Easy and fast, this smoky grilled pork tenderloin is tender and SO flavorful. It is perfect for a simple weeknight meal or a holiday cookout/BBQ!

No better time than the present to start discussing what food is going to appear for Labor Day weekend in just over a week.

This is important stuff, people!

Two grilled pork tenderloins on a wooden cutting board with a salad in the background..

You can’t just go into a holiday weekend like that with no expectations, plans, spreadsheets, and food goals when it comes to what to eat, when to eat it, and who to eat it with!

We are always pretty chill on Labor Day weekend (and most summer holidays, if you want to know the truth) in terms of traveling and doing over-the-top, adventurous activities.

But it’s a given that I’ll have a plan for good grub to grill.

And pork tenderloin is one of my favorite things to throw on the grill.

Exhibit A: Succulent Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Exhibit B: Citrus Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Exhibit C: Chili Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze

Two grilled pork tenderloins on a wooden cutting board. One is cut into slices, the other is full.

This smoky grilled pork tenderloin is absolutely fantastic.

The intense deliciousness comes from a simple wet rub that coats the pork and results in crazy good flavor (bonus points if you plan ahead and let the pork hang out covered in all the spices for a day).

Also, I can’t say enough about smoked paprika and the need for it to be in your pantry. This grilled pork depends on it to achieve ultimate greatness.

And I have a few other recipes that use it, too, so I promise it won’t be lonely languishing its life away in the depths of the spice cabinet.

I don’t necessarily have a brand preference – I’ve grabbed it everywhere from my small town grocery store to Penzey’s (online).

For grilling newbies (or those that are intimidated by it), pork tenderloin is a fabulous choice, because it is really hard to mess up! It is tender, juicy, and simple to cook on the grill.

Along those lines, I can’t stress enough how an {inexpensive} instant-read thermometer will change your meat-cooking game.

It takes the guesswork out of: “when the heck will I know if the meat is done cooking?” and will help you grill the most glorious, juicy meat you’ve always dreamed of.

Basically, you’ll feel like a grilling rock star. Don’t blame me if you lose friends because you can’t stop bragging about your mad grilling skillz.

A grilled pork tenderloin with a large metal fork next to it.

I get asked all the time about my grill. What brand/type do I have? And do I love it?

I’ve waxed poetic about it before, but I have a CampChef pellet grill + smoker, and it’s amazing. Straight up amazing.

I’ve used it multiple times a week (no exaggeration) for several years, and our grilling lives have changed for the better now that it is part of the family.

I was always a little scared of grilling and considered it a man’s job (cringe – I’m embarrassed to even admit that).

But this grill has been instrumental in taking all the guesswork out of grilling.

I’m quite shocked, still, how good the food tastes coming off of this thing. And Brian hasn’t touched it in months.

So take that, lame grilling stereotypes.

I haven’t gotten all crazy into smoking meats (except for a turkey every once in a while, and I did smoke a brisket a couple years ago and realized I have a lot to learn in that department), but for plain ol’ grilling, I usually set the grill to 375 degrees F and cook away.

It’s so easy.

I also fully recognize I sound like an infomercial, but it’s just because I genuinely love this thing.

I haven’t owned any of the other popular brands on the market (and CampChef isn’t paying me to spread the love today), but I can easily say I’d be lost without my pellet grill/smoker.

Now get to work planning that cookout/BBQ menu (and don’t forget about this fabulous grilled pork tenderloin!).

Two grilled pork tenderloins on a wooden cutting board.

One Year Ago: Strawberry Cream Puff Cake
Two Years Ago: German Potato Salad
Three Years Ago: Baked Cheesy Zucchini Bites
Four Years Ago: Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta
Five Years Ago: Homemade Chocolate Syrup for Chocolate Milk


Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin

4.76 stars (57 ratings)


  • 2 pork tenderloins, 3-5 pounds total, trimmed of excess fat or silver skin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup (53 g) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper


  • In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. The mixture will be thick and pasty.
  • Rub the mixture over the pork and place the meat in a shallow dish. You can grill right away, but for more flavor, cover the dish and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill (see note for alternate cooking methods) to medium-high heat (I use 375 degrees F on my pellet grill).
  • Grill the pork tenderloin for 10 minutes, flip and continue to cook until an internal temperature at the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the pork from the grill and tent with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Paprika: smoked paprika is pretty key to the flavor for this pork, so if you don’t have it, I think it is worth buying some for this recipe (plus, I have several other recipes that use it, too!). 
Cooking Method: if you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can try roasting the pork in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes, placing the pork on a lightly greased, foil-lined pan before cooking.
Cooking Time: this recipe is assuming the pork tenderloin is about 2-inches at the thickest part. If the pork you are using is much thinner or thicker, adjust cooking times accordingly. 
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 424kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 63g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 197mg, Sodium: 548mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

A grilled pork tenderloin with thick slices cut off on a wooden cutting board.