Pork tenderloin is one of those cuts of meat that truly shines when cooked to perfection. Not only is it versatile and budget-friendly, but it rivals even the most tender filet mignon, especially when grilled. In this guide, I’ll share with you my fool-proof method for grilling pork tenderloin that results in unbelievably juicy and delicious meat in just under 15 minutes!
Easy Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Grilled pork tenderloin is a dream come true for any grill enthusiast. It is fool-proof, delivering seared and sizzling outsides, while maintaining juicy and tender insides. Whether you’re a seasoned griller or a newbie, this recipe just works every time.
One of the best things about pork tenderloin is that you no longer have to cook it to the point of shoe leather. The USDA updated its guidelines, recommending an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for pork tenderloin. This means you can enjoy a juicy, tender, and mouthwatering piece of meat without any worries.
Not only is it delicious, but pork tenderloin is also an affordable option for feeding your family. You can find it at your local grocery store for around $3.99 per pound, making it a budget-friendly choice when paired with grilled veggies like asparagus or zucchini.
And let’s not forget how easy it is! No need to marinate the pork tenderloin beforehand. Simply season it with your favorite seasonings and slap it on the grill. I personally prefer a dry rub seasoning, as it eliminates the risk of burning the marinade on the grill. If you desire sweetness, you can always add a sauce when serving the grilled pork tenderloin.
Pork Tenderloin vs. Pork Loin
It’s important to note that pork tenderloin and pork loin are not the same thing. Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that comes from the muscle alongside the backbone of the animal. On the other hand, pork loin is a larger cut from the back of the animal, commonly slow-cooked as a whole roast in the oven.
Although you can grill pork loin, it requires lower temperatures and longer cooking times due to its larger and thicker nature.
The Secret to Perfect Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Are you ready for the secret to achieving juicy and perfectly grilled pork tenderloin? It’s all about two-zone grilling. This technique involves creating a direct heat side and an indirect heat side on your grill.
First, sear the pork tenderloin on the direct heat side to lock in those delicious flavors. Then, move it to the indirect heat side to finish cooking through, allowing for even heat distribution.
Tips for Perfect Grilled Pork Tenderloin
To ensure your grilled pork tenderloin turns out perfectly every time, here are some tips:
- Prep the grill: Make sure your grill is properly heated to around 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit before cooking. This high heat is essential for achieving a delicious sear.
- Keep the lid closed: Maintaining heat is crucial, so remember to keep the grill lid closed between flipping the pork tenderloin. This helps create an oven-like environment for even cooking.
- Use a digital thermometer: Investing in a digital thermometer is worth it. It provides accurate temperature readings, ensuring that your pork tenderloin is cooked to perfection.
- Let the meat rest: After removing the pork tenderloin from the grill, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicy and flavorful final dish.
I love slicing the grilled pork tenderloin into 1/2-inch thick slices, and they are truly fork-tender. If you’re craving a pork sandwich, thinly sliced tenderloin is perfect for piling onto buns. This recipe is a surefire winner that will keep you coming back for more!
[Looking for more grilling recipes? Try my Perfect Grilled Steak, Grilled Chicken Salad, or Sweet Chili Coconut-Lime Grilled Chicken!]
Pair it with The Pasta Salad Ever
How to Grill Pork Tenderloin
Step 1: Prepare the Pork Tenderloin
Start by trimming a 1-1/2lb pork tenderloin, removing any silver skin or membranes. Brush the tenderloin with extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, and sprinkle on your desired seasonings. I personally love using my homemade seasoned salt, which includes garlic and onion powders, salt, paprika, and pepper. However, feel free to use your favorite seasonings.
Step 2: Prepare the Grill
Heat your grill until it reaches a temperature between 450 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a gas grill, turn all burners to their highest setting. This process should take approximately 10 minutes.
Step 3: Prepare the Two Zones
Once your grill is hot, move the charcoal to one side of the grill if using a charcoal grill. For a gas grill, turn half or one-third of the burners to low heat, depending on the number of burners you have.
Step 4: Grill the Pork Tenderloin
- Place the pork tenderloin on the direct heat side of the grill and grill for 1-1/2 minutes on all four sides, envisioning the tenderloin as rectangular, not circular. Keep the lid closed between each turn.
- Move the tenderloin to the indirect heat side of the grill and grill for 4 minutes on each of the two larger sides. You will have seared the pork on four sides in the previous step, but two sides will end up being fatter/flatter. Cook until an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember to keep the lid closed during this process.
How Long Does It Take to Grill the Pork Tenderloin?
Between the searing step (6 minutes total) and the indirect cooking step (8 minutes), your perfectly grilled pork tenderloin should be ready in just 14 minutes!
Step 5: Let the Pork Tenderloin Rest
Remove the pork tenderloin from the grill and place it on a platter or cutting board. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a tender and flavorful end product.
During this time, you can also grill some sliced zucchini, asparagus, or corn on the cob to complete your meal. Thanks to the grill, dinner is ready in no time!
Serve the grilled pork tenderloin with your choice of BBQ sauce, Bachan’s Japanese BBQ Sauce, chimichurri sauce, or even ketchup for the little ones.
Store any leftover pork tenderloin in an airtight container or wrap it in foil before placing it in the refrigerator. It stays delicious for up to 3-4 days. In fact, it’s so tasty that you can enjoy it cold straight from the fridge. Alternatively, you can reheat it using an Air Fryer or microwave.
Chop up any leftover grilled pork tenderloin and add it to easy fried rice, Thai crunch salad, cauliflower fried rice, BBQ cheddar quesadillas, or even enchiladas. It’s a versatile protein that can replace chicken in most dishes.
However you choose to serve it, I guarantee you’ll love this easy, economical, fool-proof grilled pork tenderloin recipe! Enjoy!
What to Serve with Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Napa Sweet Corn Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Marinated Vegetable Salad
- The BEST Pasta Salad
- Judy’s Baked Beans
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin
Remember, for more exciting recipes and cooking tips, visit Ekilove. Happy grilling!