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Smoked Pork Tenderloins

Primo Grill’s Smoked Pork Tenderloins! Let's Smoke!

Moist and flavorful smoked pork tenderloins are quick and easy when cooked on a Primo Ceramic Grill! Simply mix our 5-ingredients rub, and whisk the spicy maple citrus glaze. Then using Primo Grill's 2-zone cooking method let the pork tenderloins smoke for added tenderness. Lastly, brush with glaze and lightly char! Boom! Be sure to smoke more than one tenderloin because the leftovers are delicious for Arepas, Chilaquiles, Pork Sandwiches or Tacos!

A cast iron pan is on a grill with arugula and sliced pork tenderloin.
Smoked Pork Tenderloins is a perfect first smoke on the Primo Ceramic Grill.

This post is sponsored by Primo Ceramic Grills! I am always thrilled to show off my latest Primo smoky delicious dish because I love my Primo Grill.

Smoked Pork Tenderloins have been sliced.
Smoked Pork Tenderloins will look pink but have completed cooking at 145F.

4 Reasons Smoked Pork Tenderloins Are Extra Tasty

Two raw pork tenderloin along with 5 spices and a jar of Primo Garli Pepper Seasoning.
Primo Garlic Pepper Seasoning is a perfect base for a tasty rub.

The Rub!

The pork tenderloin rub is delicious with minimum cook time! Simply mix Primo Garlic Pepper Seasoning, your favorite pork rub, onion powder, ground cumin and coriander. The rub is then used as a “dry brine” and rubbed into the pork the night before or as short as 30 minutes before smoking. 

The Smoke!

After the rub has been applied, it is time for the Primo Grill to show off its ability to boost flavor and the texture in pork. First, the smoke from Primo Lump Charcoal infuses the pork with a subtle smoke that brings forth the taste of the pork tenderloin. The marriage of the pork, spices, and glaze is what you will  taste not a dominant smoke flavor. 

Two pork tenderloins are on the grill about to be turned over with tongs.
Pork Tenderloins are a quick middle of the week dinner!

The Grill!

The design of the Primo Ceramic Grill, with a 2-zone cooking ability, gives ease in creating an indirect heat zone and a direct heat zone. By starting to cook the pork over steady low indirect heat the moisture is retained. That moisture gives a tender bite! After the indirect heat (250°-275°) cook time it is easy to quickly increase the direct heat zone to over 400°F for what I call a fire finish. The higher heat short cook creates a light char especially when the spicy citrus maple glaze.

Two pork tenderloins are on the grill with glaze being brushed over them.
A simple glaze gives that sweet heat we love.

The Glaze!

A simple glaze of maple syrup or agave mixed with lemon or lime juice hot sauce, and smoked paprika is brushed over the pork tenderloins. The glaze is bright and has a balanced sweet-heat that is addicting! 

Two pork tenderloins have been smoked and are ready to slice on a bed of arugula on a cast iron platter.
Pork tenderloin are always long, lat and narrow.

Pork Tenderloin Versus Pork Loin 

First let me say, I smoke fabulous pork loins so be sure to check out my rotisserie pork loin! It will make you a believer in smoked pork loins cooked on a rotisserie or the grill grates. That being said, I love the tenderness and how quick I can serve my family smoked pork tenderloin. However, there really is a difference in the mouthfeel of pork tenderloin versus pork loin. The only reason we compare tenderloins versus loins is due to the name, and that name confuses a first time buyer. Here are other differences when it comes to pork tenderloin versus pork loins. 

A smoked pork loin has been glazed and is on the grill showing the size difference compared to a pork tenderloin.
Pork Loin Roast is at least 3 times the size of a tenderloin and is round versus flat.

Pork tenderloin, also called pork filet or pork tender, is the tenderest part of the pig because it’s located in the lower back part of the animal. The tenderloin muscle doesn’t get moved a lot which allows for the tenderness. In contrast, pork loin is from the loin muscle of the pig, the midsection that runs from the shoulder to the rear. That muscle does get a work out! 


