How Long to Cook Pork Tenderloin on a Charcoal Grill: Perfect Timing Guide

Published By Mari Serfontein

Last Updated Feb 4, 2024 is reader-supported. If you buy something using the links on our site, we might earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you. This helps us pay our staff to keep making awesome content for you!

pork tenderloin
Table of Contents

    I totally get it – there you are, in front of your charcoal grill, with a beautiful pork tenderloin in hand, and suddenly, the uncertainty creeps in: just how long should this beauty be over the coals? Trust me; it’s a common dilemma.

    On my own journey to achieve that succulent char-grilled nirvana, I’ve unlocked some essential timing techniques and temperatures crucial for nailing the grilling process. Let’s embark on this flavor-filled voyage together! Through every step of this guide, we’ll ensure your pork is sizzling to perfection – say goodbye to guesswork and less-than-tender surprises.

    Prep yourself for an irresistibly savory feast!

    Key Takeaways

    • Preheat your charcoal grill to a medium – high temperature of around 400°F before grilling pork tenderloin.
    • Sear the pork tenderloin over direct heat for 2-3 minutes per side, then move to indirect heat and grill for an additional 15-20 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
    • Let the grilled pork tenderloin rest under foil for at least 5 minutes before slicing into it; this step is crucial as it allows juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
    • For added flavor, use a dry rub on your pork tenderloin before grilling and consider marinating it beforehand to infuse more taste.
    • Use indirect grilling methods on a charcoal grill to ensure even cooking and prevent burning or drying out the meat.


    Understanding Grilled Pork Tenderloin

    When it comes to grilling pork tenderloin, it’s important to understand how to properly prepare and cook this lean and flavorful cut of meat. From seasoning tips to pairing ideas, mastering the art of grilled pork tenderloin can elevate your outdoor cooking game.

    How to Grill Pork Tenderloin

    Grilling pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill delivers mouthwatering flavors and a perfectly cooked meal. Let’s dive into the steps you’ll need to master the art of grilling this cut of meat.


    • Start by selecting a fresh pork tenderloin that feels firm to the touch and has a little marbling.
    • Trim off any excess fat or silver skin to ensure even cooking and better seasoning adherence.
    • Make your favorite dry rub or marinade, covering the tenderloin thoroughly for maximum flavor penetration.
    • Allow the seasoned pork to come to room temperature which promotes even cooking.
    • Set up your charcoal grill for indirect heat by arranging coals on one side, creating a hot zone and a cooler zone.
    • Place the grill grate over the coals, close the lid, and preheat it until it reaches an internal temperature of around 400°F (204°C).
    • Oil the grill grates lightly with a high-smoke-point oil to prevent sticking.
    • Sear the pork tenderloin over direct heat for 2 – 3 minutes per side until you get those beautiful grill marks.
    • Move the seared tenderloin to the cooler side of your grill for indirect cooking; this will cook it evenly without burning.
    • Cover with the grill lid and let it cook; resist opening too often as this can increase cooking time and affect moisture retention.
    • Check internal temperature after about 15 minutes using an instant – read thermometer; aim for 145°F (63°C) for perfect doneness.
    • Transfer your grilled pork tenderloin onto a cutting board once it hits the target temperature; loosely tent it with aluminum foil.
    • Let it rest under foil for at least 5 minutes so juices redistribute within the meat, making every bite succulent.


    Tips for Perfectly Grilled Pork Tenderloin

    Grilling pork tenderloin requires precision and attention to detail. It’s essential to follow these tips for achieving perfectly grilled pork tenderloin:


    1. Trim off any excess fat from the pork tenderloin to avoid flare – ups on the grill.
    2. Season the pork generously with your choice of dry rub or marinade to enhance its flavor.
    3. Preheat the grill to medium – high heat before placing the pork tenderloin on the grates.
    4. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the pork, ensuring it reaches 145°F for optimal doneness.
    5. Let the grilled pork tenderloin rest for at least 5 – 10 minutes before slicing and serving, allowing the juices to redistribute for maximum flavor.


    Pairing Ideas

    To complement the delicious flavors of a perfectly grilled pork tenderloin, I enjoy pairing it with a variety of sides and beverages. A light and refreshing salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette makes for a great accompaniment.

    Additionally, roasted vegetables such as asparagus or sweet potatoes add depth to the meal. For an added touch, consider serving the tenderloin with a side of creamy mashed potatoes or wild rice pilaf.

    To enhance the overall dining experience, pair this dish with a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

    Expanding on these ideas, consider offering grilled corn on the cob or homemade coleslaw to create a well-rounded meal that balances savory and fresh flavors while adding vibrant colors to your plate.

    Step-by-Step Guide for Grilling Pork Tenderloin

    Trimming and seasoning the pork tenderloin is essential for a flavorful result. Preparing the grill for indirect grilling will ensure even cooking, and following the grilling, resting, and serving process will guarantee a juicy and delicious pork tenderloin.

