Grilled BBQ Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is quick and easy to cook, and in this quick and easy recipe the BBQ flavor starts as a marinade, but then turns into a sauce that you can mop up at the end. Turn this grilled pork tenderloin into a formal dinner, or slice it up and make a quick BBQ pork sandwich for a more casual meal.

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A black dinner plate with grilled pork tenderloin, rice and green and yellow beans. A glass of wine, salt and pepper also on the table.

BBQ Pork Tenderloin Dinner

Grilled BBQ Pork Tenderloin is a very easy dinner to prepare. Whether you dress it up on a dinner plate, or dress it down into a casual, but delicious sandwich, there are few cuts of pork easier to cook than pork tenderloin. Most of the time, we slice pork tenderloin into medallions to sauté on the stovetop or roast it whole in the oven, but this recipe takes it out onto the grill, giving it some attractive markings and caramelizing the sugars in the marinade. That makes it easy AND delicious.

Ingredients on a countertop - ketchup, cider vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, black pepper, soy sauce, fresh thyme and a bowl of all the ingredients mixed together.

Pork Tenderloin Marinade

The marinade for the pork tenderloin is very easy. Simply stir together all the ingredients you’d find in your favorite BBQ sauce – ketchup, mustard and cider vinegar, stir in some fresh thyme and olive oil, and season it with soy sauce and freshly ground black pepper. The sugar that is always a component of BBQ sauce comes later.

A pork tenderloin marinating in a zipper sealable plastic bag.

Marinating Time

The pork will take some time to absorb the flavors of the marinade, so plan on at least 4 hours or let the pork sit in the refrigerator overnight if you want to. I like to use a zipper sealable plastic bag because I can squish all the air out of the bag and really surround the pork with the marinade, massaging the flavors into the tenderloin before letting it rest in the fridge. 

basting BBQ sauce on a pork tenderloin on an electric grill.

How Long to Grill Pork Tenderloin

How long it will take to grill your pork tenderloin depends on a few things. First of all, are you using an indoor or outdoor grill? Outdoor grills tend to get hotter than indoor grills and by closing the lid you also create an oven environment. So, outdoor grilling will take about 20 minutes. Indoor grilling will take about 10 minutes longer. Secondly, how big is the tenderloin you are cooking? If your tenderloin is bigger than 1 pound, add some time to your cooking. It’s all about how thick the tenderloin is. You should check for doneness with an instant read thermometer, looking for 145˚F in the center of the tenderloin.

Grilled pork tenderloin on a wooden cutting board with a dinner plate in the background.

Resting is Important!

Once you’ve reached 145˚F, resting that tenderloin is important. By letting the meat rest, the temperature will continue to increase (usually by 10˚F) and the moisture inside the meat will have a chance to settle and redistribute itself. Because the meat relaxes as it rests (don’t we all!), when you go to slice the meat, you’ll find fewer juices escaping onto your cutting board than you would without resting the meat.  You’ve worked so hard to preserve by not over-cooking the pork, so let the meat rest. Period.

Grilled pork tenderloin thinly sliced on a cutting board with a knife and a pair fo tongs.

Temperature for Pork Tenderloin

When you’ve cooked the pork properly to 145˚F AND you’ve let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes, you’ll find a slight pink color at the very center, but the meat will be opaque rather than translucent. That is perfectly cooked pork. All you have left to do is slice it. I prefer thick slices if I’m serving the pork on a dinner plate with sauce drizzled over the top. If I’m making a sandwich, however, make thinner slices.

Thinly sliced meat simmering in BBQ sauce in a non-stick skillet.

Sauce for BBQ Pork Tenderloin

The sauce for the grilled BBQ pork tenderloin is made from the marinade. Once you’ve removed the pork from the marinade, add the brown sugar and bring the mixture to a boil, letting it simmer for several minutes while the pork cooks so that it reduces into a thick glaze. You can brush that glaze onto the pork as it grills or you can add the sliced pork to the sauce (as in the photo above) if you’re making a BBQ pork sandwich. 

Close up shot of a pork sandwich with broccoli slaw on a little wooden board with a beer in the background.

Ultimate BBQ Pork Sandwich

This grilled BBQ pork tenderloin turns into a pretty spectacular sandwich and takes a fraction of the time a braised pulled pork butt takes. The meat is tender and moist and the sauce sweetens and lubricates the dish perfectly, getting absorbed by the bread as it drips down the side. Add a little coleslaw on top for some cool crunch and you’ve got a winner on your hands!

Grilled BBQ Pork Tenderloin

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Marinating Time: 4 h
  • Total Time: 4 h 25 m
  • Servings:


  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1- to 1½-pound pork tenderloins
  • ¼ cup brown sugar


  1. Whisk together the ketchup, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, thyme and black pepper in a bowl. Place the pork tenderloin in a zipper sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the pork and massage the marinade into the meat. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least four hours to overnight.
  2. Remove the pork tenderloin from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a saucepan and whisk in the brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill the pork for 15 minutes, rotating a few times during the cooking process. Baste the meat with some of the BBQ sauce and grill for an additional 5 minutes, until the pork reaches the internal temperature of 145°F with an instant read thermometer.
  4. Remove the pork from the grill and tent with foil. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before carving. Slice the meat into thick slices, slicing on an angle across the grain of the tenderloin. Transfer to serving platter and pour the remaining sauce over top. Serve with rice, potato salad, green salad or any of your favorite grilled side dishes OR make quick BBQ pork sandwiches on Kaiser rolls with coleslaw.
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Comments (12)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    Really delicious, easy to make.
    Making it again and adding garlic and ginger just to see how it tastes.

    1. Yes, as long as you bring it to a boil and cook for at least 10 minutes you are killing any bacteria in the marinade from the meat.

  2. Hi! Love all your recipes! Since downsizing we no longer have a grill 🙁 would it be possible to cook in a cast iron pan on the stove and maybe finish in the oven? Thanks so much!!

    1. Yes you can. Just sear the pork tenderloin in a pre-heated cast iron pan and then finish it in a 400°F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.

    1. You can air fry pork tenderloin at 370°F for about 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for my husband and I. Marinated it from early this mornings. Came out delicious and the sauce was great on the pork. Will definitely make it again.

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