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Sweet and Smokey Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin

This melt-in-your-mouth Instant Pot pork tenderloin is pressure cooked for just three minutes in a lip-smacking sweet and smokey sauce you’ll CRAVE. 

Serving platter of sliced pork tenderloin drizzled with gravy.

You don’t always have to take it slow.

Pork tenderloin has always been a slow-roasted Sunday-type dinner in this house. But oh, how things change! Thanks to the magic of pressure cooking, this Sweet and Smokey Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin can be served up in a snap! (23 minutes, to be exact.) And while the pork rests, you can whip up the sweet and smokey gravy with all of those leftover pan juices.

Brined pork tenderloin: 10/10 do recommend.

Brining is hands down the best technique I’ve picked up in the kitchen over the last few years. Just a few hours spent in a brine, and your meat is more tender, juicy, and flavorful than ever before! It’s so delicious that you don’t even need extra sauces or seasonings. But we like drizzles in this house, so we still indulge ;)

Why brine your meat?

Lean cuts of meat like poultry and pork tenderloin can dry out quickly. The brine—which is a solution of salt and liquid—not only infuses the meat with extra flavor, but extra moisture as well; the sodium is the key. It has a tenderizing effect on protein which breaks it down, so you’re setting yourself up for a juicier meat from the get-go! Anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours makes a huge difference in tenderness. But timing is important, and time will depend on the weight of your meat. I usually time it at an hour of brine time per pound. This pork tenderloin was about 1.5 lbs, so I brined it for an hour and a half. If you over-brine your meat, too much protein will be broken down and it will affect the texture and overall quality. Something to keep in mind!

Overhead shot of uncooked pork tenderloin in a pot full of brine, citrus fruit, and herbs.

How to make Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin.

If the pork has been brined, give it a good rinse under cool water and pat it dry with paper towels before smothering it with the dry rub.

Overhead shot of raw seasoned pork tenderloin on a wooden cutting board.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pork tenderloin

Dry rub:

  • Cracked black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder

Sweet and Smokey Sauce:

  • Chicken stock
  • BBQ sauce
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Maple syrup
  • Liquid smoke
  • Cornstarch

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Mix all of the ingredients for the dry rub in a small rub; set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, maple syrup, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and BBQ sauce; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in Instant Pot on sauté mode—low.
  • Rub the pork with the dry rub distributing it evenly; slice the pork in half.
  • With tongs, carefully place both pieces of pork tenderloin into the Instant Pot. Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes, or until the pork has browned on each side.
  • Transfer the sweet and smokey sauce to the pot over the tenderloin. With a large spoon or spatula, try to scrape up any pan bits from cooking the pork. (Pan bits can trigger the burn notice, even though nothing is burning.)
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, lock it, and set the valve to “seal”.
  • Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. When done, let the pressure naturally release; this will take about 12-15 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the lid and, using tongs, remove the pork tenderloin from the Instant Pot. Place the tenderloin on a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, set the Instant Pot to sauté mode—medium. Bring the sauce to a simmer. In a cup, mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water. Stir until the cornstarch has dissolved, then pour it into the sauce, whisking. Whisk until the sauce has thickened to a gravy-like consistency.
  • Slice the tenderloin, place on a serving platter, and drizzle with the sauce; garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  • Extra sauce can be stored in the fridge, sealed, for up to two weeks.

Serving platter of sliced pork tenderloin drizzled with gravy.

Side shot close up of platter of sliced pork tenderloin drizzled with gravy and garnished with parsley.

What to serve with Sweet and Smokey Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin:

Hope you enjoy!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Side shot close up of platter of sliced pork tenderloin drizzled with gravy and garnished with parsley.
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5 from 1 vote

Sweet and Smokey Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin

This melt-in-your-mouth Instant Pot pork tenderloin is pressure cooked for just three minutes in a lip-smacking sweet and smokey sauce you'll CRAVE. 
Course Main Course
Keyword Instant Pot, pork tenderloin
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Brine (optional): 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin

Dry rub.

  • 1 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cracked Black Pepper

Sweet and smokey sauce.

  • 1 cup Chicken stock recipe here
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 4 TBSP Low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 TBSP Maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP Liquid smoke
  • 2 TBSP Cornstarch

Instructions

  • Mix all of the ingredients for the dry rub in a small rub; set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, maple syrup, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and BBQ sauce; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in Instant Pot on sauté mode—low.Rub the pork with the dry rub distributing it evenly; slice the pork in half.With tongs, carefully place both pieces of pork tenderloin into the Instant Pot. Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes, or until the pork has browned on each side.
  • Transfer the sweet and smokey sauce to the pot over the tenderloin. With a large spoon or spatula, try to scrape up any pan bits from cooking the pork. (Pan bits can trigger the burn notice, even though nothing is burning.)
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, lock it, and set the valve to "seal".
  • Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. When done, let the pressure naturally release; this will take about 12-15 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the lid and, using tongs, remove the pork tenderloin from the Instant Pot. Place the tenderloin on a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, set the Instant Pot to sauté mode—medium. Bring the sauce to a simmer. In a cup, mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water. Stir until the cornstarch has dissolved, then pour it into the sauce, whisking. Whisk until the sauce has thickened to a gravy-like consistency.
  • Slice the tenderloin, place on a serving platter, and drizzle with the sauce; garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  • Extra sauce can be stored in the fridge, sealed, for up to two weeks.

Notes

If brining:
Pork brine
  • 4 cups apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Pour the apple cider into a medium-sized pot and heat over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the salt and sugar and let it simmer, whisking often, until the salt and sugar have fully dissolved into the liquid. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Place the pork tenderloin into a large pot or deep container. Once the brine has cooled, pour it over the tenderloin and add the herbs, garlic, and peppercorns. Cover and place in the fridge for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
When you're ready to cook the pork, remove it from the brine and rinse it under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels and place it on a cutting board. Season it,  and contuniue on with the recipe as written above.
 

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