How Do I Barbecue Pork Tenderloin?

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  • Written By: S. McNesby
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Pork tenderloin is an ideal meat for the grill because it cools quickly and remains tender and easy to cut when barbecued. Since pork tenderloin is lower in fat than many other cuts of beef or pork, a few extra steps of preparation are needed to ensure success. Brine the meat before cooking so it stays moist, and barbecue pork tenderloin at the right temperature and for the correct amount of time for best results. As with any meat, check barbecued pork tenderloin with a thermometer to serve and consume safely.

While pork tenderloin is a low-fat meat, most pieces still require some trimming before you grill them. Use a sharp knife to cut away any excess fat and the shiny, silvery membrane that runs down the side of some pieces. Once trimmed, the meat can be cut into chunks for kebabs or left whole. Before you barbecue pork tenderloin, soak it in a bowl of salty water for a few hours in the refrigerator; this will keep it from drying out as it cooks.


Using a blended spice rub designed for barbecued pork tenderloin will add texture and flavor to the meat. The rub will form a crust as the meat cooks and help seal in the natural juices in the tenderloin, resulting in a moist, tender finished product. Spice rubs for barbecued pork tenderloin can be made from ground pepper, herbs, salt, and garlic. The spices are rubbed onto the surface of the tenderloin prior to grilling and remain intact as the meat cooks.

Heat up the grill in advance, using the hottest setting if the grill is a propane model. Since the strips of meat are long and thin, they will need to be cooked for a short time on each side. Barbecue pork tenderloin at a high temperature for a short amount of time, turning frequently for best results. Cooking the interior to a safe temperature without burning the outer portion of the meat is the ideal way to barbecue pork tenderloin.

A good meat thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin; this point is usually at the center of each strip. The internal temperature should be at least 150°F (about 66°C) before the meat is removed from the grill. Once the barbecued tenderloin is removed from the heat, it should be covered and allowed to rest for about five minutes before cutting and serving.


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