Perfect Beef Tenderloin Smoker Recipe

sliced beef tenderloin
To make beef tenderloin on a smoker, preheat your smoker to 250°F and add the fruitwood of your choice. Smoke the seasoned tenderloin until the internal temperature reaches 130°F, roughly 1 hour. Then, reverse-sear the exterior of your tenderloin at high heat for a few minutes on each side until you achieve a perfect crust.

Beef tenderloin is an expensive cut of meat found in the loin section of the cow, often used to cook filet mignon steaks. It is typically leaner than ribeye or prime rib, and a tender cut with little connective tissue.

What is The Best Way to Smoke a Beef Tenderloin?

Tools Needed to Make Beef Tenderloin on a Smoker

  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer
  • Pellet smoker
  • Wood pellets

How to Prep Beef Tenderloin for Smoking

  1. Take a whole beef tenderloin and trim off any excess fat and silverskin. This will help it cook more evenly and reduce the risk of flare-ups.
  2. Optionally, you can brine the beef tenderloin for added moisture and flavor – you’ll have to leave it for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. After brining, pat the cut of beef dry by using some paper towels.
  4. Coat the beef tenderloin with a dry rub. You can keep the rub simple using kosher salt and black pepper.
  5. Let the beef tenderloin come to room temperature before smoking. This will help it cook more evenly.

Prepare the Smoker

Preheat the smoker to 250°F and add wood chips to the smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Different types of wood will impart different flavors, so choose one that complements the taste of the beef tenderloin. Good choices are hickory, mesquite, and oak.

Smoke the Beef Tenderloin

Smoke the beef tenderloin for approximately 1 to 2 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F to 140°F for medium-rare. The cooking time and the internal temperature will depend on the size and thickness of the beef tenderloin, desired doneness, as well as the temperature of the smoker.

  • You can baste or spritz the beef tenderloin with a liquid (such as apple juice or beef broth) to add moisture and flavor.
  • You don’t need to turn the beef tenderloin while smoking.
  • You can reverse-sear your beef tenderloin at the end of the cooking process if you desire a caramelized crust by searing it over high heat for 1-2 minutes per side.

How Long to Rest Smoked Beef Tenderloin

Once the beef tenderloin has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and rest for at least 10-15 minutes.

Let it rest uncovered, wrap it in aluminum foil, or place it in a roasting pan to keep it warm. After resting, slice the beef tenderloin and serve immediately.

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cajun beef tenderloin

Cajun Spiced Smoked Beef Tenderloin Recipe

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes


The perfect beef tenderloin roast recipe will be the talk of your BBQ party or special occasion. The tasty Creole spice blend complements the beefy smoky flavors of the meat, enhancing this lean cut and taking it to new heights of flavor!


Units Scale


  • Butcher’s twine
  • Cutting board
  • Meat thermometer
  • Pellet grill/Traeger grill
  • Small bowl for the dry rub
  • Wood pellets

Tenderloin Ingredients


  1. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F.
  2. Trim your tenderloin by removing any silverskin or excess fat.
  3. Tie your tenderloin using a butcher’s twine – make knots every 1 1/2″.
  4. Rub your tenderloin with olive oil on all sides.
  5. Spread Tony Chachere’s Bold Creole seasoning blend (or your choice of dry rub) on the tenderloin, making sure to coat it evenly on all sides
  6. Place tenderloin on grill grates.
  7. Grill your onions by slicing them into pieces and cooking them slowly in a cast iron skillet over medium heat while the tenderloin smokes. Once they are brown and soft, move them to a small bowl and set aside.
  8. Smoke the tenderloin for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 120°F. Make sure to check by using a meat thermometer.
  9. Take your meat off the grill and raise the temperature to 300°F.
  10. Sear your tenderloin at high heat until it is browned on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  11. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  12. Place on a cutting board and slice against the grain into 1″ pieces.
  13. Top with grilled onions and serve with your favorite sides!


  • The best wood pellets to use are hickory, mesquite, or oak.
  • Serve with a side of BBQ sauce or horseradish.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Rest Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • Serving Size: 6 ounces
  • Calories: 358kcal
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Sodium: 96mg
  • Fat: 15.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 52g
  • Cholesterol: 158mg

What Wood is Best for Smoking Beef Tenderloin?

