Let's learn How to Grill a Pork Tenderloin that is juicy, moist, and tender. It's so easy to achieve in 30 minutes on your charcoal or gas grill.
Grilled pork tenderloin is a near-perfect go-to grill recipe, it is healthy, delicious, moist, and fork-tender. It is both eloquent and can be an easy weeknight meal. And it is easily scaled to your needs.
It is an economical choice for the main dish that can be elegant or casual, so it is perfect for almost any occasion, from family dinners to fancy company meals.
Learn it all from the preparation, the right grill temperature, how long to grill, and the final internal temperature. It only takes 30 minutes with easy step-by-step photo instructions.
It is a great size for cooking for two or smaller households. But it is easy to scale up to large gatherings. And the grill temperature and time match pretty closely to grilled chicken breasts, grilled drumsticks, or grilled thighs so that they can be cooked together.
If you would like a different pork tenderloin recipe, check out Memphis BBQ Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Pork Medallions, and Oven Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches. For a total change of pace, try Alton Browns Chipotle Lime Pork Tenderloin.
👨🍳How to grill a pork tenderloin
- Clean, oil, and preheat the grill to a surface temperature of about 450°.
- Trim the tenderloin—most will have a "silver skin" that should be removed. It is some tough connective tissue. Brine if you wish.
- Season to your taste. Just salt and pepper are enough but use any seasoning you wish. I suggest All Purpose Seasoning - 7:2:1 and 7:2:2.
- Grill over direct heat with the hood closed. Rotate the tenderloin ⅓ every 4-5 minutes. It is 3-sided meat.
- Grill until an internal temperature of a minimum of 145°—about 25 minutes but will vary by weight and thickness.
- Remove from grill and tent with foil for 5-10 minutes before serving.
⏲️How long to grill a pork tenderloin
It takes about 25 minutes to grill a pork tenderloin to 145° (medium-rare) with a 450° grill temperature.
- Rare(less than 145°)—Not recommended due to USDA safety recommendations
- Medium-Rare (145°-150°) will take about 22-27 minutes
- Medium (150°-155°) will take about 27-30 minutes
- Medium-Well(155°-160°) will take about 29+ minutes
- Well Done(160°+)—Not recommended due to dryness and texture.
Times will vary by the size and thickness of the pork tenderloin and your grill and the exact temperature of the grill surface.
Times are provided to help with planning but never cook by time; always cook to a final internal temperature. The meat will rise 2° to 4° after removal from the grill.
- The big secret about pork tenderloin is that it is not round, flat, or square. It is a triangle, so there are three sides. So, whether cooking on a grill or in a pan, cook three sides and don't force it into a shape that is not natural.
- A pork loin is NOT a tenderloin. They are different cuts of meat and do not cook the same. If you are not sure, just the size will tell you. The tenderloin usually weighs about 1 to 1 ½ pounds. A huge one could push towards 2 pounds. If you think you have a four-pound tenderloin, you are mistaken.
🐖About Pork Tenderloins
The tenderloin refers to the psoas muscle along the lower back. It is chicken tenders in the chicken or beef tenderloin (filet mignon) in cattle. The psoas is generally the most tender cut since they are not used for movement.
The tenderloin usually weighs about 1 to 1 ½ pounds. A large one could push
towards 2 pounds. PLEASE BE SURE YOU HAVE A TENDERLOIN AND NOT A PORK LOIN.
Brine is not needed and will add time. It will add more moisture and tenderness. But realize it is already very tender and moist. If you do brine, do not season with additional salt.
To brine, a good starting point is to add 1 tablespoon of salt and seal it in a food storage bag for every cup of water.
You can fancy up your brine, some with sugar or brown sugar. Use about the same amount of sugar as salt. You can add some garlic or other things for flavor. An hour or two is enough time.
Of course, refrigerate during the brining and rinse the tenderloin with running water, and pat dry at the end.
Just coarse salt and black pepper are enough. I suggest All Purpose Seasoning - 7:2:1 and 7:2:2, with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. But any seasoning or herb will generally work well.
