Smoked Pork Loin (+ Tenderloin)
Traeger Smoked Pork Loin
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)!
We use a Traeger grill/smoker to do this, however, you can use a traditional smoking cabinet or a grill with a smoking tray as well.
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!)
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 tenderloins. 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.)
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:
- 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.
How to Smoke a Pork Loin (or Tenderloin)
Preheat your pellet 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 slightly sweet and smoky flavor.
Next, remove any excess fat from the pork loin or pork tenderloin by trimming the edges. 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 dry rub evenly onto the entire surface of the pork.
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 internal temp 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.
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.
Cut the pork into 1-1 1/2″ thick slices with a sharp knife, and serve warm.
Get the Complete (Printable) Smoked Pork Loin Roast Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!
What to Serve with Smoked Pork
Slices of juicy and tender tenderloin are great to pair with just about any and all side dishes.
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 reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
How do you store leftovers?
Let the meat cool completely before transferring it 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.
Looking for More Delicious Pork Dishes? Be Sure to Also Try These Recipes:
- Pan Fried Korean Pork Chops
- Sweet Chili Pulled Pork Recipe
- Brown Sugar Baked Ham
- Grilled Pork Chops + Carolina BBQ Sauce
- Slow Cooker Smoked Pulled Pork
Also, try this amazing and Easy Smoked Meatloaf In the Oven from The Wooden Spoon Effect.
Smoked Pork Loin (or Tenderloin) Recipe + VIDEO
- 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.
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