Sometimes what you have in mind just doesn’t happen, which was the case last night when I had planned to make this nice smoked tenderloin with a side of grilled asparagus and sweet potatoes. Sounds good right? Well, unfortunately (or actually fortunately because it ended up tasting great!) this gourmet dish turned into pulled pork sandwiches when Hubby called to let me know that he was going to be stuck at work for quite a while. See, I had already started smoking the pork tenderloin when he called so there was no turning back and even though I was following the “low & slow” rule, it still got done WAY before he was expected to arrive. I really didn’t want this beautiful piece of meat to dry out which is what would have happened if I had to reheat it.
Then as time went on, I started to feel a bit lazy and really didn’t want to make grilled sweet potatoes or asparagus or have anything to do with firing up the grill again when it was getting close to my bedtime (which embarassingly is about 9pm). So, I just pulled out some buns that I’d made the other day and started shredding!!! The meat stayed moist and retained it’s wonderful smoky flavor. Now that I’ve gotten more into real “barbecuing” I didn’t soak it in barbecue sauce either and the addition of just a tad bit of barbecue sauce once placed on the bun was perfect!! Now I’m perfectly aware that the best pulled pork comes from “pork butt” but shredding the pork tenderloin was a pretty close second….and I’m pretty sure a much healthier option. So for this recipe you can either use it as “pork tenderloin” and slice it up all pretty or you can use it as “pulled pork” and shred it! Either way you can’t go wrong. Also, I recommend that you use apple wood chips for this. I’ve used hickory and it’s pretty good but the apple chips really give it something extra (we all know pork + apples = winner!). One more thing to mention is the spice rub will make way more than you need for just one pork tenderloin so you should be sure to prepare it in a sealable container so you can keep the leftover for another time or another meat ;).
Smoked Pork Tenderloin
1 – 1 lb. pork tenderloin
Pork Rub (recipe follows)
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Barbecue Sauce of your choice (click here for an amazing barbecue sauce recipe!)
Pork Dry Rub
(Remember this makes more than enough for the recipe so make sure to store it in a sealed container so you can use the rest for something else).
3/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. onion powder
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- The night before (or at least 8 hours ahead) you plan to make this, prepare the pork tenderloin by rubbing the olive oil over the entire piece of meat. Then add the dry rub (be sure to actually “rub” it in). Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Preheat your smoker to 200 degrees F. Prepare wood chips and smoker per manufacturer’s directions.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it to room temperature.
- Place the pork in the smoker and cook for about 1 -1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
- To serve, slice or shred. Top with barbecue sauce of your choice.