You can fancy it up for special occasions with marinades.
BBQ Pork Tenderloin
For great barbequed pork tenderloin, skip the other seasoning and use a BBQ pork rub. Then serve with a great sauce.
My Favorite Memphis Dry Rub-use with Memphis-Style Homemade BBQ Sauce.
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt - only add if not brining.
Almost any gas grill will do. You need a grill surface temperature of about 450° to a maximum of 500°. It will be at about 60-75% power on most gas grillssssssssssss
An investment of $10 in a grill surface thermometer is always a good idea. DO NOT look at the thermometer on the hood of your grill; it is not even close.
For help on grill surface temperature, please see my A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill.
A charcoal grill should be fine. Just don't crank up the heat and watch the surface temperature. You will need not to create a large fire and probably use the grill vents to help adjust the temperature. Of course, preheat, clean, and brush with vegetable oil.
.Work a finger or butter knife under it and work it off. A sharp knife may be needed if there are a few spots. Sometimes the back of the knife blade may work better than the butter knife.
The pork is done at a minimum of 145° internal temperature in the thickest part. According to the USDA, that is the minimum safe internal temperature with a 3-minute rest after cooking.
You must check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer.
Side dishes are always hard to choose. I suggest vegetables like Grilled Mixed Vegetables or Grilled Asparagus make an excellent side dish. We like to have potatoes of some type, like Grilled Baby Potatoes or Grilled Baked Potatoes without Foil. And fresh salad goes with everything like Fresh Spinach Salad with Bacon.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Glazed Grilled Pineapple is a great dessert served with ice cream.
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days and reheated in a microwave. I live to slice up cold leftovers on a green salad.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Editor's note: Some images from different grillings may not match exactly. They are provided to illustrate the instructions.
Trim the tenderloin of any excess fat and the silver skin.
Optional Brine: Start with 4 cups of water with 4 tablespoons salt in a food-storage plastic bag. Add 2-4 tablespoons of sugar if you want. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. When done with the brine, remove it from the brine, rinse under running water, and pat dry. Salt and black pepper or other seasonings at this point, but DO NOT ADD SALT if you brine.
Preheat the grill to a surface temperature of 450° to 500°—medium-high on most grills. Clean and oil grates well.
Place over direct heat—close the lid. Rotate ⅓ every 5 minutes until done to your liking. About 25 minutes for 145°, but do not cook by time alone—use a thermometer. The time to get to your final temperature varies by weight and the exact surface temperature of the grill.
Remove from the grill a few degrees less than your desired final temperature. Tent lightly for 5 minutes before serving.
How to Grill a Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin - about 1 ½ pounds
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste - I use 7:2:2
- 4 cups water
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Trim the tenderloin of any excess fat and the silver skin.
- Optional Brine: Start with 4 cups of water with 4 tablespoons salt in a food-storage plastic bag. Add 2-4 tablespoons of sugar if you want. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. When done with the brine, remove it from the brine, rinse under running water, and pat dry. Salt and black pepper or other seasonings at this point, but DO NOT ADD SALT if you brine.
- Preheat the grill to a surface temperature of 450° to 500°—medium-high on most grills. Clean and oil grates well.
- Place over direct heat—close the lid. Rotate ⅓ every 5 minutes until done to your liking. About 25 minutes for 145°, but do not cook by time alone—use a thermometer. The time to get to your final temperature varies by weight and the exact surface temperature of the grill.
- Remove from the grill a few degrees less than your desired final temperature. Tent lightly for 5 minutes before serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- Remember it is triangular meat not round. So a flip is ⅓ of a rotation.
- Brine if you have time but results are still excellent without a brine.
- Cook over medium to medium-high heat. Use a grill surface thermometer to get 450° to 500°.
- Season any way you want but do not add more salt if you brined.
- The final internal temperature of 145°-150° is nicely done.
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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Publisher note: Originally Published May 21, 2017. I have re-used pictures from other posts. This is a total update of a guide I published the first year of the blog that was in great need of a rewrite.