Grilled Pork Tenderloin
This Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe is buttery tender with a caramelized smoky brown sugar, paprika, garlic rub kissed with a hint of lime. It’s then smothered in a vibrant, tangy, fresh Cilantro Jalapeno Chimichurri Sauce that is the perfect complement to the earthy, smoky pork. This Grilled Pork Tenderloin Recipe is deceptively easy to make with a grill time of less than 15 minutes! I’ve included detailed instructions, tips, tricks and everything you need to know to make the BEST Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 30minutes (including brining)
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
6-8 30minutes (including brining)
Cook Time
up close of sliced grilled pork tenderloin recipe
  • 1pkg. pork tenderloinstrimmed (comes with 2 pieces, 2 – 2 1/2 lbs. total)
  • 1/4cup kosher salt
  • 4cups warm water
  • 2tablespoons red wine cider vinegar
  • 2tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1cup ice cubes
Wet Rub
  • 1TBS EACH paprika (not smoked), garlic powder, brown sugar
  • 1 1/2teaspoons salt
  • 1tsp EACH onion powder, ground cumin, chili powder, ancho chili powder
  • 1/4teaspoon pepper
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 2tablespoons lime juice
Cilantro Jalapeno Chimichurri
  • 1cup packed cilantro
  • 1/2cup packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 3-4 garlic clovespeeled
  • 1-2 jalapenosdeveined, seeds removed
  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 1/2cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon pepper
  1. Finely chop the cilantro, parsley, jalapeno (without seeds), shallot and garlic in food processor. Remove to a bowl and stir in remaining Chimichurri ingredients. Taste and add jalapeno seeds, a little at a time, to reach desired heat OR add red pepper flakes (optional). Add additional red wine vinegar if desired for a tangier chimichurri.
  2. Chimichurri is best if allowed to sit, covered, for 2 hours before serving. If not serving for a few hours, chill in refrigerator then allow to return to room temperature before serving.
Brine Pork
  1. In a gallon-size freezer bag, mix salt with warm water until dissolved. Whisk in vinegar, brown sugar and ice, followed by pork. Brine for exactly 20 minutes then remove pork from brine, RINSE and and pat very dry. The pork becomes mealy if left in the brine any longer.
Wet Rub
  1. Whisk together all of the Wet Rub ingredients in a small bowl. Evenly rub pork all over.
To Grill Pork
  1. Grease and heat grill to 500 degrees F when the lid is closed.
  2. Add pork and sear for 1 1/2 minutes on all four sides, keeping the lid closed between rotating
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high (400 degrees F with the lid closed) and continue to grill 1-3 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reads 145-degrees F in the thickest part of the tenderloin.
  4. Let pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with chimichurri.
To Bake Pork
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil is very hot and just smoking, add pork tenderloins, you may need to work in batches. Sear each side of pork until deeply golden. Place tenderloin on rack in shallow roasting pan or a rack placed on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake at 425 degrees F approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 145 degrees F. When pork is done, let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Recipe Notes

Tips for the best Grilled Pork Tenderloin 

  • Make chimichurri first.  The chimichurri is best if allowed to rest for at least two hours, so prepare it first and allow the flavors to meld for as long as you have time for.
  • Brine pork.  As previously detailed, brining the pork results in the juiciest pork and only takes 20 minutes so PLEASE don’t skip!
  • Keep lid closed.  Due to the thickness of the pork tenderloin, we need to achieve an oven-like environment in which the pork is cooked from all sides, so make sure you keep the lid closed in between rotating the pork.
  • Use a meat thermometer.   Pork tenderloin is very easy to overcook so it is important to use a meat thermometer to achieve the correct temperature.  The outside may be brown but the inside can still be undercooked.  Thermometers are a small investment and come in handy ALL the time and eliminate all of the guess-work. You simply cannot make perfect baked pork tenderloin without one.
  • Don’t overcook pork tenderloin. Pork tenderloin is fairly lean, so take care not to overcook it, or it will dry out. If you overcook your pork tenderloin, it will transform from fork tender to dry and chewy.  If it starts to char too much before it is done, you can turn the heat down or move to indirect heat.  
  • Rest before slicing. Let the Grilled Pork Tenderloin rest 10 minutes before slicing.  This time allows time for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the pork tenderloin.
  • Slice across the grain.  Slice the pork across the grain. You want to cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers so they become as short as possible, as opposed to parallel which will result in long muscle fibers and chewy, rubbery meat.  You can either slice in ½” slices or my husband loves super thin slices.

Make Ahead 

You can prep the grilled pork tenderloin up to different stages instead of making all at once:

  • Brine:  you can brine the pork, rinse and pat dry, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours ahead of time.
  •  Rub:  you can brine, rinse, dry then cover the pork tenderloin with the wet rub and tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 12 hours.