Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Recipe
Pork is one of the most versatile and flavorful types of meat you can get your hands on. With both tenderness and flavor, there's just as many ways to cook it and cuts of pork to use as beef all while being leaner and easier to cook with.
A pork loin is no exception, being one of the best cuts of pork and perfect for any kind of party or barbecue. But what's better than one kind of pork? Two, of course. In this guide, we'll show you how to make the most amazing smoked bacon wrapped pork loin that will blow both you and your guests away.
How is it made? What do you need to know to get started? Is there any special equipment required? We'll answer these and many other questions as we take a look at a recipe for a smoked bacon wrapped pork loin. Let's get started.
What You'll Need For This Bacon Wrapped Smoked Pork Loin Recipe
In order to make your own smoked bacon wrapped pork loin, you'll have to gather a few ingredients. Given that this is a bit more advanced in terms of preparation than most barbecue dishes, we'll separate what you might need for different parts of the recipe into different sections.
Cooking The Pork Loin
When you've gotten all your supplies together, you'll be ready to cook your roast. It's a good idea to start the pork tenderloin recipe two days in advance, so make sure you've got the prep time to commit to everything before you plan to eat, especially if it's for a party or other event.
Step 1: Make the Injection
For this recipe, in order to insure your pork loin stays moist, tender, and delicious throughout the long cooking process both inside and out, we'll be injecting the meat with a special solution to add extra flavor. In a small bowl mix together 2 cups of apple cider, half a cup of brown sugar, two tablespoons each garlic and onion powder, and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper into everything has dissolved. Suck it into your meat syringe and stab into the center of the pork through the side, injecting slowly to avoid spilling out. You can inject in other spots inside the loin, too, if you still have some of the solution left over after the first round.
Step 2: Brine the Loin
Once injected, it's time to make the outside of the meat just as wet as the inside. Mix up a brine consisting of 7 cups of cold water, 2 cups of apple cider, 1 cup of kosher salt, half a cup of maple syrup, a fourth of a cup of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder. Just like with the injection, stir everything together in a large bucket until dissolved and well combined, then lower in your pork loin.
For best results, let the meat brine in this solution for at least two days, storing it in a cool spot covered until ready. After the two days are up, take your pork loin out, rinse it in cold water, then pat dry thoroughly. Leave it out to warm to room temperature for at least half an hour before proceeding further in prepping the roast. In the meantime, you can start on step 3.
Step 3: Light the Smoker
As your meat warms up, now is a perfect time to preheat the grill. Toss in some charcoal and light it, closing the lid to let the heat build up inside. For smokes like this, the ideal temperature is somewhere around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. As it starts to heat up, begin soaking your wood chips in hot water if you're using them instead of wood chunks.
When the temperature is where you want it, add on your wood and fill the water tank of your smoker, working quickly and placing on the grates before closing the lid when you're done to let smoke and steam work their magic.
Step 4: Prep the Pork Loin
When you're close to cook time, you can begin final preparation on your pork loin. Lightly salt and pepper the outside of the meat, using as little seasoning as possible while covering every side. Having been injected with seasoning and brined for two days, it won't take much to get things perfect.
Toss the pork loin in a hot, dry pan and sear on all sides, removing the pork loin to a plate to cool down. Searing your meat before wrapping it up in bacon slices introduces some new flavor depths you otherwise wouldn't be able to get, as the surface of the meat will be covered and unable to touch the grill grates during cooking.
Once the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin has cooled slightly closer to a room temperature, begin weaving together your bacon slices, knitting them together around the pork. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect, as it won't change how great it'll taste once you're done. When finished, place seem-side down on a plate before proceeding to the next step.
Step 5: Smoke the Pork Loin
With your loin assembled, you can finally begin cooking it. Put the pork loin seem-side down on the smoker grate, close the lid, and let it cook. It will likely take between four and five hours for the roast to fully cook, during which time you'll want to monitor the levels of charcoal, wood, and water, adding more as needed to maintain a consistent temperature.
Around the last hour of cooking, you'll want to begin monitoring the loin's temperature. The target is 145 degrees Fahrenheit, as you need to remove the meat from the heat before it hits the right level of doneness, otherwise it will overcook. To check, stick an instant-read thermometer into the center of the pork loin, being careful not to overshoot and hit the grate. Additionally, if the outside is starting to get too crispy, you can tent the pork loin in aluminum foil.
Step 6: Rest the Pork Loin
After your loin gets to 145 degrees, remove it to a foil-lined baking pan and cover the top loosely with more foil. Let the meat rest like that for one hour undisturbed, letting it relax and reabsorb some of its juices. By the time it's ready to eat, the carryover heat should have raised the internal temperature to a full 155 degrees or so.
Step 7: Serve the Pork Loin
Now all your hard work is about to pay off. Place your smoked pork loin on a fancy serving platter and carve it up, taking in every detail of that crispy crust and juicy inside as you do it. Eat it with some of your favorite sides like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and macaroni and cream cheese, add some bbq sauce, though you'll probably be more focused on grabbing seconds before anyone else has the chance.
And there you have it. The most delicious bacon wrapped smoked pork loin you'll ever lay eyes or teeth on, made right in your own backyard. While it might be a bit more involved than a typical barbecuing endeavor, the results speak for themselves. If you haven't tried this pork recipe yet, run out and grab yourself some pork loin right now and fix that. You'll thank us later (and maybe send over your leftovers, assuming there are any).
Did you enjoy this recipe? Any tips on smoking pork loins or weaving together bacon strips? Leave a comment down below, and remember to share this guide with a friend who tragically hasn't had the marvelous experience of eating a fresh bacon wrapped smoked pork loin before.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Substitute Pork Tenderloin for Pork Loin?
Pork tenderloin and pork loin are similar cuts of meat because they are both very lean, but they are cut from different parts of the pig. The loin is a very large cut from the back of the animal. You may also recognize pork loin when it’s cut into steaks, when it’s called pork chops. The tenderloin is very small and is cut from the backbone. You can make substitutions, but since the loin is much larger, it will take significantly longer to cook.
Should You Brine a Pork Loin?
Pork loin does very well when brined, and especially well when the brine is injected. The brine will keep the lean meat very juicy as it cooks. A whole pork loin can brine from 2 to 3 hours if the mixture is very salty, or up to two days if the solution has less salt. In this recipe, the salt content is relatively low so you can brine it for an extended period of time.
Should You Remove the Fat From the Pork Loin?
Most whole pork loins have a large fat cap on the top. This cap can be anywhere from one-inch thick to 1/8-thin. You should not remove the fat, especially when you’re cooking it as a full roast. The fat will render as the pork cooks, flavoring the meat and keeping everything nice and moist. You can trim the fat cap so it is 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch thin, if it is too thick for your liking.
What Is The Best Temperature to Cook Pork?
For a long time, the FDA’s recommendation for pork was a well-done 165 degrees F to prevent trichinosis. Since that parasite is very uncommon in modern times, the FDA revised their temperatures to 145 degrees F. If you are buying high-quality pork, this lower temperature should not be a problem. Some packaging recommends 165 degrees F as a safety precaution, and if you’re worried then you should cook it to a more well done temperature.
How Do You Bacon Wrap a Pork Loin?
It’s easiest to bacon wrap a loin when the bacon is thin. Look for thinly sliced bacon and weave it around the pork loin. You can use toothpicks to keep the bacon in place, if you like.