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How to Cook Pork Tenderloin With Indirect Heat

by Caryn Anderson

There are two ways to cook pork tenderloins on a grill: over direct heat, similar to how you would grill a steak, or over indirect heat, which places the tenderloin away from the heat source. Grilling over indirect heat is a low and slow method that's more like oven roasting. As an added benefit, your meat is less likely to become overcooked and dry. The end result is a tender, juicy and flavorful pork tenderloin that's easy enough to make any day, but delicious enough to serve on special occasions.

Clean your grill’s grates and turn the grill on to preheat it. If you're using a gas grill, set the heating elements to medium or medium-high.

Remove the silverskin from the pork tenderloin, if necessary, by cutting if off with a boning knife. Rub the pork tenderloin with your herbs or seasonings, if you are using them, or simply season the meat with black pepper and salt. You could also marinate the pork for 15 minutes at room temperature before cooking or, for maximum flavor, overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare the grill for cooking over indirect heat by turning off one or more of your heating elements, if you’re using a gas grill, or by moving your hot coals to one side. Carefully remove the grill’s grates with tongs and place a drip pan under the grates where the pork tenderloin will cook. The drip pan will catch the pork’s juices while it cooks, preventing the juices from causing a flare up.

Place the pork tenderloin on the grates that aren't directly over the heating element or hot coals.

Grill the tenderloin for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, turning it once midway through. You'll know that the meat is fully cooked when a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transfer the pork tenderloin to a carving board or platter and let it rest for roughly 10 minutes before slicing and serving it.

Items you will need
  • Charcoal or gas grill
  • Boning knife (optional)
  • Herbs, seasonings or marinade
  • Tongs
  • Drip pan
  • Meat thermometer
  • Platter or carving board
  • Sharp knife

Tips

  • Brine your pork tenderloin to make it extra juicy and flavorful. Brines are essentially salted water, although most brine recipes combine a sweetening ingredient such as honey, molasses or sugar to balance the saltiness. Leave the tenderloin in the brine for at least 3 hours to be sure that the brine penetrates the meat.
  • Brush your tenderloin with a homemade glaze during the grilling process to increase flavor and build a crunchy exterior. You can make a glaze using any combination of fruit juices, herbs or spices. If you want a sweeter glaze, use honey, agave nectar or maple syrup as your base.
  • Consider serving your pork tenderloin with a fresh fruit salsa to deliver a knockout presentation and amp up bright, fresh flavors. Salsas can be made from any combination of fruits and herbs or spices that you like. For a layered flavor, combine halved cherries, sliced chile peppers, shallots, cilantro, olive oil and fresh squeezed lime juice.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images