How to Cook Pork Tenderloin With Indirect Heat


Outdoor grilling is an art and, over time, you learn techniques for properly preparing different types of meat. Using indirect heat, for example, is standard when preparing larger cuts of meet. Akin to smoking, cooking with indirect heat prepares meat slowly. Slow cooking heats the meat all the way through without drying out all the natural juices. Whole pork tenderloin is well suited for slow cooking on the barbecue because it is tender and easy to cook to juicy perfection.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Seasoning/marinade
  • Water pan
  • Grill brush
  • Olive oil
  • Drip pan
  • Tin foil
  • Cut and gently pull away the silvery membrane from the meat, if there is one. Cut in the direction of the meat grain. Pat the meat dry with paper towels.

  • Season the loin as desired. Dry rubs, overnight marinades and brine are all possible. Options include a simple rub of garlic and pepper, more complex herb rubs, Italian dressing, barbecue sauce, Asian marinade, red wine marinade or fruit marinade. Make enough marinade to marinate the meat in for several hours beforehand and to baste the meat with while cooking.

  • Stack the coals on one side of the grill chamber, if you have a charcoal grill. Place a water pan in the grill to ensure a moist cooking environment. Ignite the coals and wait until a light gray ash forms on top. Set just one side of gas grills to 250 F and preheat for 15 minutes.

  • Brush the grill grate with olive oil.

  • Place the tenderloin on the grill, above the drip pan on the opposite side of the heat source. Cook the tenderloin until the bottom is fully browned and then flip it over and cook the other side. Brush marinated pork loins regularly throughout the cooking process. Unless flipping the meat or brushing marinade, leave the lid on the grill throughout the cooking process. Insert a meat thermometer into the thick part of the meat after the last flip.

  • Remove the tenderloin when the internal temperature reaches 150 F. Set the tenderloin aside. Tent the meat with tin foil and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Amp up the heat for a gas grill or move the meat directly above the coals at the end of cooking if you want a crust on the tenderloin.

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  • Photo Credit pork tenderloin image by John Keith from
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