    Trimming and Seasoning the Pork

    Trimming and seasoning the pork is essential for a delicious grilled pork tenderloin.


    1. Start by trimming any excess fat from the pork tenderloin to avoid flare – ups on the grill.
    2. Next, season the pork with a dry rub or marinade to infuse flavor into the meat.
    3. Ensure that the seasoning covers the entire surface of the pork for even flavor distribution during grilling.
    4. Let the seasoned pork sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling to allow the flavors to penetrate.
    5. Consider using ingredients like garlic, rosemary, thyme, paprika, and brown sugar in your seasoning for an added depth of flavor.


    Preparing the Grill for Indirect Grilling

    After properly trimming and seasoning the pork for grilling, the next step is to prepare the grill for indirect grilling. This method ensures even cooking without direct heat exposure.


    1. Positioning: Set up the charcoal grill for two-zone indirect grilling by arranging the coals to one side of the grill, leaving the other side without any coals.
    2. Temperature Control: Adjust the vents to regulate airflow and control the temperature inside the grill. Keep an eye on the internal grill temperature using a thermometer.
    3. Preheating: Allow the grill to preheat with the lid closed for about 10-15 minutes until it reaches your desired cooking temperature.
    4. Adding Flavor: For added flavor, consider adding wood chips or chunks on top of the hot coals for a subtle smoky taste.
    5. Placing the Meat: Once ready, place the seasoned pork tenderloin on the cool side of the grill, positioned away from direct heat.
    6. Lid Positioning: Close the lid and ensure proper ventilation to maintain an even circulation of heat and smoke around the meat.
    7. Monitoring: Keep tabs on both time and temperature throughout grilling, adjusting vents as needed to maintain consistent heat levels.
    8. Flipping: Remember to flip the pork tenderloin occasionally for uniform cooking and flavorful char marks.
    9. Resting: Once cooked, transfer it onto a clean plate or cutting board and let it rest before slicing for serving.


    Grilling, Resting, and Serving

    To grill pork tenderloin, I:


    1. Preheat the charcoal grill to medium – high heat.
    2. Place the seasoned pork tenderloin directly over the coals and sear for 2 – 3 minutes on each side to lock in juices.
    3. Move the tenderloin to the cooler part of the grill or reduce heat for indirect grilling.
    4. Cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, turning occasionally until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
    5. Remove from the grill and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before slicing.
    6. Serve and enjoy your perfectly grilled pork tenderloin with your favorite sides and garnishes.


    Timing and Temperature Guidelines for Perfectly Cooked Pork Tenderloin

    When it comes to grilling pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill, knowing the perfect timing and temperature is key. To learn more about how to achieve perfectly cooked pork tenderloin, keep reading for our step-by-step guide and helpful tips.

    How long to Cook Pork Tenderloin on a Charcoal Grill

    To cook pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the seasoned pork tenderloin directly over the coals and cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until it develops a nice sear.

    Then, move the pork to an indirect heat zone and continue grilling for another 15-20 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Remember to use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.

    After reaching the desired temperature, transfer the grilled pork tenderloin to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 3-5 minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a juicy and flavorful final dish.

    What Temperature to Grill Pork Tenderloin

    After determining the ideal grilling time for pork tenderloin, understanding the proper temperature is crucial to ensure a perfectly grilled result. The recommended temperature for grilling pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill is around 375-400°F (190-205°C).

    This moderate heat allows the pork to cook evenly without burning the exterior, resulting in juicy and tender meat with a delicious smoky flavor.

    Maintaining this temperature throughout the grilling process is essential. Using an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork will confirm its doneness.

    Resting Time before Serving

    Resting the grilled pork tenderloin is crucial. It allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and moist cut of meat. I usually let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing into it, ensuring that every bite is tender and juicy.

    This resting period also gives me time to prepare any side dishes or garnishes. Once the pork tenderloin has rested, I’m ready to slice it and serve alongside my favorite sides for a delicious meal everyone will enjoy – Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Dry Rub!

    Recipe Variations for Grilled Pork Tenderloin

    Try adding a flavorful dry rub to your pork tenderloin before grilling for an extra kick of taste. You can also explore the oven method option for cooking pork tenderloin if you don’t have access to a charcoal grill.

    Using a Dry Rub

    To create a flavorful crust on my pork tenderloin, I apply a dry rub generously before grilling. This consists of a blend of spices such as paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and brown sugar.

    I then massage the dry rub into the meat and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate. The result is a succulent and well-seasoned grilled pork tenderloin that never fails to impress.

    Oven Method Option

    Succeeding the dry rub, an alternative option for cooking pork tenderloin is by using the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and place the seasoned pork tenderloin on a baking dish or roasting pan.

    Cook for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C). Let the meat rest for about 3-5 minutes before slicing and serving.

    For added flavor, consider searing the pork tenderloin in a hot skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes before transferring it to the preheated oven. This method can give your pork a delicious crust while sealing in its natural juices.

