This Spicy Rubbed Pork Tenderloin dish is quick and easy enough for an everyday dinner and also elegant enough for entertaining. Because it’s very lean and mild, pork tenderloin is the perfect match for a bold spice rub, like this one. Brown sugar, paprika, three peppers, onion and garlic powder combine to provide a savory, slightly sweet flavoring with a bit of a kick. And, since pork tenderloin cooks quickly and this recipe requires no marinading time, it’s perfect for busy day dinner!
Spicy Rub for Pork Tenderloin
I really love preparing pork tenderloin. It’s super delicious, extremely versatile and can be elegant in its presentation. This pork recipe is particularly easy and flavorful.
Robert is particularly fond of this dish. Many of my easy recipes have been born while my husband Robert and I were camping in our Airstream trailer. One evening, we had been fly fishing all day and returned to the trailer tired and hungry. I opened our pantry (which is pretty small!), pulled out some brown sugar and a variety of spices, and started mixing – and this rub was the result. After returning home to Denver, I made it a few more times, tweaking the proportions.
Dry Rub Pork Tenderloin Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this rub:
- Kosher salt
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Ground black pepper
- Ground white pepper
- Light brown sugar
Brown sugar brings out the sweetness of the pork, and the combination of the three ground peppers add spicy heat. Lastly, garlic and onion powder amp up all the flavors! This rub is a bit on the spicy side, but you can easily modify it to your taste by increasing or decreasing the ground peppers, especially the cayenne.
Note: the original recipe calls for grilling the pork; you can also roast it – see Variation below.
Pork Tenderloin Rub Technique
The best way to get the rub on the pork tenderloin is using your hands:
- Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towel.
- Rub olive oil all over the tenderloin. The oil helps the rub adhere to the meat. (It also helps to keep it from sticking to the grill.)
- Generously sprinkle the spice mixture all over the tenderloin and rub it in with your hands. Coat the meat well.
How to Make Spiced Pork Tenderloin
Time needed: 30 minutes.
This pork tenderloin is very quick to prepare. And, once whip up a batch of the spice mixture and store it in your pantry, it only takes minutes! Here are the steps:
- Prepare spice rub.
In a small bowl, whisk together paprika, salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and white pepper until well mixed.
- Prep tenderloin.
Rub tenderloin all over with olive oil.
- Add rub.
Rub with spice mixture to coat all sides – you’ll need around 2 tablespoons, so you’re likely to have some rub leftover, which you can save for the next time. Set aside.
- Preheat grill.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium.
- Oil grill; cook.
Once the grill is preheated, oil grill rack. Grill tenderloin, covered, for 7 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking, covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145 degrees.
- Let rest, garnish and serve.
Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.
FAQ for Spice Rub for Pork Tenderloin
Honestly, I can’t think of a spice that doesn’t work well with pork! In addition to the spices in my rub, I recommend trying dry mustard, ginger, curry powder, cumin – even cinnamon and allspice would work well.
As with spices, many herbs pair well with pork. My favorites are sage, rosemary, parsley, thyme and dill.
Pork tenderloin, as the name implies, is naturally a tender cut of meat. Just make sure not to overcook it and it will come out moist and tender.
The best way to keep it from drying out is to not overcook it. Use an instant read thermometer and remove from the grill when it reaches 145 degrees.
It’s not necessary to put a rub on pork overnight. A rub simply adds seasoning to the meat and doesn’t need time to do that (vs. a marinade). It doesn’t hurt the meat do so, however, if that saves you time before grilling.
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Pork Tenderloin
Leftover cooked tenderloin should be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 325 degree oven for around 10 minutes – or use cold in sandwiches!
You an also freeze the cooked pork for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as above.
What goes with pork tenderloin?
Here are the side dishes I like to serve with this pork:
- Asparagus Soufflé
- Mixed Greens with Apples, Walnuts and Stilton
- Southern Corn Pudding
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Couscous with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
- Grilled Potato Packets
- Greek Orzo Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing
- Roasted Zucchini Custard
- Carrot, Radish and Sweet Pea Salad
- Broccoli with Bacon and Walnuts
- Lemon-Dijon Green Beans
- Tomatoes Stuffed with Artichoke Hearts, Onions and Bacon
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This Spicy Rubbed Pork Tenderloin dish is quick and easy enough for an everyday dinner and also elegant enough for entertaining!
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 heaping teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 (1 1/4 to 1 1/2-pound) pork tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
- chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
- In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and white pepper until well mixed.
- Rub tenderloin all over with olive oil.
- Rub with spice mixture to coat all sides – you’ll need around 2 tablespoons, so you’re likely to have some rub leftover, which you can save for the next time. Set rubbed pork aside.
- Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium.
- Oil grill rack. Grill tenderloin, covered, for 7 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking, covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145 degrees.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Roasting Variation: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a roasting pan large enough to hold the pork with nonstick cooking spray. Place rubbed tenderloin in the prepared pan, tuck under the pointy thin end, and roast for 10 minutes. Turn tenderloin over and continue roasting for another 10 minutes (20 minutes total) until done.