Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fried Sage Butter Sauce

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin topped with a fried sage butter sauce melts in your mouth and cooks over a hot grill in minutes. Learn the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin and how to grill pork tenderloin perfectly every single time. You’re going to love this recipe!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin topped with fried sage butter sauce on a platter with a glass of red wine
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Grilling pork tenderloin is an easy way to serve a lean and flavorful cut of pork. There are so many variations of flavor that can be added. No matter what you want for flavor, let’s walk through the basics of our grilled pork tenderloin recipe.

Ingredients + Substitutions

  • Pork Tenderloin – Look for tenderloin versus loin. However you can use the same recipe for a pork loin. It will take longer to cook and you’ll want to double the amount of sage butter.
  • Olive Oil – This is the binder for the seasoning. You can also use Dijon mustard or chicken stock as well. 
  • Spice Rub – We are using our sugar-free chicken rub which is great for chicken and pork. You can also use your favorite store-bought pork rub. Avoid seasoning with cane or brown sugar as the first ingredient, as it can burn over direct heat quickly.
  • Butter – The base for the sage sauce is unsalted butter.
  • Sage – Use fresh sage so it will fry in the butter. Dried sage won’t work.

Pork Loin versus Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin is a long, narrow, lean cut of meat that comes from along a pig’s backbone. Because the muscle along the backbone does not move as much (as say a pork shoulder), this is why it is so lean with less connective tissue. With any lean cut, the best method of cooking is grilling over high heat, quickly, in order to avoid the meat drying out.

Pork Loin is a much different cut of meat that comes from the ribs and requires much longer cooking times. The pork loin can be bone-in or boneless and can be cut up for pork chops or cooked as a whole roast, like our grilled rack of pork or pork loin with blackberry balsamic wine glaze. It is also lean compared to spare ribs or a pork shoulder, but due to its larger size, it needs slightly less heat, or a reverse sear method, for the best flavor and tenderness.

How to Trim Pork Tenderloin

Grilled pork tenderloin starts with properly trimming the tenderloin before seasoning. When you first look at the tenderloin you will see some silver skin along the outside, and there will be a thin end, and a thick end. Follow these steps to prepare it.

two raw pork tenderloins on a cutting board getting trimmed of excess fat
  1. Remove some of the thin end where it’s flat, or the tail, to make the thickness of the tenderloin uniform from end to end. This prevents a dry overcooked end piece because it gets so narrow.
  2. Using a sharp knife remove the silver skin from exterior of the meat.
  3. If there are any excess flaps of meat, remove those as well. Pat dry with a paper towel and get ready to season it.

Seasoning

Make a large batch of the seasoning in a small bowl. Reserve what you don’t use for other recipes.

  • Coat the pork tenderloin in olive oil to allow the seasoning to stick.
  • Apply the dry rub. Because we are grilling over high heat, we are using our chicken seasoning with more herb and savory elements. It also has no-sugar added (and over a high heat sugar can burn, which makes the no-sugar rub great for grilling at a high heat).
  • This can be done the day before or minutes before grilling. Adding earlier allows the salt to dry brine the tenderloin and get more flavor into the meat.

How to Grill Pork Tenderloin

The process for grilled pork tenderloin will involve direct and indirect cooking or using the two-zone method of cooking.

Pork Tenderloin cooking on the grill
  1. Get the grill to medium-high heat using a two-zone method setup. Target 450 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit over direct heat. If using a charcoal grill we recommend lump charcoal.
  2. Grill the pork tenderloin over direct heat on the grill grates for four minutes per side. this should create a sear on the outside. While it’s searing keep the lid closed. Move to the indirect side of the grill and close the lid.
  3. After about 6 more minutes check the temperature and pull the pork when it reaches 135 degrees F using an instant read thermometer.
  4. Let it rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board uncovered to allow the juices to redistribute and carry over cooking to occur. Slice and place on a serving platter. Serve with our fried sage butter sauce.

