In the world of cooking meat, the tenderloin is not only one of the most tender cuts, but also lean and healthy.
The only problem with pork is that, since it’s so lean, it’s easy to over-cook (such a fine line between tasty, tender meat and shoe leather). For years I struggled using various ingredients and this technique and that. Finally, it came down to having a good marinade and a careful cooking technique.
Marinade for grilled pork tenderloin
The inspiration for this marinade starts at allrecipes.com, but I revised it many times to make it my own. You may want to tweak as well. Feel free. There’s lots of leeway with a marinade recipe.
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Canola oil
Mix the marinade ingredients together and then pour over the pork.
Sometimes I pour everything into a Ziploc bag and let the meat marinate there. Or, a bowl works fine.
Let the meat marinate for at least an hour.
How to grill pork tenderloin
I see grilling tenderloin as a 3-step process: sear, cook, rest. Here’s how it works:
Prepare the grill by preheating at least half the surface. My grill has 3 burners, so I preheat 2 of them. When the grates are hot, place the marinated tenderloin directly on the hot grates and sear for a minute, then turn and sear again.
Usually 2 turns will do the trick, but a larger piece might need more turns. Your call.
Indirect heat works best. Move the tenderloin to the “unheated” grate area of the grill. For me, this means the one burner which I did not preheat. I also turn off the middle burner and leave just one burner going. For my grill, this creates a consistent indirect heat environment of about 350F. Close the grill cover and let the meat cook.
The unheated burner is at the “back” of the grill.
The target for the internal temperature is 145F. A small tenderloin will get to that temperature in about 20 minutes, a larger one will take up to 30. Because of the variables in size of meat, grill and grill temperature, I recommend using a meat thermometer to monitor how quickly the meat is cooking and to know when 145F is reached.
This is often overlooked, but it’s an important step. Remove the pork tenderloin from the grill, place in a shallow pan and cover with foil. Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes. Use this time to grill some vegetables or gather your other sides, but do not skimp on the resting step.
Note: see FAQs (below) for more information on resting cooked meat.
Once the meat is rested, it’s ready to slice and serve!
Enjoy this grilled pork tenderloin with all your favorite summer sides!
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- 1 -1 ½ pound pork tenderloin
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- Place all marinade ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag and mix. Add meat and close or cover. Marinate meat for 1 hour before cooking.
- Preheat half the grill to create both direct and indirect areas of heat. Place the marinated tenderloin on the heated grates (direct heat) and sear for 1-2 minutes. Turn and sear another side of the meat. Repeat until the meat is completely seared.
- Move tenderloin to indirect heat area of the grill. Insert meat thermometer and close lid. Grill temperature should be approximately 350F. Cook until internal temperature of the meat is 145F, about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove meat from grill, place in shallow pan and cover with foil. Allow meat to rest, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Then slice and serve.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
First of all, I use this same marinade for oven-cooked pork tenderloin. For the meat, I set the oven to 350F. Sear the tenderloin in a pan and then place the pan in the oven. I have also done this without searing the meat first and it turns out fine. Cook to 145F and rest the meat as described above. You will love it. 😀
If you prefer a spice rub, skip the marinating step and simply moisten the meat with a little oil, then sprinkle with your favorite spice rub. I do this when I haven’t planned ahead for the marinating step.
Need a spice rub recipe? Try the Dry Rub I use for Pulled Pork.
When cooked meat is allowed to rest, a few things happen. One, is that the meat continues to cook for the first few minutes. Then, as the meat begins to cool, the meat fibers will relax. This allows the fibers to re-absorb some of the moisture released during the cooking process. Taking this step will always result in a much more tender and juicy piece of meat.
Side dishes to go with your grilled pork tenderloin
Here are some ideas that you can make right on that hot grill:
And don’t forget the salads!