A package of pork tenderloin can be recognized by the long flat dark piece of meat. There will generally be 2 pork tenderloins per package with each one weighing about 1 pound. In contrast, a pork loin is a large roast weighing between 4-6 pounds. It is lighter in color than the pork tenderloin. Note, a pork loin can be boneless or bone-in. A pork tenderloin will never include a bone. 


Unfortunately, there are only 2 very small tenderloins per pig therefore pork tenderloin can cost 2-3 times more than pork loins. I always buy pork tenderloins when they are on sale for buy-one-get-one-free. Looking at the online price of pork loin versus pork tenderloin, at Walmart today I see Pork Loin for $2.12 per pound and Pork Tenderloin for $4.36 per pound. At my local grocery store, as pork prices go up, I recently was surprised to see pork tenderloin selling at $6.99 per pound. 

Why I Choose Pork Tenderloin 

You know I love #prettyfood! And pork tenderloin provides that Wow factor that makes smoking and grilling a rewarding hobby! Guests always seem to be impressed when presented with a platter of sliced smoked pork tenderloin. Of course the tenderness and the flavor of pork tenderloin not only wins over their palate but mine. I love serving smoked pork tenderloin for small family dinners because it is not a massive roast. 

I also love preparing and serving pork tenderloin because there is very little prep when it comes to trimming fat and tendons. A package of pork tenderloins is all meat minus the silver skin which means you aren’t paying for bones! So consider those factors when pricing pork tenderloin per serving. 

Two pork tenderloins are on a platter of arugula with lemon slices.
Two pork tenderloins can serve up to 6 diners!

How Much Pork Tenderloin Per Person

Generally, I serve 1/3 pound of pork tenderloin per person. Through experience I know that a medium size pork tenderloin will feed 3 people. So a package with 2 pork tenderloins should feed a family of 6. If you want to do the math then multiply 5 ounces times the number of people you are serving. 

Equipment Needed For Smoked Pork Tenderloin 

Primo Ceramic Grill or similar

Primo Premium lump charcoal

Primo Heat Deflector racks and plates 

Grill gloves

Meat Thermometer

Ingredients Needed For Smoked Pork Tenderloins

2 pork tenderloins

Primo Garlic Pepper Seasoning

Canola oil or flavored olive oil like garlic or lemon

Pork Rub or smoked paprika

Ground Cumin

Ground Coriander

Onion Powder 

Maple Syrup

Lime or lemon juice

Sriracha or hot sauce 

The Primo Grill Thermometer is reading 250°F.
The Primo Grill design allows for steady heat!

How To Smoke Pork Tenderloin 

1. Prepare the Pork Tenderloin

Trim the silver skin from the pork tenderloins. Silver skin is the super thin, almost transparent, membrane that covers most of the tenderloin. The silver skin can be pulled or cut off. If you want to take an extra step cut 1-inch off the pointed end of the tenderloin, it is guaranteed to overcook due to the size. Or sometimes I fold back 1 1/2-inch of the point end and tie it. That way the added thickness helps for even cooking. 

I just hate to waste that extra meat by cutting off and tossing it, and honestly I don’t mind that overcooked end! 

2. Season the Pork Tenderloin

Combine the rub seasoning ingredients and generously sprinkle rub over all sides of the tenderloin; set aside. Combine the glaze ingredients and whisk thoroughly until combined; set aside. 

If time permits, the seasoned pork tenderloins can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 2-4 hours. If the pork tenderloin has been air-dried then brush with oil before sprinkling with spice blend. 

3. Prepare the Grill for Low Smoke 

When it is time to cook, preheat your Primo Grill to 250℉ to 275°F two zone cooking. Primo’s Heat Deflector Racks and Plates are beneficial during this process. 

4. Smoke the Pork Tenderloin 

Smoke the pork for 45-60 minutes, over indirect heat, or until the internal temperature of the center of the tenderloin is at least 120°. 

