A Spicy Perspective

Smoked Pork Loin (+ Tenderloin)

Smoked Pork Loin Recipe – Here we share easy instructions and tips to perfectly smoke a pork loin or tenderloin crusted with a sweet and spicy rub.

carved smoked pork loin on a wood board

Maybe you’ve noticed, but we don’t like pork in our house. Nope… We LOVE it!

We often prepare pork tenderloins for special occasions, like these Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Veggies recipes. But hands-down our favorite way to enjoy a moist and tender cut of pork is to make a Smoked Pork Tenderloin (or Loin)!

Pork tenderloin and pork loin are sometimes used interchangeably; however, the truth is that these cuts of meat are quite different. We are happy to offer our expert insight into the differences between the two – like size and texture. Today we are also sharing easy tips for how to perfectly smoke both delicious cuts, plus how to make our favorite smoked pork loin rub recipe.

So no matter which piece of pork you choose, you’ll find easy instructions here to make the BEST, juiciest, and most tender smoked pork loin (or tenderloin!)

top view sliced loin on a cutting board

Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin – What is the Difference?

Location: Both cuts of meat come from the back of the hog… The loin is more central back, while the tenderloin is further back and closer to the backbone.

Size: Pork loins are much larger than tenderloin. 5-10 pounds is average for a whole loin, whereas .5-1.5 pounds is average for a tenderloin. Therefore pork loin takes much longer to cook, but can feed more people with one piece.

Note that because pork tenderloin is smaller, the pork rub will offer a more intensified flavor, due to area coverage.

Cooking Time: A smallish tenderloin typically takes up to an hour to smoke. Larger pork loin will likely require at least 3 hours.

Texture: Additionally, pork loin is slightly tougher than pork tenderloin. Think of pork loin as a similar consistency to beef sirloin, and pork tenderloin is a similar texture to beef fillets (i.e. beef tenderloin.)

tenderloin and loin side-by-side on a board

Ingredients You Need

In addition to your choice of a pork loin or pork tenderloin, you need packed light brown sugar and a few key spices to make the smoked pork loin rub:

  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Chipotle chili powder

Pro Tip: I like to use smoked paprika, but since we’re smoking the meat it’s not necessary.

pork rub spices in a glass dish

How to Smoke a Pork Loin (or Tenderloin)

Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Load with your preferred wood chips or wood pellets. There is not a “best“ wood for smoking pork in my opinion. It’s a personal preference! I used a blend of Hickory and Applewood pellets for a smoky and slightly sweet flavor.

Next, remove any excess fat off of the pork loin or pork tenderloin. Then remove the thin silver skin off the underside if necessary. (Often both the fat and silver skin are removed for you at the butcher counter.)

Mix the brown sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and chipotle pepper together in a small bowl. Note: This mixture is enough for one large pork loin or several pork tenderloins. If smoking just one pork tenderloin, you will have extra seasoning to save and use at a later date.

Use your hands to pack the rub evenly onto the entire surface of the pork.

pork loin crusted with spice rub

Set the pork loin directly on the smoker grates. Insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the loin.

Set the alarm to go off when the center-most interior temperature reaches 145°F.

For a pork tenderloin, this can take as little as 40-60 minutes. Yet for a large pork loin, it may take up to 3 1/2 hours.

Get the Complete (Printable) Smoked Pork Loin Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!

loin and tenderloin in a smoker

Once the interior temperature reaches 145°F, remove the pork loin from the smoker.

Transfer to a cutting board and loosely cover with foil. Let the loin rest for at least 15 minutes. This is key to allowing the juices to settle and keep the pork mouthwateringly tender.

whole smoked loin on a cutting board resting

Cut the pork in 1-1 1/2″ thick slices, and serve warm.

top view smoked meat sliced

What to Serve with Smoked Pork

Slices of juicy and tender tenderloin are great to pair with just about any and all side dishes.

Enjoy as part of a laid-back meal with your favorite comfort sides like mashed potatoes, cheesy scalloped potatoes, or corn pudding.

Or fancy up the meal for a dinner party and serve alongside carrot souffle, duchess potatoes, or herb oven roasted potatoes and carrots.

top view sliced pork tenderloin on a cutting board

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to smoke a pork tenderloin or loin?

At 225 degrees Fahrenheit, a .5-1.5 pound tenderloin will need to be smoked for 40-60 minutes. A larger pork loin will take around 3 to 3.5 hours to properly smoke.

What temp should smoked pork be at when done?

It is perfectly cooked when the internal temperature of the loin – or tenderloin – reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do you store leftovers?

Let the meat cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can you freeze smoked pork?

Yes, you can! Wrap the cooked and cooled tenderloin tightly in aluminum foil, then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe zipper bag. Make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible when sealing. Store the pork in the freezer for up to 3 months.

close view sliced smoked pork loin on a cutting board

Looking for More Delicious Pork Dishes? Be Sure to Also Try These Recipes:

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Smoked Pork Loin (or Tenderloin) Recipe + VIDEO

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Here we share easy instructions and tips to perfectly smoke a tender and juicy pork loin (or pork tenderloin) crusted with a sweet, slightly spicy rub.
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Load it with your preferred wood chips or wood pellets. (There is not a “best“ wood for smoking pork in my opinion. It’s a personal preference. I used a blend of Hickory and Applewood pellets.)
  • Remove any excess fat off of the pork loin or pork tenderloin. Then remove the thin silver skin off the underside if necessary. (Often both the fat and silver skin are removed for you at the butcher counter.)
  • Set out a small bowl. Mix the brown sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and chipotle pepper together. *This mixture is enough for a large pork loin or several pork tenderloins. If smoking just one pork tenderloin, you will have extra seasoning to save and use at a later date.
  • Use your hands to pack the rub evenly onto the entire surface of the pork.
  • Set the pork loin on the smoker. Insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the loin. Set the alarm to go off when the center-most interior temperature reaches 145°F. For a pork tenderloin this can take as little as 40-60 minutes. Yet for a large pork loin, it may take up to 3 1/2 hours.
  • Once the interior temperature reaches 145°F, remove the pork loin from the smoker. Loosely cover with foil and allow the pork loin to rest for at least 15 minutes. Slice and enjoy warm.

Video

Notes

I like to use smoked paprika, but since we’re smoking the meat it’s not necessary.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5lb, Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 52g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 3628mg, Potassium: 993mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 1550IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Sommer Collier

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7 comments on “Smoked Pork Loin (+ Tenderloin)”

  1. woow Nice recepie ! thanks for sharing

  2. I red your article. It is nice recipe which will help me lot. Hope you will write more for us. Thanks for wonderful writing. Good luck.

  3. The perfect pork tenderloin! So flavorful!

  4. Great recipe – Very flavorful and delicious. We will definitely make this again.

  5. This was incredibly delicious!! We loved it!

  6. This was delicious! My husband and I loved it!!

  7. This is perfect! I just bought a pork tenderloin and needed a seasoning for it, and this is amazing! thank you so much for sharing this recipe!