How To Grill Pork Tenderloin
It can be tricky to grill pork tenderloin and not have it dry out. But it can be done and we have all the steps and tricks you need here.
Unlike pork butt and pork shoulder, which roast up nice and juicy, pork tenderloin has a reputation for being dry. That’s because it’s such a lean cut of meat. Cooking it can therefore be challenging. And grilling, with the direct heat blasting away at the meat, can be especially difficult. It’s not impossible though. There are just a few things you need to do to get seriously juicy pork tenderloin. Here’s now.
Step#1: Remove the Silverskin
There’s a bit of sinew on the outside of pork tenderloin that ends up tough when cooked. You need to remove it. It’s easy to do. Learn how to remove the silverskin here.
Step#2: Brine the Tenderloin
This is not a marinade. A marinade only imparts flavor to the outside surface of the meat. A bring on the other hand has a high salt content and it penetrates the meat and makes it juicier. Here’s a great guide to brining pork tenderloin. The basic key though is to use 1 tablespoon of table salt per cup of water. You need enough to completely submerge the meat, which will be about 4-5 cups of water for a tenderloin.
In a large bowl or ziptop bag, dissolve the salt in the water. Add the tenderloin. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but ideally 2 hours. Some people go as long as 24 hours but I find that to be overkill. Remove the tenderloin from the liquid and proceed.
Step#3: Make the Tenderloin an Equal Thickness
Usually a pork tenderloin is much thinner on one end than the other. If you grill it as is, the skinny side will end up really dry and overcooked before the thicker side is done. That’s no good. So tuck the skinny side up a bit and secure it with metal skewers.
Season with salt pepper and whatever else you’d like. Just remember that you already brined the tenderloin in salt so only go in with a little bit of salt here.
Step#5: Grill it
Prepare your grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Put the tenderloin on and close the lid. Leave it for 3-4 minutes.
There should be grill marks underneath. Flip the tenderloin, cover and grill for another 3-4 minutes.
Now you’ve grilled 2 sides of your tenderloin cylinder. What you want to do is to try to get the tenderloin grilled in spots that haven’t yet been in contact with the grill. So go ahead and roll it just a bit, not flipping it all the way over but just flipping it halfway. Grill for another 3-4 minutes and then repeat and do another roll to an ungrilled spot. Grill for another 3-4 minutes. It should be evenly crusted on the outside now.
Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature. You want to take it off when it’s 145°F. Keep grilling a minute or so per side until then.
Step#6: Let it Rest
Remove the tenderloin from the grill and transfer it to a clean cutting board. Let it rest there for 7 minutes so the juices can resettle inside the meat. Then slice it thinly. And eat!
Printable instructions for grilling pork tenderloin are here:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- A 1 lb. pork tenderloin
- 4 cups water
- 4 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. table salt, divided
- 2 metal skewers
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Remove the silverskin from the pork tenderloin.
- In a large ziplock bag or bowl, combine the water with 4 tablespoons of the salt and mix until salt dissolves. Add pork and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Remove pork from liquid. Discard liquid.
- Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat.
- To make tenderloin of even thickness, fold the skinny end of the pork a bit and secure it with metal skewers.
- Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
- Put tenderloin on grill and close the lid. Leave it for 3-4 minutes. There should be grill marks underneath. Flip the tenderloin, cover and grill for another 3-4 minutes.
- Flip it halfway such that parts of the loin that were not previously touching the grill are now touching the grill. Grill for another 3-4 minutes and then repeat and grill on another previously ungrilled part of meat. It should be evenly crusted on the outside now.
- Use an instant read thermometer to check that the temperature is 145°F. Keep grilling a minute or so per side until then.
- Remove tenderloin from grill and transfer it to a clean cutting board. Let it rest for 7 minutes then slice thinly and serve.