The type of wood you choose depends on your desired smoke level. Here are some great options:

  1. Oak: Oak is a popular choice for smoking beef tenderloin because it imparts a neutral smoky flavor and burns for a long time.
  2. Cherry: Cherry wood has a mild, sweet flavor that pairs well with beef.
  3. Apple: Applewood has a fruity, sweet flavor that complements the taste of beef tenderloin. It’s a good choice if you want a subtle smoke flavor.
  4. Pecan: Pecan wood has a mild, nutty flavor that pairs well with beef. It’s a good choice for a balanced smoke flavor.
  5. Mesquite: Mesquite wood has a strong, bold flavor but may overwhelm the meat if you smoke for an extended period of time. It’s generally best to combine woods when using mesquite to achieve the desired flavor profile.

Target Internal Temperature for Smoked Beef Tenderloin

The target internal temperature will vary according to your desired doneness, the temperature of the smoker, and the size of the cut.

The best thing to do is to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your beef tenderloin is cooked to your desired level of doneness. As with most meat, the safe minimum temperature, according to USDA is 145°F.

Internal temperatures according to doneness levels of beef tenderloin:

Desired DonenessInternal Temperature
Rare120°F to 125°F
Medium-rare130°F to 135°F
Medium140°F to 145°F
Medium-well150°F to 155°F
Well-done160°F and above

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Beef Tenderloin?

The average time it takes to smoke a beef tenderloin is 1 hour to 1 and a half hours.

Estimating the exact amount of time it will take to smoke a beef tenderloin can be difficult because it will vary according to the size and thickness of the meat, the temperature of your smoker, and your desired level of doneness.

How Long Do You Smoke a Beef Tenderloin at 225°F?

As a rule, it typically takes about 1 hour per pound to smoke a beef tenderloin at 225°F. So, for a 6-pound beef tenderloin, it would take about 6 hours to smoke at 225°F.

How Long Do You Smoke a Beef Tenderloin at 250°F?

As a rough estimate, it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour per pound to smoke a beef tenderloin at 250°F. So, for a 6-pound beef tenderloin, it would take between 5 and 6 hours to smoke at 250°F.

Best Smoker Temperature for Beef Tenderloin

The best temperature for smoking beef tenderloin depends on your preference for doneness and how much smoke flavor you want to infuse into the meat.

Generally, a low and slow cooking method is best for smoking beef tenderloin, so it is best to cook it between 225°F and 250°F. This allows it to cook evenly and helps to preserve its moisture, resulting in a tender and juicy final piece of meat.

Cooking the beef tenderloin at high heat (above 300°F) for a shorter period can produce drier meat that loses moisture quickly. When smoking, consider that you’d have to remove the beef tenderloin from the smoker when it is about 10°F below your desired level of doneness.

Should Beef Tenderloin Be Marinated Before Smoking?

Marinating beef tenderloin before smoking is unnecessary, as the long cooking time and low and slow cooking methods used in smoking will help tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.

Should Beef Tenderloin be Wrapped While Smoking?

You don’t have to wrap beef tenderloin in aluminum foil or butcher’s paper, but if you do, it can help the tenderloin cook more evenly and help it retain moisture. If you choose to do this, ensure the foil is sealed tightly around the beef.

What is a Good Rub for Beef Tenderloin?

A rub can help enhance the flavor of beef tenderloin. Here are a few delicious options:

Herb Garlic Pepper Rub

This blend combines herbs like rosemary and thyme with garlic cloves and black pepper for an easy-to-make flavor boost.

Mustard and Chile Rub

Mustard powder is good at helping tenderize the meat, while chili powder gives it a nice kick. This blend works well on chicken or pork as well as beef tenderloin!

Hawaiian Style Beef Tenderloin Rub

This fresh and fruity take on beef tenderloin will transport you to the tropics!


Alexandra is a passionate writer who loves everything related to food: from buying local produce and sourcing the best ingredients to finding the perfect spice mix and sauce to complement each dish. She loves getting together with friends near a campfire and grilling up some barbecue goodness while having quality conversations - no screens allowed.

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