Smoked Pork Loin
on Dec 25, 2023
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Smoked Pork Loin combines tenderness and taste, transforming an ordinary meal into an unforgettable dining experience.
Best of all, you don’t need to be tethered to your smoker all day. Our smoked pork loin features a prep time of mere minutes followed by a smoke time of under four hours!
Table of Contents
- About Smoked Pork Loin
- What’s a Pork Loin?
- What’s in This Recipe
- How to Smoke a Pork Loin
- Recipe Tip
- Substitutions and Variations
- What to Serve with This
- Recipe Questions
- What’s the Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin?
- How to Pick a Pork Tenderloin
- Top Tips for Success:
- Smoked Pork Loin Recipe
- More of my Favorite Pork Recipes
About Smoked Pork Loin
Besides tasting great, making a smoked pork tenderloin is very budget-friendly. This 10 lb. pork loin costs about $20 at Costco and will easily feed 15 people!
Like those others, we use our Traeger pellet grill for this simple recipe but you can make it on a charcoal smoker, offset wood smoker, or even a ceramic smoker like a big green egg. This is the perfect recipe for newbies and experts alike, with delicious results!
Smoked Pork Loin is a delicious way to make a flavorful and impressive meal. This easy recipe is perfect for a dinner party or a cozy family meal.
Smoking a pork loin may sound intimidating, but with these simple ingredients and steps, you’ll have a juicy pork loin that guests or family will love. Today I’m going to show you how to make a perfect Smoked Pork Loin with a homemade dry rub that brings out all the juicy, smoky flavors.
What’s a Pork Loin?
Pork loin, known as center cut loin roast or pork center rib roast, is a lean and tender cut topped with a juicy layer of fat. It’s typically large, wide, and thick, often sold boneless for easy slicing post-cooking. This cut is also where pork chops come from, sliced into steaks from the larger loin roast.
What’s in This Recipe
You can add as little or as much to a smoked pork loin as you like.
- Pork Loin: These range from a few pounds to 10 or more. Look for one that is fresh and pink in color. See the section below for more tips on choosing a good pork loin.
- Yellow Mustard: Acts as the base for the dry rub to stick.
- Garlic Salt and fresh Ground Black Pepper: For seasoning and enhancing the pork’s natural flavors.
- Brown Sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness and helps create a beautiful caramelized crust.
- Paprika: Gives the smoked pork loin a smoky flavor and a beautiful color.
How to Smoke a Pork Loin
(See the complete recipe in the recipe card below.)
Making a smoked pork loin involves slow-cooking it at a low temperature in a smoker, allowing the rich, smoky flavors to permeate the tender meat.
Preheat the Smoker
Set your pellet smoker, electric smoker, or whatever type of smoker you have to a lower temperature, around 225 degrees F, ideal for smoking. I like to use a smoke tube, as shown above, to get a boost of smoke flavor.
Place an aluminum foil pan below the grates and fill it with warm water. This will help prevent your smoked pork loin from drying out!
While this is happening, take the meat out of the fridge about an hour before you put it on the smoker.
Prepare the Pork Loin
Trim any excess fat and silver skin from the pork loin with a sharp knife. I like to leave at least 1/4 of an inch of the fat pad intact. You’ll get some nice flavor and a little extra juice to this lean cut of meat.
Pat it dry with paper towels. If you have a whole loin, you might want to cut it into a manageable size, like a 2-3 pound pork loin.
Season the Meat
Make the dry rub by using a large bowl to combine garlic salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. This is your flavorful pork loin rub.
Rub the entire pork loin with yellow mustard, then generously apply the dry rub, ensuring all sides of the pork loin are covered.
Brush your smoker grates with some olive oil or bacon fat. This helps keep clean-up easier and even gives you a small flavor boost!
Smoke the Pork Loin
Place the pork loin fat side up on the smoker. This allows the fat to render down through the meat, keeping it moist. Smoke for about 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer or probe thermometer to check for doneness.
Important Note: Accurately monitoring the temperature of meat while it is in the smoker is one of the most important parts of the process. Do not rely on the built-in smoker thermometers, which usually are very inaccurate.
If your pellet grill comes with its own temp probe, be sure to calibrate it before using it. I also like to use this wireless temp probe. Finally, this instant-read thermometer is a must for grilling or smoking. It is super fast and accurate to one-half of a degree! I always use one of these to spot-check the temperature.
Rest the Meat
Once done, wrap the pork loin in aluminum foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This is a necessary step to ensure you have a juicy pork loin.
Substitutions and Variations
- Wood Chips: Experiment with different cuts of meat or types of wood chips for varied smoke flavors.
- Wet Rub: Mix olive oil or apple cider vinegar with your favorite rub for a wet rub variation.
- Sauce: Serve with a side of BBQ sauce or apple juice for added moisture and flavor.
What to Serve with This
Pairing smoked pork loin with the right sides can elevate your meal to the next level. These are some of my top recommendations!
- Crusty bread is perfect for sopping up any flavorful juices left on the plate.
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes offer a creamy, savory complement that melds beautifully with the smokiness of the pork.
