If there is one secret to success with a Brinkmann or other backyard smoker, it is that you cannot be in a hurry. Expert barbecue chefs will often smoke a large beef brisket or pork shoulder for 14 hours or more to achieve the desired results. A cut of meat such as a pork tenderloin, which can be cooked on a hot grill in minutes, becomes something quite special when cooked on low heat for a long time (low and slow) in a smoker.

Prepare your favorite marinade. Brinkmann provides a marinade recipe using cider, soy and Hoisin sauce, vinegar and several different spices. Alternatively, coat the tenderloin with a dry rub of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and brown sugar, or use your favorite recipe. Place the tenderloin in the refrigerator overnight.

Soak the wood chips in water for an hour before starting to cook. Use any type of hardwood: oak, hickory, apple or cherry.

Light the charcoal in your Brinkmann smoker at least a half hour before you are ready to begin cooking. Fill the water pan with 3 quarts of hot water. If you are using a gas smoker, preheat it for 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust the side vents of a charcoal smoker, or the burners of a gas smoker, to achieve a temperature between 175 and 250 degrees. Just before adding the meat, place some of the soaked wood chips or chunks on the coals, or add them to the smoker box of a propane smoker.

Place the tenderloin on the smoker grates. If you used a liquid marinade, pour it into the water pan to add flavor. Allow the tenderloin to smoke for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Check periodically to adjust the temperature; 5 to 6 pounds of charcoal should be sufficient to complete the smoking process, depending on the weather. Add fresh wood chunks as needed. After about two hours of cooking, begin to check the temperature of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. Remove the meat from the smoker when it reaches an internal temperature of about 165 degrees. Cover it with foil and let it rest; the temperature will continue to coast upward to about 170 degrees. Slice and serve.


  • Pork tenderloin often comes two to a package. By all means cook two; it freezes well.