Gas Grill – If using a gas grill you should still use a two-zone grilling set up. If you have a three burner gas grill light two of the adjacent burners to medium-high heat for direct grilling. And the side without the lit burner is the indirect side.

How Long to Grill Pork Tenderloin

Two grilled pork tenderloins on a hot grill

Pork tenderloin is going to grill quickly, and the general guidance is no more than 15 minutes on the grill until it is done.

The important rule is to always cook to the proper internal temperature and not time. Use a quality instant-read meat thermometer, like the Thermoworks Thermapen One. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the tenderloin and remove the pork from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the grilled tenderloin rests, the internal temperature will continue to rise in temperature to about 140 degrees F after 10 minutes, and will then be ready to slice.

While the meat is resting you can make the sage butter.

Fried Sage Butter Sauce

This is the easiest way to add a simple flavor to any meat or veggies.

  • In a small pan over medium heat add the butter and let it melt until it is just bubbling.
  • Add diced sage and let the sage simmer in the butter until slightly crispy (3-5 minutes).
  • Optional: Add finishing salt if you want a touch of savory note.
  • Pour over the sliced tenderloin right before serving.
Slices of grilled pork tenderloin on a platter topped with sage butter sauce and a glass of wine

What To Serve With This Recipe

Wine Pairing – The herbal flavor from the rub and the sage are a nice match for a white wine like an oaked Chardonnay. For red look for an Oregon Pinot Noir.

Side Dishes – We love Roasted Potatoes which can be made in the oven. Another great side is our Prosecco Risotto.

Salad Recipes – For a salad make a Grilled Caesar Salad while the pork is cooking. Just make the dressing in advance.


About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook


“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
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Grilled Pork Tenderloin on a platter topped with fried sage butter sauce
4.50 from 4 votes

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fried Sage Butter Sauce

Grilled pork tenderloin is as easy as cooking the meat hot and fast and then adding a drizzle of sage butter for a tender and perfect Grilled Pork Tenderloin. A quick and easy weeknight meal or elegant family dinner.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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Ingredients 

  • 2 whole pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons poultry rub
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon diced fresh sage leaves

Instructions 

  • Preparation: Get the grill to medium-high heat using a two-zone method. Target 450 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit over direct heat. If using a charcoal grill we recommend lump charcoal. Coat the tenderloins with olive oil and apply the dry rub liberally.
  • Grill Direct: Place tenderloin on grill grates over direct heat. Get a sear on both sides of the tenderloin (about 4 minutes per side), then move to indirect heat to finish.
  • Grill Indirect: After about 5-6 more minutes check the temperature, and then pull the pork when it reaches 140 degrees F.
  • Rest: Let is rest! 10 minutes will allow the juices to redistribute. Slice and place on a serving platter. Serve with our fried sage butter sauce.

Sage Butter

  • Melt: In a small pan over medium heat melt butter until it's just bubbling. When melted, add the sage and continue cooking while sage fries and infuses with the butter.
  • Remove and Serve: Remove from heat after about 6 minutes or until the sage is slightly crispy. Pour over the sliced pork tenderloin.

Notes

Trimming Pork Tenderloin:
  1. Remove some of the thin end where it’s flat, or the tail, to make the thickness of the tenderloin uniform from end to end. This prevents a dry overcooked end piece because it gets so narrow.
  2. Using a sharp knife remove the silver skin from the exterior of the meat. 
  3. If there are any excess flaps of meat, remove those as well. Pat dry with a paper towel and get ready to season it.
For the Butter Sauce: You can also add a touch of kosher salt to enhance the flavor. Feel free to add other herbs, like thyme or rosemary, if you like those flavors, for a different take on this decadent herb butter sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 429IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 174
Keyword: grilled pork tenderloin, grilled pork tenderloin recipe, how to grill pork tenderloin
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Vindulge

About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was awesome! I did forget to rub the pork with olive oil first but it still turned out delicious. Make sure you have plenty of butter as this is key. I have never really cooked with sage but will be planting this herb just for this recipe. Served it with wild rice but the left overs with mashed potatoes, go for the potatoes!