How To Smoke A Pork Loin – Delicious Recipe
A Pork Loin is a Special Cut of Meat
If you are not sure what the difference is between a pork loin and a pork tenderloin, you are not alone. Where a pork tenderloin is narrow and long, a pork loin is thick and wide. The cuts are made from different sections of the larger loin muscle from the shoulder to the rear of the pig along the back. Although both cuts are delicious, they have different cooking times, appearances and flavors.
A pork loin is similar to an extremely thick pork chop. Your pork loin will have a thin layer of fat over the top. This is called the fat cap. The meat of your pork loin will be lighter than a pork tenderloin with a milder flavor. The average pork loin is four to five pounds. This cut of meat is often called a pork loin roast. It is very important you purchase a pork loin for our Trager pork loin roast recipe.
Purchasing and Handling Your Pork Loin
One of the best meats you will ever smoke is a pork loin. Your meat will be exceptionally tender with an incredible smoky flavor. Once you slice your pork you can simply serve it or add it to numerous dishes including appetizers, wraps, sandwiches, pasta and beans. Handling your pork correctly is important. According to the USDA, it is safe to leave your pork just a little pink due to the new safety standards.
You should always purchase you pork somewhere reputable such as a butcher or a local farm. The flesh should appear pink with a fresh aroma. Wash your hands every time you touch raw pork. All surfaces you placed your raw pork should be sanitized. You need to keep your pork in the refrigerator. Your pork needs to be cooked to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Smoke a Pork Loin with a Special Rub
Your first step is preparing your pork loin. You will see chinks of fat on the outside of your meat. You can remove these with a simple tug. Pro Tip: There is a layer of silverskin on one section of a pork line. Remove this using a sharp knife to ensure it is easier to slice your pork once smoked. Prior to smoking your pork, you need to rub it down with a good pork loin rub.
The smoked pork loin rub you choose will help define the flavor of your meat. If you do not already have a favorite or want to try something new, we have a few good suggestions. You can use a basic barbeque rub, a smokey and sweet chipotle rub or a curry rub. All of these will add a delightful flavor to your pork. A smoked pork loin marinade or glaze is also a nice addition. We have included a great recipe for a rub and another for a glaze below.
You can make a tasty and simple glaze by combining one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and four tablespoons of honey. Mix them together well prior to brushing the glaze over your pork loin. For a unique and delicious flavor, try our coffee rub. You will need:
- One-quarter cup ground roasted coffee (fine)
- One tablespoon black pepper
- One tablespoon salt
- One-quarter cup garlic powder
- Two tablespoons chili powder
- One-quarter cup paprika
- One tablespoon sugar
Mix all of your ingredients together for a sensational smoked pork loin rub. Pro Tip: You can stuff your pork then wrap it in bacon. Smoke your Traeger pork loin roast at 275 degrees Fahrenheit to crisp your bacon. One of the most sensational combinations is pork and applewood but you can use your favorite wood flavor as well.
Your pork loin should be juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside with a mouthwatering smoky flavor. The quality of your pork loin is an important factor. Free-range pigs have a diet of mostly acorns that have fallen from oak trees. Although these pigs are leaner, they have a lot of flavor with a higher quality of meat. Whenever possible, purchase a heritage breed pork loin. You will not be disappointed in the flavor, tenderness and quality of the meat.
Always let your Traeger pork loin roast rest prior to serving. Your pork will continue cooking and retain more juices. We recommend cooking your pork to medium. As soon as you remove your pork loin from your smoker, brush it with barbeque sauce before allowing your meat to rest. Your sauce will caramelize on your pork for a sensational coating. You can also brush your pork with barbeque sauce halfway through cooking.
How to Smoke a Pork Loin in Your Smoker
You can use either charcoal or an electric smoker. We have included instructions for both. One pork loin will need to smoke at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about two hours. If you are feeding more than two to three people, you will need to smoke more than one pork loin.
Pro Tip: Score your meat with a sharp knife in a diagonal pattern. This will enable your seasonings to penetrate the thickness of your pork loin. The flavor will be consistent throughout your meat. To prepare your Traeger pork loin roast you will need:
- One pork loin
- One-quarter cup barbeque sauce
- Three tablespoons pork rub
Rub your pork rub all over your pork. If you are using a charcoal smoker, soak your wood chips for thirty to sixty minutes in water. Light your charcoal and wait until your thermometer reads 225 degrees Farhenheit and your charcoal is beginning to turn white. We recommend filling your water bowl with water and one inch of apple juice. Now set your grill rack on your smoker.
