How to BBQ Pork Loin

5 from 1 vote

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Do you want to learn How to BBQ Pork Loin to perfection every time you open the grill? This no-fail guide walks you through the essentials—trimming, marinating, and smoking! Oh, and did I mention that this loin retains all of its glorious moisture during the cooking process? That’s right, the Traeger has got you more than covered here for perfectly juicy and tender results.

How to - BBQ pork loin sliced and resting on cutting board.

What makes this BBQ pork loin particularly special is the caramelized shell and extremely juicy interior. And hey, the burst of spice from the pork loin rub doesn’t hurt either! The best part is that the prep time for this recipe is just 10 minutes. The rest of the cooking time is taken care of by the smoker. Multi-tasking? It’s my middle name.

Now grab that basting brush and prepare to bookmark this page. Trust me, this is a guide that you’ll want to revisit time and again for those last-minute BBQ parties. And hop on over to our recipe for smoked pork loin to read more about how to smoke a pork loin in a smoker.

🐖 Why Try This Grilled Pork Loin?

  • The pork loin is perfectly juicy and has a glorious sweet and smoky flavor.
  • The marinade seeps into the meat for a well-rounded flavor with every bite.
  • It’s incredibly easy to prepare (virtually beginner-proof!) and is relatively hands-off.
  • You’ll find most of the ingredients ready to go in the grocery store. So, prep is minimal!
Whole pork loin resting on cutting board with Brussels sprouts surrounding it.

🗒️ Ingredients for This Pork Loin

This should give you a basic idea of what you’ll need to pick up for this recipe. Just remember to scroll down to the printable recipe card to learn how to BBQ pork loin!

  • Pork Loin: Choose a boneless pork loin that is about 5 pounds. Any fat should be rendered nicely when smoking!
  • Pork Marinade: Salty, sweet, and slightly spicy. This pork loin marinade is made with pineapple juice to make the pork extra tender.
  • Pork Loin Dry Rub: This pork loin dry rub has a wonderful blend of brown sugar and spice that gives the pork loin a beautifully browned crust.
  • BBQ Sauce: Anything slightly sweet or tangy will work well. But I like using my Kansas City-style BBQ sauce made from brown sugar, spices, and apple cider vinegar!
Ingredients for how to BBQ pork loin.

👨‍🍳 How To Grill BBQ Pork Loin

This rundown should give you a brief overview of how to make BBQ pork loin. But you’ll totally want to scroll down to the recipe card for the step-by-step instructions!


  1. Trim any excess fat from your pork loin and add the loin to a bag or large bowl.
  2. Dump in the marinade and make sure it’s fully covering the pork. Marinate for up to 24 hours.

Rub and Smoke

  1. Preheat the Traeger. Remove the pork loin from the marinade, pat it dry, and coat with the dry rub.
  2. Throw the pork loin on the smoker and place your thermometer in the middle of the loin. Smoke the pork loin until it reaches about 120°F before applying the BBQ sauce.

Brush and Rest

  1. Use a basting brush to apply the BBQ sauce to the loin. Continue smoking until the BBQ sauce is caramelized and the pork has reached about 140°F.
  2. Pull the pork loin from the smoker and let it rest. Slice the pork loin and serve it with your favorite sides!

🤔 Grilled Pork Substitutions and Variations

  • Change Up The Marinade: If pineapple juice isn’t your thing or you’re out of it, apple cider or orange juice make fantastic alternatives. If you can find it, papaya juice contains a meat tenderizing enzyme, just like pineapple juice. Any of these options will still beautifully complement the smoky BBQ flavors.
  • Rub Varieties: Mix up the spices a bit. Fine-tune the heat by adjusting the amount of cayenne or adding some chipotle or habanero. Add some additional dried herbs to the rub if you want to change the aromatics a bit.
  • BBQ Sauce Swaps: The Kansas City-style BBQ sauce is definitely my favorite, but you can use your favorite BBQ sauce. Or, for a unique twist, switch out the BBQ sauce for hoisin, plum, or teriyaki sauce.
  • Tenderloin works too: if you want a smaller meal or you cannot find pork loin, you can use a tenderloin. You can reduce the amount of marinade and rub that you use, but otherwise, follow the same process. The tenderloin will cook faster, so be sure to monitor the internal temperature!

😉 Tips For Perfect Pork Loin

  • Use a meat thermometer. To make sure your grilled pork loin reaches a safe internal temperature, it’s a great idea to test it with a thermometer. Use a leave-in BBQ thermometer to ensure perfect temps and avoid the dreaded overcooking of your BBQ pork loin.
  • 145°F is perfect! Juicy and delicious pork can have a very slight pink interior. It is no longer recommended to cook pork to a temp of 160°F, so don’t be worried if you see pink in the pork when you slice the meat.
  • Marinate for up to 24 hours. The enzymes in the pineapple juice marinade will work their magic to give you a wonderful result. Even a 1-hour marinate will make a difference. Leaving the pork in the marinade for longer than 24 hours can lead to bad results, so don’t forget about it!
  • Don’t forget the importance of resting your pork loin. The pork will reach the right internal temperature as it’s resting. The key is pulling it out of the Traeger before it hits 145°F. This should stop the pork loin from drying out. The internal temperature of the pork will rise a couple of degrees while it is resting.
  • Season both sides of the meat. Your marinade will help to keep things juicy and flavorful, but you’ll want to get every nook and cranny with the dry rub to ensure an awesome bark on the exterior.
  • Low and slow or hot and fast! I prefer to cook pork loin low-and-slow so it gets a delicious smoked flavor over the indirect heat. However, you can also cook your pork loin at a higher temperature if you are on a time crunch. Just be sure to monitor the internal temperature.