5. Adjust the Grill for High Heat 

Remove the pork tenderloin from indirect heat when the center temperature is at least 120°F. Adjust the grill, by taking off the deflector racks and plates, and opening the both vents. Raise the internal temperature inside the grill to 400°F or over, and of course placing the standard grill grates back into the ceramic basin. 

6. Glaze and Grill

Once the grill reaches for high heat, 400°F., brush the pork tenderloins with glaze, and place back on the grill over direct heat. Continue to glaze and cook until the meat thermometer registers 140°F to 145°F. Rest pork tenderloins for 10 minutes before serving. 

Two smoked tenderloins are slices and placed on a platter of arugula.
Primo Smoked Pork Tenderloin is so tender! Enjoy!

x Recipe Primo Smoked Pork Tenderloin
Download DOCX • 11KB

Smoked Pork Tenderloins 


Serves: 6

Prep Time: 10 min    Smoke Time: 45-60 minutes 

Seasons: All 

Category: Pork 

Smoke source: Primo Lump Charcoal 


2 (1-2 pounds) pork tenderloins 

Preferred plating elements and garnishes 

For the Pork Tenderloin Rub:

1/2 tablespoon Primo Garlic Pepper Seasoning

1/2 tablespoon pork rub

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon onion powder

For the Glaze:

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons lime juice or to taste

1 teaspoon sriracha 

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pinch of Primo Garlic Pepper Seasoning 


You Will Need:

1 Primo Heat Deflector Rack · 1 Primo Ceramic Heat Deflector Plate 

Primo Lump Charcoal Primo · Primo QuickLights Fire Starters


  1. Prepare the Pork: Use a sharp knife or pull  the silver skin from the pork tenderloin on all sides.

  2. Prepare the Rub: Combine all of the Pork Tenderloin Rub ingredients in a bowl or on a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle on all sides of the pork tenderloin or if the rub was mixed on a sheet of parchment paper, roll the pork in the seasoning. All the rub to penetrate at least 30 minutes on the counter or up to overnight in the refrigerator. 

  3. Prepare the Glaze: In a bowl, whisk the maple syrup, lime or lemon juice, sriracha or hot sauce, smoked paprika, and a pinch of Primo Garlic Pepper Seasoning; set aside.  

  4. Prepare Grill: Build a 2 zone fire in the Primo Ceramic Grill for indirect cooking by arranging the coals on one side. Once the lump charcoal is burning with some gray ash, insert the heat deflector racks, deflector plates, and the grill grates. Allow the grill to come to and maintain 250°F to 275°F heat by adjusting the top and bottom vents.  


  1. Brush the pork tenderloins with cooking oil. Place the pork tenderloins on the indirect heat side of the grill, which is the side where there are no coals. 

  2. Smoke the pork tenderloins over indirect heat, lid down, for 45-60 minutes, turning the tenderloins over half way through the cook time.  

  3. Once the pork has an internal temperature around 120°F remove the tenderloins from the grill. Open the bottom and top vents to increase airflow until the grill has reached 400°F. Regulate the vents to maintain a high heat of 400°F to 425°F. 

  4. Brush the pork tenderloins with glaze, and place them over the direct heat zone, which is above the hot coals. Brush the tenderloins a few times with glaze while finishing the cook.

  5. Char the pork tenderloins on all sides, about 3-5 minutes or until the pork tenderloins internal temperature reaches 140° to  145°F. If the pork tenderloins have become charred yet the internal temperature has not reached 140°F simply move it to the indirect heat zone until it reaches the desired temperature. 

  6. Transfer the smoked pork tenderloin to a serving platter, and garnish as desired. Rest pork tenderloin for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Chef’s Notes 

Use a meat thermometer or probe to check the temperature of the pork tenderloin. Pork is safe to eat at 145°F.

Smoked pork is always on the pink side, do not fear! As long as the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F you are good to go!



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