Place your pork loin on your grill fat side up above your water bowl. If necessary, you can cut your pork loin in half to make it fit. Close your lid and let the meat smoke until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Your pork will need about two hours to cook. Inserting a thermometer is the best way to know when your smoked pork loin is done.
Pro Tip: Use a probe thermometer so you can check the temperature of your meat without leaving your house. After sixty minutes, add more wood chips. Check to see if you need to add more coals.
If you are using an electric smoker, preheat the temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill the bowl at the bottom of your smoker with half water and half apple juice. Place your wood chips into your side tray. Place your pork loin fat side up onto the middle rack then insert your thermometer. Close your door and wait about two hours for the internal temperature to reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check your smoke after 45 minutes. If there is no smoke, add more wood chips. Replace your apple juice and water whenever necessary. No matter which type of smoker you are using, remove your pork when it is done and place it on a cutting board. Brush your meat with barbeque sauce then tent it using aluminum foil. Let your pork loin rest for thirty minutes before serving.
Remove your aluminum foil and slice your Traeger pork loin roast. For an entree portion, slice your meat one-half inch thick. For sandwiches, slice your pork thin. Always slice going against the grain. All you have to do now is serve and enjoy.
The Amazing Slaw
One of the best side dishes for your smoked pork loin is our hazelnut, apple and cabbage slaw. The tangy sweetness of the slaw is an excellent accompaniment to tender smoked pork. If hazelnuts are not one of your favorites, we recommend substituting either pistachios or walnuts. You will need:
- One-half head purple cabbage
- One-half head green cabbage
- Three small Gala or Fuji or two large apples (if you use organic, leave unpeeled)
- One-half cup hazelnuts (roughly chopped and dry roasted)
- One teaspoon pure maple syrup
- One teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Two tablespoons apple cider vinegar (raw and unfiltered)
- One teaspoon sea salt
Begin by washing and draining your produce. Use a box grater to shred your apples and cabbage. If you prefer, you can thinly slice them and chop them into small pieces. Put your apples and cabbage into a large bowl. Add your pepper, salt, syrup and vinegar. Use clean hands to toss your ingredients until they are well mixed.
Place the bowl into your refrigerator until your pork is almost ready to be served. Take a medium pan and toast your hazelnuts over medium heat. Be careful not to burn them. Roughly chop the nuts prior to topping them over your slaw right before you are ready to serve.
The Finished Product
We hope you had as much fun learning how to smoke a pork loin as we did teaching you. Remember the keys to a fantastic smoked pork loin are using a good rub and letting it rest after smoking. As soon as you taste the juicy meat and smoky flavor, you will want more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you smoke a pork loin per pound?
When smoking a pork loin at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, it should take about 30 minutes per pound to smoke a pork loin. Since most pork loins weigh about five pounds, this means you can expect about 2-1/2 hours for your pork loin to finish.
Do you wrap pork loin in foil when smoking?
We recommend smoking a pork loin without wrapping it in foil. The foil can prevent the smoke flavor from penetrating the meat, which is what gives the loin so much flavor. The pork loin is a lean cut, though, so wrapping it can prevent it from drying out over extended periods of time in a smoker. To prevent a dry pork loin, we recommend brining the pork before hitting the smoker.
What temperature should you cook pork loin?
According to the National Pork Board and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pork is safe to eat at 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you may end up with pink pork, but it is okay if you have verified the temperature with an instant-read meat thermometer. If pink pork is scary, feel free to cook the pork for an additional 5 or 10 degrees until it reaches a medium temperature.
What is the best wood to smoke pork loin?
Our favorite wood for smoking pork is apple because it infuses the perfect amount of sweet flavor into the pork. You can also use any of the other fruit woods (like cherry), and maple or pecan wood are other popular choices. If you want to add a bolder flavor, try adding some hickory or mesquite wood into the mix.
What is the difference between smoked pork loin and smoked pork tenderloin?
The main difference between these two cuts of meat is their size. They are both lean cuts of pork, but the tenderloin is thinner and skinnier, and it comes from inside the ribcage. The pork loin is thicker and fatter. It comes from the back, and it often contains a fat cap. The pork loin will feed more people, but it will also take longer to cook than the tenderloin.