meat is very lean and tender.
Alternatively, pork loin is wider and flatter. This cut of meat can be either boneless or bone-in, depending on the cut you buy.
Safe Cooking Temp for Pork
The proper temperature for pork, including any smoked pork tenderloin recipes, is 145°F.
Always use a meat thermometer to judge when meat is done, rather than going by time alone.
Insert the probe at a slight angle into the center of the pork, or at the thickest part, to get the most accurate reading.
Smoked Pork Tenderloin Recipe Tips
- Choose the right wood chips.
Pork goes really well with sweet wood chips from trees like apple or peach. But, you could also use something like mesquite or hickory for this smoked pork tenderloin recipe if you prefer.
Experiment with different combinations of wood chips and marinades to find your favorite!
- Wait to slice.
It doesn’t matter what type of protein you are cooking. Always let it rest before slicing to lock in those juices!
Smoked pork tenderloin needs to rest for 8 to 10 minutes for best results.
Remember to slice against the grain into 1/2-inch thick medallions, which are just the right size for serving.
- Avoid dry meat.
The best way to prevent smoked pork tenderloin from drying out is to slightly undercook it.
Pull it from the smoker when it reaches 143°F — it will continue to cook another few degrees as it rests.
Also, remember to brush the meat with marinade every 30 minutes as it cooks. This helps it to retain moisture and makes all the difference when it comes to flavor.
There are plenty of side dishes that you can serve along with this smoked pork tenderloin recipe.
Smoked red potatoes are a favorite because they can cook at the same time — and you can use them to soak up any extra sauce!
To keep things simple, try steamed vegetables or a salad, and either rolls or biscuits.
Smoked Pork Tenderloin Recipes FAQ
It typically takes 2 to 3 hours to smoke pork tenderloin at 225°F.Keep in mind that smoking time may vary based on the size of the tenderloin, as well as the type of smoker. Always rely on the internal temp to be sure.
If you’re concerned about the meat drying out, you can certainly wrap it in foil first.
While it can help the meat retain moisture, I haven’t found it necessary when I make smoked pork tenderloin.
Marinating pork before smoking will add more moisture and loads of flavor. You can certainly use a brine instead, but the low and slow cooking method keeps it plenty juicy as is.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Smoker Recipes
Smoked Pork Tenderloin + Video
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup Jack Daniels whiskey
- 5 1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons grated white onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, whiskey, soy sauce, onion, garlic, olive oil, chili paste, and black pepper. Add the tenderloins, making sure to coat in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least one hour, up to overnight. You may need to rotate the pork in the marinade every 20 minutes or so if it is not fully submerged. You can also marinate it in a gallon zippered bag.
- Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Place the tenderloins directly on the grates. Smoke for 2-3 hours until the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F, or to your desired doneness. Brush with the marinade every 30 minutes.
- Let the pork rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving. While the pork is resting, add the remaining marinade to a small saucepot. Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes, serve with the pork.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published September 2020, updated and republished June 2023
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