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Smoked Pork Tenderloin Recipe

When it comes to barbecue classics, my family’s all-time favorite is my famous smoked pork tenderloin recipe. I’ve perfected this recipe throughout my many years of backyard smoking, and it never fails to deliver big flavor, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a deliciously subtle essence of smoke.

smoked pork tenderloin

The distinct smell of this smoked pork tenderloin attracts my wife, kids, and even the neighbors from down the street. If you’re looking for an easy smoker recipe that your family will love, learn how to make my smoked pork tenderloin with dry rub.

How To Make Smoked Pork Tenderloin

In summary to make smoked pork tenderloin, start with preparing the dry rub by combing brown sugar, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Season pork tenderloin with the rub and place in the smoker. Set smoker at 225F and cook until meat temperature reaches 145F which takes about 2-3 hours. 

Exact measurements of ingredients and bonus tips are below in the recipe section. Check it out!

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Pork Tenderloin At 250 Degrees?

You should plan to smoke your pork tenderloin for at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or up to 2 hours depending on the size of your pork. My general rule is a little less than 1 hour per 1 pound of pork tenderloin. Most pork tenderloins weigh about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds individually, even though they are often sold in a two-pack at the grocery store.

Keep in mind cooking time can also vary depending on your smoker. While you can smoke a pork tenderloin at 250 degrees, my recipe drops the temperature down to 225 degrees for more of a “low and slow” style of smoking. This increases the cooking time slightly, but it also helps preserve the meat’s natural juices.

Considering these factors, It is a good idea to start checking your pork tenderloin’s temperature about 50 minutes into the smoking process.

Want to try other smoked pork recipes? Try smoking pork loin or super tender smoked pork roast. Another easy recipe is my delicious smoked country style ribs. Try these meatier thick smoked pork chops. If you are looking for a fattier meat try my mouthwatering smoked pork belly.

smoked pork tenderloin rub

What Temperature Should Smoked Pork Tenderloin Be Cooked To?

The optimal temperature for smoked pork tenderloin is 145 degrees, which will give you juicy, tender meat that still has a tint of pink. Because pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat, it can easily become dry or tough if it is overcooked, so monitoring the temperature throughout the cooking process is essential.

While smoking pork to 145 degrees will deliver the best bite that is safe to eat, some people prefer to cook their pork to a higher temperature. If you prefer a completely well-done piece of meat, smoke your pork tenderloin to 165 degrees.

What Should I Serve With Smoked Pork Tenderloin?

Smoke pork tenderloin is a versatile main course, and you can serve it with any side dishes you like to set the tone of the meal. Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve pork tenderloin:

Classic Summer Barbecue

Smoked pork tenderloin is the perfect meat for a barbecue. I tend to make smoked pork tenderloin when the weather is beautiful, and serve the meal outdoors with cool coleslaw, hearty potato salad, and baked mac and cheese.

Elegant “Date Night” Meal

Served with the right sides, smoked pork tenderloin is a stunning main course. I make this meal to impress my wife by pairing the meat with creamy mashed potatoes, roasted green vegetables, and a side salad. Its smokey notes can stand up to a bold, fruity red wine.

Sunday Dinner with Family

We love leftovers in my home, and smoked pork tenderloin is a great recipe to cook on a Sunday night before the busy week begins. I cook up large sides that are great reheated the next day, like potato casserole, buttery noodles, and plenty of steamed vegetables.


Smoked pork tenderloin can serve as a fantastic sandwich meat. I slice the pork tenderloin thinly, and pile it high on a toasted bun with a thick slice of melty cheddar cheese and tangy pickles.

pork tenderloin smoked

What Make A Good Pork Tenderloin Recipe?

A good smoked pork tenderloin is simple, and it should focus on elevating the natural flavors of the meat. While you can’t go wrong with a dry rub and low temperature, here are some other tips for making the perfect smoked pork tenderloin:

Pat your meat dry before you add the rub. This helps ensure your seasoning will coat the meat evenly and create a delicious crust.
Don’t skimp on the seasoning. Under-seasoned pork is bland, and it is essential to season your meat in the beginning of the cooking process.
Check the temperature carefully. Never check your meat’s temperature by cutting into it, as it will lose moisture. Instead, use a quality meat thermometer.
Use quality wood chips. Hickory smoking chips will infuse your pork tenderloin with a bold, robust flavor. You can also use applewood chips.
Let your meat rest. After your meat is done cooking, let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing so it can retain its natural juices.

smoked pork tenderloin recipe

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin smoked in just 3 hours!

Course Main Course
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 4


  • 2 lbs Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 cup Barbecue Sauce (You can use any of your favorite BBQ sauce)

Dry Rub:

  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika


  1. Preheat your smoker to 225F and add hickory wood chips.

  2. Mix all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl until combined.

  3. Generously season your pork tenderloin, covering all its surfaces with the rub.

  4. Smoke your pork tenderloin until internal temperature reaches 145F.

  5. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, baste your pork with barbecue sauce to achieve a saucy glaze.

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