⏱️ Storing and Reheating Grilled Pork

You can prepare this barbecue pork loin recipe ahead of time. Just store it (once cooled!) in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

If you need to freeze it, store the leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Don’t forget to take a portion out of the freezer the night before you plan to eat it!

Before you throw the pork in the fridge or freezer, slice it into individual servings. Then, when you reheat the pork, you will be able to heat it quickly and evenly so that it doesn’t dry out.

To reheat your pork, warm the leftovers in the oven or air fryer at 360°F. Otherwise, you can put it in the microwave, heating it on medium-high power in 30-second bursts, or throw it on the grill over direct heat, flipping it every 30 seconds until warmed throughout.

I love whipping up an entire pork loin and repurposing it in sandwiches or serving it up with a big potato salad. You can even throw it into taco shells or make lettuce wraps for a low-carb feast.

Whole pork loin resting on cutting board.

❓ FAQ for Perfectly Grilled Pork

Do you flip BBQ pork loin when grilling?

I suggest flipping it once during the cooking process, as this should give you even caramelization on both sides and allow you to brush all sides of the pork loin with BBQ sauce.

Why is my pork tenderloin chewy and tough?

If your pork isn’t quite right, it’s probably overcooked. Pork dries out quickly, and if it reaches an internal temperature above 145°F, it becomes dry and chewy. The marinade works to combat tough meat, but the meat thermometer is key if you want to avoid overcooking it! 

Do I need to wrap BBQ pork loin in foil?

You can, but there’s honestly no need. Foil is usually used for larger cuts of meat that need help accelerating the internal temperature of the meat as it cooks and pushing it past the stall. Pork loin is relatively small and doesn’t stall when smoking. Also, I prefer the extra smokiness you get from leaving the pork loin completely bare on the grill.

Pork Loin vs. Pork Tenderloin

Pork loin and tenderloin come from the same general area of the pig. The pork tenderloin runs along the backbone above the pork loin. You can substitute pork tenderloin in this recipe to make BBQ pork tenderloin. Just like pork loin, the tenderloin is very lean, so be sure not to overcook it.
The tenderloin takes a marinade very well and can be slow-cooked over indirect heat or cooked over direct heat on the grill.

🥓 Tenderloin and More

How to - BBQ pork loin sliced and resting on cutting board.

🐷 Pork Loin Wrap Up

It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning a garden party or just want a reliable weeknight dinner (with leftovers!). This guide on how to cook BBQ pork loin will help you produce juicy, tender, and tangy meat every time. The marinade, dry rub, and BBQ sauce all work together to make this an unforgettable meal! So fire up that Traeger and get smoking!


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How to BBQ pork loin, whole pork loin sliced on cutting board.
5 from 1 vote

How to BBQ Pork Loin

This recipe is the perfect guide for How to BBQ Pork Loin to perfection. It is beginner-friendly and ensures an incredibly delicious and juicy result thanks to our homemade marinade, dry rub, and BBQ sauce trio.
This is your new secret weapon against dry, bland pork loin. The marinade packs in the flavor and moisture while the dry rub gives a wonderful crust. Brush on that Kansas City-style BBQ sauce for a carmelized and sticky exterior that makes every bite burst with flavor.
Get perfectly juicy pork loin and never have chewy meat again by following our guide for a medium-rare (yes, it is safe!) pork loin!
Course: Grilling
Cuisine: American
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings




  • Optional: trim any excess fat from the pork loin, if desired. The fat will otherwise render nicely when smoked and add flavor to the meat.
  • Add the pork loin to a bag or large bowl and dump in the marinade. Ensure that the marinade is covering the pork. Marinate for at least one hour or, ideally, overnight.

Rub and Smoke

  • Preheat your Traeger smoker to 225°F.
  • Remove the pork loin from the marinade and pat it dry with a rag or paper towel.
  • Coat the entire surface of the pork loin in the dry rub. Set the pork loin aside until the smoker reaches 225°F.
  • Throw the pork loin on the smoker and place your thermometer in the center of the loin. Smoke for about 1-½ hours or until the pork loin reaches an internal of 120°F.

Brush and Rest

  • Use a basting brush to apply the BBQ sauce to the pork loin. Coat all sides of the meat, rolling it over on the grill grates.
  • Cook for an additional ½ hour or until the internal temperature of the pork loin reaches 140°F and the BBQ sauce is caramelized.
  • Pull the pork loin from the smoker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Ensure that the internal temperature reaches 145°F while it is resting.
  • Slice the pork loin and serve with your favorite sides.


  • USDA guidelines say to cook pork loin to an internal temperature of 145°F before letting it rest for 3 minutes. Due to carry-over cooking, I always pull my pork at 140°F so it can hit 145°F while resting.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure a proper internal temperature. Cooking times are just a recommendation. It is best to monitor the cook with a quality thermometer instead.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 533kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 58g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 2530mg, Potassium: 969mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 39g, Vitamin A: 93IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 37mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Tried this recipe?Mention @alicensetogrill or tag #alicensetogrill!

About Joshua Boquist

Josh is an outdoor enthusiast and food fanatic. A License To Grill is his passion project where the outdoors intersects food - grilling, smoking, and all things tasty!

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