An Alton Brown-inspired pork tenderloin infused with a chipotle lime marinade will leave them asking for more. Just follow these easy step-by-step photo instructions.
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👍Why you should make this recipe
- A great-tasting marinated pork tenderloin for one of the masters.
- The marinade has honey, lime, garlic, and chipotle—used both before cooking and after.
- An easy grilling technique to get a perfectly grilled pork tenderloin every time.
- Easy to double or triple with about the same amount of work.
- A great Mexican tasting change of pace meal everybody will love.
A different taste from your usual tenderloin and a much different technique. You can check the inspiration recipe at Food Network / Alton Brown version. I added a few options and simplified the cooking method with my usual gas grill technique.
- Pork tenderloin—trimmed and remove the silverskin
- Lime juice—if you use fresh limes, add the zest of one lime. One medium-size lime contains 2 tablespoons of juice but ranges from 1 to 3.
- Garlic—One clove of fresh garlic equals ¼ teaspoon of granulated garlic powder.
- Chipotle—chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce or substitute ground chipotle powder.
👨🍳How to Make Alton Brown's Chipotle Lime Marinated Pork Tenderloin
- Mix marinade: garlic powder, Chipotle, lime juice, and honey.
- Add half the mixture to a Ziploc with a trimmed pork tenderloin—refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
- After marinating, rest the tenderloin at room temp for 30 minutes while preheating the grill to 450°.
- Grill with direct heat for about 20-25 minutes.
- Add the reserved marinade to a foil boat with the tenderloin. Seal tight and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Be sure you are using a pork tenderloin and not a pork loin. They are very different and cook differently. Most pork tenderloins will be between 1 and 1 ½ pounds. A very large tenderloin may come close to 2 pounds.
- One of the keys to grilling a pork tenderloin correctly is to realize it is not round, flat, or even square. It is a triangle, so there are three sides. When you rotate, you do so by thirds.
- Chipotle in adobe is always a problem for me. It is hard to find around here, and to open a can and trash the rest bothers me. I suggest Penzey Chipotle powder, and I had good results with that here and in many other recipes.
- The amount of honey in the original recipe was too sweet and dominated the taste. I have suggested a range; I use the low-end or brown sugar.
- The garlic is doubled in my version—we like garlic.
- Marinade time is 1-3 hours, but up to 24 is fine. As little as 30 minutes will get reasonably good results.
- You can use either a gas or charcoal grill. You need a grill surface temperature of about 450° to a maximum of 500°. Most grills will be about medium-high heat
Grill surface temperature is the temperature on the grill's surface where your meat is cooking. The grill equalivent to the oven temperature. Grill hood thermometers are not near that location, heat rises, and they are cheap and inaccurate.
You should be using a grill surface thermometer. Please see A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill for more information.
Seal leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 4 days or freeze for 3 months.
📖Grilled Pork Tenderloin Recipes
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Trim the pork tenderloin and remove the silverskin.
Combine spices with lime juice and honey.
Add half the marinade to a 1-gallon Ziploc, add the tenderloin, and remove as much air as possible. Seal and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. But up to 24 hours is fine. Refrigerate the second half of the marinade mixture for later.
Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temp for 30 minutes—clean and oil grill grates. Preheat the grill to a surface temperature of about 450°. On most grills will be medium-high.
Place over direct heat. Cook with a closed lid. Rotate the tenderloin ⅓ every 5 minutes for about 20-25 minutes until an internal temperature of 140°. Please never cook on time alone. Use an instant-read thermometer.
Make an aluminum foil "boat." Add reserved marinade and grilled tenderloin to the foil boat and seal the foil tightly for 10 minutes.
Slice, garnish with cilantro, and serve.
Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin a la Alton Brown
- 1 pork tenderloin
- ½ cup lime juice - about 4 medium limes
- 2-4 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder - Or 2 crushed cloves
- ½ teaspoon Penzy Chipotle powder - or one chopped chipotle pepper
- Trim the pork tenderloin and remove the silverskin.
- Combine spices with lime juice and honey.
- Add half the marinade to a 1-gallon Ziploc, add the tenderloin, and remove as much air as possible. Seal and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. But up to 24 hours is fine. Refrigerate the second half of the marinade mixture for later.
- Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temp for 30 minutes—clean and oil grill grates. Preheat the grill to a surface temperature of about 450°. On most grills will be medium-high.
- Place over direct heat. Cook with a closed lid. Rotate the tenderloin ⅓ every 5 minutes for about 20-25 minutes until an internal temperature of 140°. Please never cook on time alone. Use an instant-read thermometer.
- Make an aluminum foil "boat." Add reserved marinade and grilled tenderloin to the foil boat and seal the foil tightly for 10 minutes.
- Slice, garnish with cilantro, and serve.
Your Own Private Notes
- One medium lime will have about 2 tablespoons of juice but can vary from 1 to 3.
- The originally recommended ¼ cup of honey is too sweet. I suggest using half that (2 tablespoons), and I also prefer brown sugar in this recipe. For 1 tablespoon of honey, use 4 teaspoons of brown sugar.
- Marinade time is 1-3 hours, but up to 24 is fine. As little as 30 minutes will get fairly good results.
- Do not rinse off the marinade.
- Be sure to reserve and refrigerate half the marinade at the beginning. Never reuse a marinade.
- To do this well, you need to know your grill surface temperature. But you must use an instant-read thermometer to determine the end-point.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published August 13, 2011. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.