    Pairing Suggestions

    When planning the perfect meal to accompany your grilled pork tenderloin, consider these delicious pairing ideas:


    1. Fresh and Light: Serve the grilled pork tenderloin with a crisp green salad dressed with a zesty vinaigrette to complement the smoky flavors of the meat.
    2. Sweet and Tangy: Pair the tenderloin with a side of apple chutney or mango salsa for a delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavors.
    3. Rich and Creamy: Accompany the pork with creamy mashed potatoes or a cheesy gratin for a satisfyingly rich contrast.
    4. Robust and Hearty: For a heartier meal, serve the grilled pork tenderloin with roasted root vegetables or garlic-infused roasted potatoes.
    5. Bright and Citrusy: Add brightness to your meal by serving the tenderloin alongside citrus-marinated grilled vegetables or a refreshing citrus salad.


    Additional Tips and Tricks for Grilling Pork Tenderloin

    Properly trimming the pork tenderloin before grilling ensures even cooking and prevents any burnt or tough edges. Indirect grilling is essential for maintaining the tenderness of the meat, while experimenting with different marinades can add a variety of flavors to your grilled pork tenderloin.

    Properly Trimming the Tenderloin

    To trim the tenderloin, start by removing any excess silver skin using a sharp knife. Trim off any visible fat as well to ensure even cooking. Cut off the tapered end for more uniform thickness and tie it with kitchen twine if necessary.

    This step helps the meat cook evenly and prevents overcooking in some areas.

    Once trimmed, season the pork according to your recipe and let it sit at room temperature before grilling. Properly trimmed pork tenderloin ensures that every bite is juicy and flavorsome, making it a delight for your taste buds.

    Importance of Indirect Grilling

    When grilling pork tenderloin, using indirect heat is important. This method involves placing the charcoal or gas burners on one side of the grill and cooking the meat on the opposite side.

    Indirect grilling helps to prevent flare-ups and allows for even cooking without charring the outside of the pork tenderloin. By utilizing this technique, you can achieve a perfectly cooked, juicy, and flavorful pork tenderloin without overcooking or drying it out.

    Flavoring Tips for the Marinade.

    For a delicious marinade, combine olive oil, minced garlic, fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Mix in some Dijon mustard for an extra kick of flavor.

    Make sure to season the marinade with salt and pepper to enhance the taste of the pork tenderloin. Then, let the pork soak in the marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight for maximum flavor infusion.

    When grilling pork tenderloin, brush it with the remaining marinade during cooking to keep it moist and add another layer of flavor. This will help create a caramelized crust on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and flavorful.


    In conclusion, grilling pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill requires precise timing. The perfect cooking time ensures juicy and flavorful results. Paying attention to the temperature and resting period is key to achieving excellent grilled pork tenderloin.

    Mastering these factors will guarantee a delicious dish every time.


    1. How long should I cook pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill?

    For perfectly cooked pork tenderloin on a charcoal grill, aim for grilling time of about 20 to 30 minutes, flipping it occasionally until it reaches the right internal temperature.

    2. What is the best temperature to grill pork tenderloin?

    Grill your pork tenderloin at a medium heat of around 350°F, using indirect heat cooking techniques for even doneness without burning.

    3. Can you give me tips for making the perfect grilled pork tenderloin?

    Sure! Use a dry rub recipe before cooking, maintain a consistent grilling temperature, and use indirect heat by placing coals on one side of the grill and meat on the other.

    4. What’s the safe internal temperature for grilled pork tenderloin?

    Pork Tenderloin should reach an internal temperature of 145°F when checked with a thermometer to ensure it’s safe and deliciously juicy to eat.

    5. Do you have any grilling tips specifically for charcoal grills?

    Yes! For charcoal grills, manage your heat by arranging coals evenly and controlling air flow with vents; also remember that timing may vary based on factors like outside temp and grill model.

    6. How do I make sure my grilled pork tenderloin isn’t dry or overcooked?

    Keep track of cooking times to avoid overcooking — usually between 20-30 minutes — and let meat rest after grilling so juices redistribute ensuring your grilled pork stays moist.

    Learn More About Grilling

    If you want to learn more about grilling, check out these other helpful resources!


    How Long to Smoke Brisket at 250-degrees

    Ground beef in bowl

    How to Defrost Ground Beef (3 Safe Methods)


    How To Reheat Leftover Prime Rib for Full Flavor


    Discover the Best Side Dishes for Smoked Tri Tip


    Pairing the Perfect Beverages with Brisket Tacos: From Beer to Margaritas

    Charcoal Grill Expert Tips

    How to Control Temperature on a Charcoal Grill: Expert Tips

    About The Grilling Master

    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of

    My passion has always been grilling, smoking and BBQ delicious meats that satisfy my inner carnivore!

    I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you, the hungry reader who wants to prepare the perfect meal. 

    You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional. 

    Send me a message and let's connect on Twitter here.

    As Seen In

    Recently Published Posts