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The Complete Guide to Grilled Pork Tenderloin | Grillscapes

How to Make the Perfect Grilled Pork Tenderloin

America’s love affair with barbecue is well-known. Approximately 14 million grills and smokers were sold alone between April 2020 and February 2021. And one of the nation’s biggest backyard favorites is the infamous grilled pork tenderloin.

Juicy, succulent, and protein-packed tenderloin combines the flavor of a favorite American past-time with healthy eating. Grilling pork tenderloin isn’t just easy, it’s also fun! But if you’ve never made a grilled pork tenderloin, you may be wondering where to start.

Here’s what you need to know about pulling off exquisite pork tenderloin recipes on the grill.


What is Pork Tenderloin?

The first thing to know about grilled pork tenderloin is that it doesn’t just mean throwing a pork loin on the grill and letting it cook. Pork tenderloin is a narrow, long, and boneless piece of meat that comes from the muscle that runs along the pig’s backbone. According to USDA, pork tenderloin is an extra lean meat with a similar nutritional profile to skinless chicken breast.

Boneless, lean, and tender are three words that lead to a more expensive cut of meat. It’s why standard pork sirloin roast grill recipes will typically be cheaper than anything with this premium cut.

So, why should you give grilled pork tenderloin a try? Pork tenderloin is:

  • Low in fat
  • High in protein
  • Boneless
  • Excellent source of minerals, such as zinc and potassium
  • Highly flavorful

Despite this protein powerhouse offering so many benefits, it’s important to be aware that this is among the more expensive types of meat available. Despite the price, you can freeze it whole or in slices, which will stay good for up to three months in the freezer. In fact, buying in bulk is an easy way to pay less for premium meat.


How to Grill Pork Tenderloin Like a Pro

Like most types of meat, pork tenderloin is versatile. In this guide, you’ll learn how to cook a simple recipe and once you’ve mastered it, you can move on to more complicated versions.

Note: You can also take center-cut pork loin recipes for the grill and substitute them with tenderloin. Be aware that pork tenderloin cooks fast, so you’ll spend most of your time on the marinade.



The ingredients for creating a delicious grilled tenderloin are simple. First, purchase a premium cut of pork tenderloin.

The center of this recipe is Dijon mustard and maple syrup. The benefit of this combination is that you acquire the mustard kick and the syrup's sweetness. Together, this marinade balances out the unique flavor profile of pork tenderloin.

You will also need apple cider vinegar to tenderize the pork and balance the sweetness of your primary marinade ingredients. Emphasize the flavors with a dash of garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.



The benefit of working with most tenderloin recipes is that there’s usually very little preparation involved. The bulk of the work is making the ideal marinade.

If your tenderloin cut is in storage, take it out of the freezer and allow it to thaw. Do this only after your meat has been sufficiently marinaded but before you start to cook.

You will also need to preheat the grill to medium. The ideal temperature for grilled pork tenderloin is 350-375 F.



The marinade is what makes the meat. If you don’t want to prepare the marinade on the day, you can always store it in the refrigerator so it’s ready and waiting for you.

For this marinade, grab your ingredients and mix them. Yep, it’s really that simple. Mix them well and make sure everything has been absorbed into the mixture. Let the marinade run the show by locking your pork in a Ziploc bag with your marinade. Let it sit for two hours to one day, depending on how intense you want your grilled pork tenderloin marinade to be.

If this is your first time grilling pork tenderloin, choose a shorter marinade time to avoid overpowering the natural flavors of the tenderloin.


Grill Your Tenderloin

With your grill preheated to the required temperature, it’s time to throw your prepped tenderloin on the grill. Figuring out how long to grill pork tenderloin isn’t always straightforward. Most common cuts of pork are thick, meaty, and fatty, meaning you’ll have to cook for longer to get the tenderness you expect.

Pork tenderloin typically takes up to 12 to 15 minutes of grilling to cook all the way through. Its leanness means it cooks extra fast. According to USDA, your meat should have an internal temperature of 145 F before it’s safe to serve.

If you’re new to grilling, it’s always recommended that you purchase an internal meat thermometer. These devices cost just a few dollars and give you the peace of mind of knowing your meat is safe and that it will not make you sick.

Once your tenderloin has cooked, remove it from the grill, cover it, and let it rest for ten minutes. Like all meats, pork tenderloin continues to cook even after removing it from direct heat. Don’t be afraid to slightly undercook it before allowing it to rest, but be careful if you’re using this strategy and make sure the meat is safe to serve.


Serve Your Tenderloin

One of the things we love about this recipe is that it’s no frills — there are no fancy steps required to serve a grilled pork tenderloin! Many grill masters simply place their meat on a cutting board, slice it into pieces, and then serve it.

If you’re reserving this premium cut for guests, cut the meat into thick slices and arrange it into tenderloin medallions. You can also sprinkle a series of fresh herbs to improve the aesthetic further.

Looking for some inspiration for perfect food pairings? Here are a few ideas:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Coleslaw
  • Goat cheese pasta
  • Potato salad
  • Creamed corn

Your food pairing choice will also depend on the marinade you’ve chosen. Marinades and dry rubs can prioritize different profiles within the flavor spectrum. Experiment with various food servings to see what works best with your home pork tenderloin.


Tips to Make the Perfect Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin recipes on the grill are simple enough to manage, but you want to turn a good meat dish into a great one. Follow these tips to take your grilled pork tenderloin to the next level.

Cover with Foil

Your tenderloin continues to cook after you’ve removed it from the grill. The reason you allow your tenderloin to sit isn’t to allow it to cool — it's to finish off the meat to ensure it’s cooked to just the right amount. Facilitate this process by covering your tenderloin with foil for ten minutes instead of letting it sit in the open.

Trim the Excess Fat

Unwrap your pork tenderloin, and you’ll notice it has skin. Novices make the mistake of assuming the silver skin across the meat is fat. It’s a type of fat, but it’s not the fat you want. The skin is connective tissue, which is chewy and largely tasteless.

Use a sharp knife to remove the skin. Pull it up and off as you cut. Other types of visible fat are the tasty fat many diners love, but the excess connective tissue won’t be something your guests will appreciate.

Save Time with a Dry Rub

Not everyone has the time to rustle up a marinade from scratch. Consider a dry rub if you don’t have the time or ingredients to put a marinade together. Dry rubs are available in premade packages from most grocery stores. Whether you want a classic BBQ flavor or a spicy grilled pork tenderloin, there’s a dry rub out there for you.

Just open the packet and rub the contents into your meat. Make circular motions as if you’re massaging the tenderloin. Some dry rubs may have specific instructions on the package for how to apply it to get the best results. Once you’ve finished applying your dry rub, you can throw it directly onto the grill. You can also place the raw meat back in the refrigerator for later.

Use Indirect Cooking

The most important tip is to avoid applying a hot flame directly to your meat. Tenderloin is a lean cut that can cook too quickly at hotter temperatures. Fast cooking means a dry, unpleasant result.

The perfect pork tenderloin needs an indirect grilling to achieve its taste potential. Indirect grilling involves cooking the meat in a covered grill away from the heat source instead of having the meat directly above or below the heat source. Indirect grilling works with both charcoal and gas-powered grills. Many gas grills have a specific indirect cooking setting to simplify your life.


Make the Perfect Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grillscapes

The secret to the perfect grilled pork tenderloin isn’t just in the recipe or technique, it’s also in the grill you use. Equip your backyard with a high-quality grill that’s going to get the job done. At Grillscapes, we specialize in stocking premium branded grills from big names like Lynx, Twin Eagles and Fire Magic.

To learn more, shop the Grillscapes collection today.