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Grilled turkey tenderloins are marinated and rubbed for an easy and healthy alternative to those heavy holiday dishes. Unlike other turkey recipes, using these tender strips means there are no bones to deal with! So, fire up the grill, grab the secret ingredient to marinate the tenderloins, and watch turkey cook in minutes versus slaving over an oven for hours!
Spicy grilled turkey tenderloins—because turkey is the season after all! It's also the season for crazy long days, lots of stress, and last-minute prep for dinner parties. Let's reduce that stress.
So, instead of thawing a turkey or heating up your house for hours while cooking a whole turkey for hours, I wanted to show you an alternative I discovered a few years ago.
This post has been sponsored by Modelo Especial®/Meiomi. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I've tried a lot of things in my life when it comes to cooking. And I've had a lot of fails. Let's talk about the brined turkey incident.
The one where we had to find a vessel large enough to submerge the giant turkey in. The one that, when we cooked it, tasted like a salt brick.
Nothing is worse than having the star of the show be a dud. Especially after all that time committed.
So if you're like me and want to avoid a disaster like that-- go ahead and give these a whirl. The total time cooking on the bbq grill is less than 30 minutes, so it's an easy way to try the recipe out before your big Thanksgiving meal or other holiday celebrations. And it's so easy, that you'll probably add it into your repertoire since you know the key to getting your turkey fix in the easy way.
🦃 What are turkey tenderloins?
I'm glad you asked my friend. Because I had the same reaction years ago. I stumbled across a recipe in a magazine about 15 years ago calling for them. It turns out that the tenderloin is a muscle that is tucked under the breast of the turkey. Although some people refer to them as turkey breast tenderloins that is not exactly correct.
It's also white meat, but because it's a muscle that isn't really utilized by the turkey, it's very very very tender. The same part on a chicken is what makes chicken tenders. So um yeah.... did anyone else think that was the grocery store slicing up a breast neat and tidy instead of it actually being a different part on a chicken? Nope, just me? Okay.
💭 Should I use a marinade for turkey tenderloins?
Let's talk marinating for a bit. Do you have to? NOPE. Does it increase the depth of flavor and make the tenderloins even more tender? YEP.
But it's not required. If you are short on time, 20 minutes is better than none, but 24 hrs is ideal. Don't have 20 minutes? It won't make or break the recipe.
So why marinate? And why use beer? Marinating allows flavors to soak into the meat, and the beer works at tenderizing the meat because of chemical reactions that make those tougher muscle fibers break down. Which means it's soft and moist and not tough and hard to chew.
We're a Modelo Especial® loving family- you might have spied hubs can in the pictures I took for our favorite instant pot Mexican rice recipe I shared with y'all. I marinated one package of turkey tenderloins in one bottle of Modelo and let them rest over night in the fridge. I also added in some oregano for a boost of flavor.
🔪 How to make melt in your mouth tenderloins
Time needed: 25 minutes
Start by making the marinade and the rub for grilling
- Making the best marinade:
For two pounds of tenderloins, you will need 1 bottle of beer, and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Place your turkey pieces into a dish and sprinkle the oregano over them. Pour the beer over. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours for the best flavor.
- Remove from the marinade
Once your marinating is done, you'll simply drain the beer and pat the tenderloins dry. Next you'll want to slather some oil onto them to help the rub to stick. I used grapeseed oil, but you could use your personal favorite. Olive oil is a popular choice.
- Preparing the rub
The rub is a homemade mixture of spices including paprika, chile powder, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and oregano. There is a little bit of cayenne pepper for a little kick. I sometimes use brown sugar to change up the flavor profile a bit.
Simply sprinkle it on and then rub it in. Won't that burn on the grill? Don't worry, I've got you covered! See the tips below in the grilling section with frequently asked questions.
- All ready to go!
♨️ How to grill turkey tenderloins
You'll want to be sure you preheat your grill. I use a gas grill, but a charcoal bbq will work well too. You want a medium heat. Ideally you'll keep it between 325-375 degrees. I aim for 350, but it can be hard with opening the grill lid or you know, if Texas has a cold snap.
--KEY TIP!-- Place the tenderloins onto a piece of aluminum foil and not directly onto the grates!
This does several things. Number 1 of which is it eliminates making your grates really dirty! It also stops that gunk from catching on fire, and by allowing the drips to catch in the foil, the turkey cooks in its juices, preventing it from drying out.
Keep the lid closed to keep the heat in and to create a constant heat. But also be vigilant. It will be hard not to check anyways because the smell will entice you to open it up.
⏲️ How long to grill turkey tenderloins?
Grill on each side 7-10 minutes. I move the back tenderloin to the front when flipping and vice versa. You want to make sure that your turkey is done, so grab a meat thermometer.
🌡️ What is the fully cooked temperature?
The key number you are looking for is is at least 165 degrees with most recommendations coming in at 170 degrees.
🍷 Recommendations for what to serve alongside your meal
Let's talk wine first. I picked Meiomi Pinot Noir for several reasons. First, it's an American wine! Several years ago, when celebrating Thanksgiving and the start of America we decided to always serve a red wine that was American made. Meiomi is sourced from Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara - and since hubs and I were married in Monterey we think that makes it even better! It has a rich full flavor with hints of pepper that make it a perfect choice for the the chili rubbed tenders.
Since you marinated the turkey tenderloins in Modelo Especial, it's the perfect pair!
We dished our meal up with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Other side dishes that would go well:
- Scalloped potatoes with bacon and jalapenos
- garlic pull apart bread
- make ahead cranberry sauce
- stuffing with sausage
- pumpkin pie spice loaf cake
So have I convinced you to try the easy way of making turkey this year? I hope so. I hope you also check out adding Meiomi Pinot Noir and Modelo Especial to your fall dinner menus!
Don’t forget to pin this recipe on your favorite Pinterest board
Fast and Easy Chile Rubbed Grilled Turkey Tenderloin Recipe
- 2 Lbs Turkey tenderloins
- 1 Bottle Modelo Especial© beer If marinating
- 1 teaspoon Dried oregano If marinating
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
For the Chile rub:
- 1 tablespoon Smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- 1.5 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Sugar
- 2 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Oregano, dried
To Marinate the tenderloins
- Place turkey tenderloins in a bowl and shake the oregano over.
- Top with the Modelo beer.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 24 hours for a deeper flavor.
Preparing the chile rub:
- Mix all the spices together in one bowl with a whisk. This is enough to cover 4 pounds of tenderloins, so you have some to spare. You can always cut in half or even double if you’d like extra blackening seasoning in the house!
Preparing the turkey tenderloins for grilling:
- Preheat your grill to a medium heat. You are aiming for between 325-375 degrees for a constant 350 degrees.
- While your grill is preheating, drain the tenderloins from the marinade. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels.
- Slather tenderloins generously with oil. Sprinkle the seasoning onto the tenderloins one side at a time and rub in. The olive oil should help it to stick.
- Place a sheet of aluminum foil on your grill grates and place tenderloins on top of it.
- Allow the tenderloins to cook on one side for 7-10 minutes and then flip to the other The foil will catch drips. Try to keep your grill lid closed as often as possible.
- Once the turkey tenderloins thickest part has reached 165-170 degrees they are done! Wrap with the foil you used and allow to sit on a plate in the foil for 5 minutes. Place on a platter, and drizzle extra juices on top!
- Slice, serve and enjoy!
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