Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin (Paleo, Whole30)

This Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin gives you juicy pork coated in a savory paste – no smoker required!

You can make this on an outdoor grill or with a stovetop grill pan and oven.

Plus I’ll share my tips to make sure you get tender, perfectly cooked pork every time without a marinade.

And this easy grilled pork tenderloin recipe just happens to be naturally low carb, keto, gluten-free, Paleo and Whole30 friendly!

2 grilled pork tenderloins - one whole, one sliced - on a white platter on a wooden table

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Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I love the deep, complex flavor of smoked pork but don’t own a smoker. So I created a simple spice paste that gives the meet an irresistibly savory flavor anyway.

Pork tenderloin is usually a fairly lean cut of meat, which is why you’ll often see recipes that require you to marinate for up to 24 hours in advance. But honestly, I never remember to do that. If I want pork tenderloin for dinner tonight, then it’s already too late to marinate!

So I use a handy tool to make sure the tenderloin is never over- or under-cooked: a probe thermometer.

Probe and instant read thermometers are a home cook’s best friend – they help make sure you never serve food that’s raw on the inside or dry and leathery.

For this recipe, I prefer a probe thermometer – it lets you track the meat’s temperature without having to constantly open the grill or oven (which lets out a ton of heat and throws off the cooking time).

For my grill, I use a ThermPro probe thermometer similar to this one.

For my oven, I use this Polder probe thermometer.

This isn’t an ad for either product – these are just the ones I’m currently using that work for me.

 

What you need for Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

This recipe is also easy to double. If you’re using a stovetop grill pan, make sure it’s big enough for two.

Equipment:

2 grilled pork tenderloins with char marks on a white platter with a slicing knife

How to make Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Heat one side of your grill with medium-high heat. Leave the other side unheated.

Stir the spices and oil in a small bowl until it makes a paste. Set aside.

Make sure your pork is at room temperature. Pat it dry with paper towels.

Use a small knife to remove the silverskin, the silvery-blue strip that’s usually running under a thin layer of fat.

To do this, use a small knife to make a small incision down into the meat at one end of the silverskin. Then with one hand, grab the little flap of silverskin you just loosened and pull it up away from the pork while you slice along the pork just beneath it. (This video demonstrates how to do this.)

Coat the pork all over with the the paste.

Grill the pork on one side over the medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, covered, until dark char marks appear. Then flip the pork and grill for another 4-5 minutes, covered.

Move the pork over to the unheated side of the grill and insert the probe thermometer. Cover and let cook until it reaches 145°. Depending on the size of the tenderloin, this can take up to 10 minutes. But if it’s very thin, it might not need any extra cooking time at all.

Remove to a plate, baking sheet or baking dish and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice and serve, pouring over any juices that accumulated while the pork was resting.

For stovetop/oven instruction, please see the notes under the recipe.

2 pork tenderloins with char marks on a white platter - one whole, one sliced

Make ahead and storage

  • The pork can be covered in the paste and then refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  • The cooked pork can be made and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. Reheat in a low oven until warm.
  • The cooked pork can also be frozen. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put in a freezer-safe container or baggie. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a low oven until warm.

 

Substitutions and variations

  • The spice paste would also be good on chicken, pork chops and fish.
  • You can use regular paprika instead of smoked paprika.
  • You can use less black pepper if you want less of its peppery kick.
  • If you want it spicier, add cayenne pepper to the spice paste.

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. How to Grill Steak on a Gas Grill or Grill Pan
  2. Grilled Carrots
  3. Grilled Italian Sausages and Vegetables
  4. Grilled Avocado Hummus
  5. Christmas-Spiced Pork Tenderloin
smoky grilled pork tenderloin, one whole, one sliced, on a white platter on a wooden table
2 grilled pork tenderloins - one whole, one sliced - on a white platter on a wooden table
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin (Paleo, Whole30)

This easy Smoky Grilled Pork Tenderloin features juicy pork in a savory spice coating. No smoker or marinade needed!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilled pork tenderloin, keto, low carb, paleo, pork tenderloin recipe, whole30
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin (1-1¼ pounds), room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1½ teaspoons kosher salt)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Make sure your pork is at room temperature.
  • Heat one side of your grill with medium-high heat. Leave the other side unheated.
  • Stir the spices and oil in a small bowl until it makes a paste. Set aside.
  • Pat it dry with paper towels. Use a small knife to remove the silverskin, the silvery-blue strip that's usually running under a thin layer of fat.
    To do this, use a small knife to make a small incision down into the meat at one end of the silverskin. Then with one hand, grab the little flap of silverskin you just loosened and pull it up away from the pork while you slice along the pork just beneath it.
  • Coat the pork all over with the the paste.
  • Grill the pork on one side over the medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, covered, until dark char marks appear. Then flip the pork and grill for another 4-5 minutes, covered.
  • Move the pork over to the unheated side of the grill and insert the probe thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin. Cover and let cook until it reaches 145°. Depending on the size of the tenderloin, this can take up to 10 minutes. But if it's very thin, it might not need any extra cooking time at all.
  • Remove to a plate, baking sheet or baking dish and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice and serve, pouring over any juices that accumulated while the pork was resting.°

Notes

Stovetop/oven instructions:
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat an oven-safe grill pan over medium-high heat.
Follow the instructions above to prep the pork: pat dry, remove the silverskin, coat with the spice paste.
Grill the tenderloin for 4-5 minutes per side, until char marks appear.
Transfer the pan to the oven. Insert a probe thermometer before closing the door. Cook until 145 degrees. Depending on the size of the tenderloin, it might not need any extra time at all, or it might need up to 10 minutes in the oven.
Proceed with the recipe above: let it rest, slice and serve.
 
Make ahead and storage
  • The pork can be covered in the paste and then refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  • The cooked pork can be made and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. Reheat in a low oven until warm.
  • The cooked pork can also be frozen. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put in a freezer-safe container or baggie. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a low oven until warm.
 
Substitutions and variations
  • The spice paste would also be good on chicken, pork chops and fish.
  • You can use regular paprika instead of smoked paprika.
  • You can use less black pepper if you want less of its peppery kick.
  • If you want it spicier, add cayenne pepper to the spice paste.

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