The Power Of Grilled Pork Tenderloin
I am a huge fan of firing up the grill on weekends after a long work week. It is great when family or friends are visiting and we can be outside catching up while the grill does the work. And, clean-up is easier than cooking indoors. I just close the grill after cooking and don’t worry about it until the next day.
Grilling pork is a little tricky. But, if you get right, it is absolutely delicious. Pork tenderloin is very lean, so you want to be careful not to overcook it or it will dry out.
Pork tenderloin actually lends itself well to grilling if properly prepared. There a few tips to doing this correctly so that your pork is moist on the inside and nicely charred on the exterior.
- Marinate the meat overnight.
- Rotate the meat frequently while grilling for even cooking.
- Pay attention to the temperature using a good meat thermometer.
- Allow the cooked tenderloin to rest before slicing it.
Everything You Will Need for Delicious Grilled Pork Tenderloin
You will need to be prepared a day in advance so that the meat can marinate for 6 hours to overnight.
- Small sharp knife, such as a flexible filet knife
- Clean cutting board
- Paper towels
- Bowl for mixing the marinade
- One gallon sealable plastic bag
- Deep baking dish or a large bowl to hold the filled bag
- Charcoal grill or gas grill
- Charcoal, chimney, newspaper, and matches or a lighter
- Oven mitt
- Long BBQ Tongs
- Vegetable oil
- Reliable meat thermometer
- Aluminum foil
- 2 pork tenderloins (1 to 2 pounds total)
- 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1/2 cup drinkable dry rosé wine (or white)
- 1 TBS pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp brown mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Note that if you would like a glaze to serve over your grilled pork, you can double the marinade ingredients and reserve half of it for the next day to heat and reduce down to a viscous sauce. Alternatively, you can use your favorite teriyaki or mild BBQ sauce. You don’t want to overpower the delicate flavor of this cut of pork.
Instructions for Making Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin
You could use a gas grill for this recipe. My preference is to impart some smoky flavor and a crusty exterior that charcoal seems to do best. Use whichever method you are most comfortable with. Just remember to check and fill the propane tank the day before if you are using gas. The instructions here are for grilling over charcoal.
Step 1: Trim the Pork
1. Place one of the tenderloins on a cutting board. Hold the tail end of the tenderloin steady with your non-dominant hand and a paper towel for a good grip. With your sharp knife, trim off any excess fat and gray sinew, known as the silver skin.
Step 2: Marinate the Pork
1. In a bowl, whisk together all of the other ingredients for the marinade. If doubling the recipe for a glaze, only use half of the mixture in the next step and refrigerate the rest covered.
2. Open the plastic bag and place it inside the baking dish or bowl. Pour all of the marinade ingredients in the bag carefully. Add both tenderloins to the bag and seal it tightly, pushing any air out. Massage the pork to completely coat it with the marinade. Place the baking dish or bowl in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours.
Step 3: Prepare the Grill
1. Before you set up the grill take the pork out of the refrigerator and let it rest on your countertop in the bag 30 to 60 minutes so it can come almost to room temperature.
2. Clean out any ash from the bottom of the grill. Place the lower rack back inside the grill. Loosely crumple 2 sheets of newspaper and place those in the bottom section of the charcoal chimney. Place the chimney on the lower grill grate and fill it 3/4s with charcoal briquettes or hardwood charcoal. Light the newspaper through the bottom holes in the chimney in 3 locations. Allow the coals to flame and then to settle down to a red and white color with plenty of heat. This will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Using the oven mitt, pour the hot coals onto the bottom grill rack in an even layer. Place the top grill over the coals and allow it to heat up for several minutes. If it has crunchy bits leftover from your last barbeque, scrape those off with a wire brush.
If using a gas grill, let it pre-heat to medium high
Step 4: Grill the Pork Tenderloin
1. Hold a ball of paper towels with your tongs. Coat the ball with some vegetable oil. Wipe the oiled ball over the hot grill to further clean it and to lubricate it so the pork won’t stick.
2. Drain the marinade from the pork and lightly pat the tenderloins to dry them a little. Discard the drained marinade that has become contaminated with raw pork. Place the tenderloins on the grill directly over the hot coals. Place the lid on the grill with the vents open. Grill for 4 minutes.
3. Turn or roll the tenderloins one quarter and cook for another 4 minutes. Repeat this up to 4 times to make sure the pork is cooked evenly and has nice char or grill marks on all sides. This will take anywhere from 12 to 20 minutes. Check the internal temperature at 12 minutes with your thermometer. You are looking for 145˚F. Keep rotating and grilling until the correct temperature is achieved.
4. Remove the pork to a clean cutting board and tent it with aluminum foil. While the meat is resting you can heat and reduce your reserved marinade until slightly thickened. Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 20 minutes before slicing.
5. Slice into 1/2" thick pieces and serve with sauce or a wedge of lime and your favorite sides.
If you enjoying cooking with flame, as I do, try grilling pork tenderloin. There is some preparation that needs to be done 6 to 24 hours prior to hitting the grill that will make a difference in how tender and flavorful the meat is. Refer to our checklists of equipment and ingredients in the second portion of this article to help get you organized the day before you grill.
For more Tips and Tricks on How to grill Pork Tenderloin check out this video:
If you have read through the recipe here, and perhaps tried it, please let us know how it worked out and what you liked about this tutorial. Happy grilling and eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Grill Pork Tenderloin Using a Charcoal or a Gas Grill?
Both a charcoal and gas grills will work when cooking a pork tenderloin. The charcoal grill is preferred by some because it will impart a smoky flavor to the pork tenderloin. This smoke acts as an additional flavoring agent, just like spices or salt. Using a gas grill (either propane or natural gas) is sometimes easier with pork tenderloin. The gas grill allows you to have better control over the temperature. Either method works, so use the grill you have.
How Do You Remove Silverskin from a Pork Tenderloin?
Silverskin is a layer of connective tissue that does not break down during cooking. It is best to remove it because it will be tough and chewy. Removing silverskin is very easy using a sharp knife. Using a paring knife or a boning knife, make a shallow cut just underneath the silverskin. Hold that piece of silverskin and move your knife in the opposite direction, easily removing the remaining tissue.
How Long Should You Cook Pork Tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin is best when eaten at 145 degrees. This should take about 5 minutes per side when cooked over direct heat on a grill. As it rests, it will raise an additional 5 degrees, making it safe to eat according to the USDA.
Should You Marinate Pork Tenderloin?
The pork tenderloin is one of the least fatty cuts of pork. This gives it a mild flavor and makes it healthy to eat, but it also can cause it to dry out and overcook easily. The best way to treat this tender cut of meat is to marinate it, denaturing the proteins in the meat. This will ensure that it is a juicy as possible, even if it’s slightly overcooked.
Do You Grill Pork Tenderloin Over Direct or Indirect Heat?
Pork tenderloin doesn’t take long to cook, which means you can cook it over direct heat. The cut of meat is thin enough that it will cook all the way through after being seared on all sides.