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Pork Tenderloin??

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My husband came in with two pork tenderloins, total of 4.37 lbs. He wants me to smoke them on the 4th. How do I smoke them and not end up with "cardboard loins??" I have never cooked a tenderloin and had it come out moist and tender that's why I never buy them anymore. Any tips, advise, suggestions will be greatly appreciated! I thought about putting them in a brine, but have never done that, so I don't know how much salt, sugar, water, etc. and how long to keep them in the brine.

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post #2 of 9
Brining is a popular treatment for pork tenderloin. I usually don't however. For me, this is more of an off the cuff quick main course than something I plan far enough ahead to brine. The main thing is to cook it so it's still pink in the center. Stop cooking when the meat is about 140 degrees in the center and let it rest before carving.

It's an odd choice of smoking in many ways unless he wants canadian bacon out of it. It's too lean and better suited for quick high temp techniques. Not to say it can't be smoked to a proper finish.

If he wants a smoky flavor, I'd cut it into thick medallions/steaks, wrap with bacon and do them on the stove top. It's probably my favorite way to cook this cut of pork. America's Test Kitchen does a good version of this but they've hidden it away in their premium content now. They have lots of other tenderloin recipes you might look at as well though. You do have to register; it's free and only needs and email address as I recall. The premium content you do have to pay for but lots to see for free still including some grilled versions.

If he want's it literally smoked that's trickier and I've not done it. This is the approach I'd take however. I wouldn't brine. Could be too hammy/canadian bacon-like for how I prefer this. Just FYI, I'm on reduced sodium diet so that could easily be influencing what my preferences are.

I'd do this with a light rub. Tenderloin isn't a strongly flavored cut and so I want it's character to come through.

1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt--to taste--I'd personally use less
1 teaspoon black pepper--to taste--I like black pepper. It makes up for lower salt
1/2 teapsoon dried thyme
pinch of rubbed sage

mix the rub ingredients together. Rub the meat lightly all over with the rub.

I'd set up my smoker for a heavy smoke and only smoke it about 15-30 minutes. it won't have a lot of smoke intensity but that wouldn't be right for this dish anyway.

Then finish in a pan on the stove, browning it on all sides. Take it out of the pan at a temp of 140 in the center and let it rest 10-15 minutes before carving.

Certainly a pan sauce would be good with a touch of barbecue sauce to match the smoke.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 9
>>How do I smoke them
well, if you have no experience smoking meats, starting to learn on a holiday meal may not be the best approach. one does not just toss it in the ole' fryin' pan and "smoke it" - do you have a smoker?

>>cardboard
as mentioned, it's a tender cut of meat and it is not difficult to overcook. the tenderloin is not a huge piece - it cooks quick - it's not like doing an 18 pound pork roast.

what do you feel is your best practiced method of doing steak? I'd cut the tenderloins into 1-1/2 thick medallions - the bacon wrap is a nice touch (nuke the bacon and while it's still warm do the wrap) - bring the meat to room temp, hot temp: charbroil, pan fry, oven broil, gas grill, <whatever> not more than four minutes per side and allow to rest (covered) for 5-10 minutes.
post #4 of 9
pork shoulder makes a better cut of meat to smoke. where I last worked we would smoke 2 - 4 shoulders every other day and then braise them in beer over night in the ovens. delicious pulled pork.

if you have a charcol gril you add smoke flavor by adding wood chips to the hot coals and pulling the lid down to stifle the fire and trap the smoke. not gonna get a traditional smoke ring in the meat this way but you will get a mild smoke flavor off the meat. look for posts by Maryb and BDL smoking meat has been discussed here several times and lots good tips.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #5 of 9
Tenderloin comes out of the smoker very juicy and full of flavor. As mentioned don't take it past 140 internal and I would tie them together fat end to thin end so it becomes a more even piece to cook. Keep the temps at 225-250. Last ones I did were just S&P and came out great.
post #6 of 9
The advice everyone else has given you about temperature is good. As long as you don't overcook it, you'll be fine. And if you do choose to brine it, make sure it's completely dry before you smoke it. Otherwise the smoke won't cling.

My only experience smoking pork tenderloin is using a stovetop smoker. The meat is rubbed with olive oil and thyme, then cooked for 25 minutes in the smoker over medium-high heat. They say that is the equivalent of 375 degrees F, so if you are using a grill, figure what level that works out to (sorry, I can't, since I don't have a grill :(). In any case, it comes out very moist, without brining.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #7 of 9
I wouldn't smoke a tenderloin, Keyword Tender. You will never see anyone smoking a good/ tender piece of meat. I would do it like I do a Beef tenderloin, I use oil, garlic, salt and pepper and let sit in the refer for a few hrs. Cook on a BBQ on low flame, with lid down. Turn 1/4 turn every 6 too 8 minutes depending on how hot your BBQ gets. When you get to the last 1/4 turn check the temp and it should be around 120 degrees take it off at 140 to 150 degrees. Just a touch of pink in the middle. Let it rest for about 15 minutes and slice. You could serve this with a bearnaise sauce, or any sauce to your liking...............Good luck and happy 4th...............Bill
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you to each of you who responded and what great tips and suggestions! I love the idea of cutting the tenderloin into medallions and wrapping in bacon, does that ever sound delicious! Not sure which method I will use yet, but I'll let y'all know what I come up with and how it turns out. Thanks again!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
My pork tenderloin turned out perfect! I put it in a brine Friday evening and took it out yesterday about 3:00, rinsed it and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I made a little packet of hickory chips for the grill, let it start smoking, then added the tenderloin. It cooked on high, turning every 4 min. for about 20 minutes then added a sauce my husband wanted. In my 56 years that is the very best pork I've ever cooked. It was moist, tender and had just a hint of smoke flavor. I will definitely be cooking more pork tenderloins now. Thanks again for all of your input!
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