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Pork tenderloin direct vs indirect heat

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    Pork tenderloin direct vs indirect heat

    Had a question for pork tenderloin. In the past, 1/2 chimney of charcoal goes in SNS, pork goes on indirect side, kettle is around 350-375 and cooks for 30-45 minutes until 140. Or I would use the pit barrel cooker. Results were good and my kids renamed it juicy pork.

    recently, I picked up a big green egg large and I have seen most recipes call for direct heat for pork tenderloin. What’s your experience with this and why go with direct vs indirect heat?

    #2
    Personally, I like to do pork tenderloin indirect because it is so lean and delicate. So easy to go from perfect to dry and tasteless in a flash. I smoke at about 250 until an IT of 145. Tender and juicy.

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      #3
      I do the hot and fast indirect method on kettle. Haven't tried this cut in the PBC.

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        #4
        Here's a pork tenderloin cook on my Kamado from early December. From the bark, I'm guessing I went with a dry brine and MMD. The cook was at 350, so that would have been direct. On my Kamado, though, the lump is probably a good 6-8 inches farther from the grill surface than in a BGE, so you get to decide if that matters. Looks like I cooked to 130 and then wrapped to hold for a bit of carryover.

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        From the plated pic, you can see it came out plenty juicy and tender.

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        • bbqLuv
          bbqLuv commented
          Editing a comment
          The pork looks perfect.

        #5
        I did a pork tenderloin last week at the end of a smoke on our BKK.
        Opened opened the dampers took it up to 600.
        Put the meat on, as the coals were dying let it cook, after half an hour flipped it, gave it another half hour and it came out perfect.
        Probably lucked out a bit on the timing but tasted great none the less.

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          #6
          I have done it both direct and hot & fast indirect, and I don't think it matters that much. You will get more Maillard reaction with the direct heat, but if your rub has much sugar in it, indirect with a little sear at the end might be better.

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            #7
            Thanks for the replies. Sounds like it will work either way. Will do one indirect on the kettle with the SNS and another from the egg and see the difference.

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            • Bob's BBQ
              Bob's BBQ commented
              Editing a comment
              I've done it both ways - just payy attention to your internal temp when it gets close. good luck!

            #8
            Did a pork tenderloin Saturday night-----sous vide at 129.5* for 1 hour---then seared on the weber---wife said "perfect" and she's not easy to please.

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              #9
              My preferred method is indirect until I reach the IT I want, our house it is done at 150F. So, I take it to 140ish and then sear it until 150ish. Our family really likes pork tenderloin.

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                #10
                Any issue with using the cowboy coffee rub (coffee, brown sugar, tiny amount of cinnamon and pepper) over direct heat?

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                • Steve R.
                  Steve R. commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You will just want to turn frequently to avoid burning the brown sugar. Really, any rub you like should be just fine. To this day, the best thing I have found for pork tenderloin is a simple combo of kosher salt, coarse black pepper and granulated garlic. It sounds kind of boring, but always turns out fantastic.

                #11
                However you cook it, just don't overcook pork tenderloin or it will be dry as dust. I treat it like beef tenderloin and shoot for a 130-135 F final temp -- medium rare.

                My preference is to cook pork tenderloin indirect heat, because the indirect method is a bit more forgiving, but I'd do it on direct heat if I wanted to get it done fast and was willing to stand right there and tend to the meat.

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                • Jim White
                  Jim White commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I second this. I almost went back and edited my comment to say that I'd only go hot and fast direct with a controller and constant monitoring. Otherwise, slow indirect is much more forgiving as you say and allows less hovering over the cook.

                #12
                Since it’s a lean cut and you aren’t taking it to a high IT you can go whichever way will better suit the flavors you’re after - based on rub and side dishes.

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                  #13
                  I see a lot of recipes cooking pork tenderloin entirely over direct heat (including several of Steven Raichlen's) and I have never had success with this method. The outside gets burnt before the inside gets to 140-145.

                  I do a combination. I put enough charcoal to get the SnS 75% of the way filled. I then sear for about a minute....maybe a tad longer per side (remember, tenderloin is more of a triangle than a square). I then move it to the indirect side of my Kettle to finish to 145.

                  I've never done it on my PBC as that sear adds so much to the texture of the tenderloin.

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                    #14
                    I go direct heat turning every 5 minutes per each of the 3 sides. Then go 1-2 minutes a side until I hit 135, let it rest a minute then slice. Nice char, slightly pink in the middle and alway comes out great.

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                      #15
                      I get a 1 to 1.5 pound tenderloin from Trader Joe’s, trim off silverskin, and dry brine it a couple of hours before cooking. I cut it in half so the pieces fit easily in the Smoky Joe. Pennzey’s Bavarian seasoning is a good rub. I cook indirect for about 40 minutes with 30 fully lit briquettes and a small chunk of apple until meat reaches 145 F. I am surprised how the meat stays juicy even if the meat overshoots; the half that I freeze and reheat can dry out a bit, however.

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