- Macaroni and Cheese brings a comforting, cheesy goodness that’s always a crowd-pleaser.
- Baked Beans add a sweet and savory touch, making them a classic barbecue side.
- A Green Salad provides a fresh, crisp contrast to the rich meat.
- Green Beans, whether sautéed or steamed, add a healthy, vibrant side to your meal.
- Lastly, Crispy Potatoes, with their golden exterior and soft interior, are the ultimate comfort side that pairs wonderfully with the tender, smoky pork.
Yes, use indirect heat and a smoker box to mimic the smoking process.
Wrap the leftover smoked pork loin in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and refrigerate.
What’s the Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin?
Pork loin and pork tenderloin are distinct cuts of meat from different parts of the animal. Pork loin is wide and thick, with a fatty layer on top, and is typically sold as a boneless roast, while pork tenderloin is a long, thin, and lean cut that is boneless and known for its tenderness.
- Pork Loin: Given its larger size and fat cap, pork loin is well-suited for roasting or grilling over indirect heat. The fat layer helps keep the meat moist during the longer cooking process. It can also be cut into chops that are great for pan-frying or grilling. Slow roasting allows the fat to render and the meat to become tender and flavorful.
- Pork Tenderloin: This smaller, leaner cut cooks quickly and is ideal for fast, high-heat cooking methods like grilling, broiling, or pan-searing. To prevent it from drying out due to its low-fat content, it’s often marinated or wrapped in bacon to add moisture and flavor. Pork tenderloin is well-suited for slicing into medallions and quick stir-frying or roasting at a high temperature for a short period.
How to Pick a Pork Tenderloin
When picking out a pork loin, consider the following tips to ensure you get a quality piece of meat:
- Look for Marbling: Good quality pork loin will have a small amount of marbling, or tiny veins of fat, throughout the meat. This fat helps keep the pork loin moist and tender as it cooks.
- Check the Color: The meat should be a consistent pink color. Avoid any pork loin that has dark spots or discoloration.
- Fat Cap: A good pork loin will have a layer of fat on one side, known as the fat cap. This should be white and not too thick, but substantial enough to provide flavor and moisture during cooking.
- Size and Cut: Consider the size of the pork loin for the number of people you are serving. A whole pork loin can be quite large, but many butchers will cut it down for you. Also, ensure it’s evenly shaped for consistent cooking.
- Freshness: If possible, buy fresh from a trusted butcher or meat counter. Check the sell-by date if you’re buying packaged pork loin and opt for the freshest option.
- No Excess Liquid: The package should not have excessive liquid in it, as this can be a sign of older meat.
- Firmness: The meat should feel firm to the touch, not soft or mushy.
Picking the right pork loin is the first step in ensuring a delicious outcome, whether you’re roasting, grilling, or smoking it. Take your time to select the best cut, and don’t hesitate to ask your butcher for recommendations or help if needed.
Top Tips for Success:
- Marinade: For even more flavor, let your pork loin marinade in the dry rub overnight, wrapped in plastic wrap.
- Keep an Eye on Temperature: Maintaining a consistent smoker temperature is key to a perfectly smoked pork loin.
- Let it Rest: Always let your pork loin rest after smoking. This makes a huge difference in ensuring moist and tender meat.
Smoked Pork Loin is a delicious and relatively easy recipe that yields a lot of flavors. Serve it with side dishes like green beans, corn on the cob, or a fresh salad for a great meal.
Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or just looking for a new way to make dinner interesting, this Smoked Pork Loin recipe is sure to become a go-to in your home. Enjoy the process and the delicious results!
Smoked pork loin is a great choice for a meal to drop off to others. This is because it’s very inexpensive and easy to make. And to make it even better, it tastes great and is very nutritious!
- It’s a good meal for a new mom.
- This is a great meal for a sick friend.
- It is a good meal to drop off if someone has passed away.
- Homeless shelter food.
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Smoked Pork Loin
- 7 lb Pork loin
- 1/2 cup Yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp Garlic salt
- 2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- Place an aluminum foil pan under the smoker grates and fill with warm water. Apply a coat of olive oil or bacon grease to the grates using a pastry brush. Then, preheat the smoker to 225° F and pack, fill, and ignite the optional smoke tube. Remove pork loin from refrigerator.
- Remove silver skin from the meat, if present. Trim fat cap down to 1/4-inch thickness if necessary. Then, apply an even coating of mustard around the entire piece of meat. Next, apply an even coating of the dry ingredients. Use your hands to press it into the pork loin firmly.
- When the smoker is up to temperature, place the meat on the smoker grates. Insert temperature probe(s) into the thickest part of the meat, if you are using them.
- Remove the meat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145° F. Loosely tent it with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing it.
- Consistent Smoking Temperature: Keeping a steady low heat in the smoker ensures the pork loin cooks evenly, remains moist, and acquires a subtle smoky flavor.
- Monitoring Internal Temperature: Using a meat thermometer to achieve the correct internal temperature is crucial for a juicy and perfectly cooked pork loin.
- Resting the Meat: Allowing the smoked pork loin to rest after cooking and before slicing helps redistribute the juices throughout the meat, ensuring each slice is succulent and delicious.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.