Lean, moist, and incredibly succulent, this oven baked BBQ pork tenderloin recipe features tenderloin seasoned with sweet, warm, savory spices and smothered in BBQ sauce.
This BBQ pork tenderloin recipe is one of our favorite ways to cook pork tenderloin. David usually grills things with BBQ sauce, but sometimes it is impractical to light the grill, especially when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate.
The first time I made it, I honestly didn’t think it would be as good as it was. I have made tenderloin in many ways, but this experience placed this dish at the top of my favorite recipe. I couldn’t believe how good the tenderloin was.
I’ve made this recipe so many times I cannot count. It always turns out delicious. It’s surprising how something so simple tastes so good and is so easy to make!
What is Pork Tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin is a long, narrow, boneless cut of meat within the same area as the pork loin. The tenderloin runs next to the backbone and is surrounded by the pork loin on three sides. This cut is a very lean cut with very little fat.
What’s Needed To Make Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Tenderloin
- Pork Tenderloin: (2) one-pound tenderloins (NOT pork loin). Many recipes will tell you to trim off the silverskin, but I never have, and they are always tender.
- Pork Dry Rub: I use our all-purpose pork dry rub. The recipe is provided in the recipe card below, or use your favorite pork rub.
- Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil or oil of choice for lubricating the skillet.
- BBQ Sauce: Any barbecue sauce will work. Use your favorite, or try this recipe.
5 Steps to Amazing Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Follow the steps below to make amazing pork tenderloin.
STEP #1: A Good Dry Rub
A good dry rub is the first step to building good flavor in the meat. The dry rub adheres to the moist surface of the meat and forms a coating that turns into a flavor seared crust when the meat hits the pan. It’s kind of like a dry marinade.
Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps of brown sugar for even distribution) and whisk to mix. If you have a mortar and pestle, that works best. Rub the mixture onto the meat covering it well.
STEP #2: Sear the Meat
The second step to building flavor is searing the meat. Searing meat does not lock in moisture like we’ve been told forever. As it turns out, searing is the secret to cooking flavorful meat with good texture. When the meat hits a hot pan, the surface of the meat begins to caramelize the sugars and brown the proteins of the meat (known as the Maillard Reaction), which gives you a more appealing color and a deep, savory flavor that makes meat delicious.
STEP #3: A Good Skillet
The type of skillet you use makes a huge difference! You need a nice heavy skillet that can retain a high heat level, such as cast iron, aluminum, or stainless steel.
Do not use a coated or non-stick surface skillet. You need a good pan that can withstand the oven’s heat to finish off the cooking.
STEP #4: Add Oil To The Skillet For Leaner Cuts of Meat.
Add a little oil to the skillet for lean cuts of meat, such as pork tenderloin.
- Preheat the Skillet: Place an empty large oven-proof heavy cast iron skillet or stainless steel skillet over high heat and let it get hot.
You can sprinkle a drop or two of water onto the pan to test the heat. The water should sizzle and jump around.
- Add the Oil: When the skillet is hot, add the oil and allow it to warm, but do not let it burn. You should start to see ripples; then, it is time to add the meat. Be careful; the hot oil may spatter!
Step #5: Leave the Meat Alone!
Add the meat to the skillet, and as tempted as you may be, leave it alone! Do not move it.
You want the meat to lock onto the skillet. Do not fear this! I used to panic when my meat stuck to the skillet. Little did I know that if you give it a minute or two, the meat will release from the pan. This is where the flavor forms.
Let the meat sear for 2-3 minutes. The meat will brown quickly, so now is not the time to walk away. Keep an eye on it; when the meat has browned and has released from the skillet, flip it over and sear the other side. Keep rolling the tenderloin over and allowing it to brown all around.
Baking the Pork Tenderloin
When the meat is browned on all sides, the inside will still be raw. Finish the cooking inside the oven.
Place the skillet inside the preheated oven and bake the tenderloin until the pork is done and the juices run clear. The temperature of the tenderloin should read at least 145 degrees F when read with an instant-read meat thermometer, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Add BBQ Sauce to the Tenderloins
For really saucy tenderloins, pour the BBQ sauce over the meat and allow it to bake for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.
Rest the Meat
Remove the tenderloins from the oven and place them on a carving board. Allow the pork to rest for 10 minutes. Slice pork, and serve with your favorite BBQ sauce.
Serving Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Tenderloin
I served the oven-baked BBQ pork tenderloin with brussels sprouts and macaroni and cheese.
Tips For Making This BBQ Pork Tenderloin Recipe
- To intensify the effects of the spice rub, you can rub the meat ahead of time so that the rub penetrates the meat a little more. Rub the tenderloin with pork rub for at least one hour before cooking. If you don’t have time, applying the rub ahead of time to marinate the meat is not necessary but recommended if you have the time.
- DO NOT SKIP SEARING THE MEAT! It may seem like searing is an unnecessary step, but trust me is NOT! You’re not beginning the cooking process but just starting to build the flavor. It doesn’t take long, and you only stand at the stove for a few minutes. Trust me; it is worth every minute!
This oven-baked BBQ pork tenderloin is guaranteed to become a family favorite! If you do, we’d love your feedback. Leave us a comment and a star rating below. We value your opinion and appreciate your time.
See ya on the mountain!
Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Tenderloin
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin (2) one pound tenderloins
- Pork Dry Rub (recipe to follow)
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or oil of choice
- 1 cup BBQ sauce use your favorite
Pork Dry Rub
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Rinse the tenderloins under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl (make sure to work out any clumps of the brown sugar for even distribution) and stir to mix. If you have a mortar and pestle, that works best. Rub the spices onto the meat covering it well. (see notes)
- Preheat a large oven-proof heavy cast iron skillet or stainless steel skillet, over high heat. Sprinkle a drop or two of water onto the skillet to test the heat. The water should sizzle and jump around. Next, add the oil to the skillet and allow it to warm, but do not let it burn. When you start to see ripples in the oil, carefully add the meat to the pan. Be careful the hot oil may spatter!
- Once the meat is in the skillet, do not move it. Let the meat sear for a few minutes. When the meat releases from the skillet and is browned, flip it over and sear the other side. Then roll it over on each side to brown all the way around. When the meat is browned on all sides, the inside will still be raw.
- Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake until the pork is done and juices run clear; about 30 to 45 minutes. For really saucy tenderloins, pour the BBQ sauce over the meat and allow bake the last 10 to 15 minutes of roasting.
- Remove the tenderloins from the oven and place them on a carving board. Allow the pork to rest for 10 minutes. Slice pork, and serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping.