A smoked pork loin is the perfect recipe for novices. Using the following technique, anyone new to smoking meats can turn out a tasty dish. The natural thickness of pork loin allows it to be smoked for a relatively long time without overcooking or drying out, which means it can absorb lots of smoky flavor. Smoked pork loin is also incredibly versatile: It can be served on its own or paired with a range of side dishes.
Smoked Pork Loin Recipe
Supplies You Will Need:
Wood chips (hickory, applewood or your favorite smoking wood)
Charcoal (and charcoal starter, if desired)
A charcoal grill with cover
Ingredients You Will Need:
Pork loin roast (any size, larger roasts will require longer cooking)
Prepare the wood chips by soaking them in cold water for a half an hour. Prepare the grill by arranging the coals on one side of the grill. Light the coals, cover the grill and allow the coals to burn down until the temperature stabilizes around 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place a drip pan on the side of the grill without coals. Drain the wood chips and scatter them over the coals. When they begin to smoke, place the pork loin on the grill over the drip pan, and replace the cover. If desired, drape sliced bacon over the pork loin. Since pork loin is so lean, the added fat from the bacon will help to keep the pork loin tender and flavorful.
Allow the pork loin to smoke, turning once or twice, for two hours or until the pork loin has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Add or remove coals as necessary to maintain a temperature inside the grill of 225 to 250 degrees.
Smoked Pork Loin: Marinades, Brines, Sauces and Rubs
Even with smoking, pork can be a somewhat bland meat and makes a perfect blank canvas for all sorts of flavors. Marinating or brining your pork loin before smoking it will make it more tender and juicier. A marinade of oil, cider vinegar and barbecue spices is typical, but you could also marinate your pork loin in a mixture of oil, lime juice, sugar, garlic, pepper and cayenne for a tangy Caribbean flavor.
To brine a pork loin, mix one cup of salt with one gallon of water, one-half cup of maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice) and seasonings to taste, such as onion, garlic, bay leaves or peppercorns. Stir to dissolve the salt and sweetener, and then submerge the pork loin in the brine. Allow it to sit, refrigerated, for at least 24 hours and up to 4 days. Rinse, pat dry and smoke as usual.
A barbecue sauce made of ketchup, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, oil and spices can be applied just before cooking to flavor the pork loin, and this will create a tasty glaze on the outside of the pork loin when it is smoked. For even more flavor, apply a dry rub of paprika, salt, pepper, brown sugar and spices underneath the sauce.
Smoked Pork Loin: Other Recipes and Uses
Once your pork loin is fully cooked, it can be eaten as-is or used in any number of dishes. Smoked pork loin makes delicious pulled BBQ pork: Simply shred the pork loin and add plenty of your favorite barbecue sauce. Pulled pork can also be sauced with ancho chile sauce and stuffed in tortillas for tacos or used as tamale filling.
Pork loin is a great cut of meat for slicing, so slice the smoked pork loin very thinly, pile it high on crusty bread and add spicy chipotle mayonnaise and sliced avocado for a superb smoked pork loin sandwich. Cut the pork loin into thicker slices and cut those slices in to cubes, and then use the cubed smoked pork loin in fried rice, fold it into an omelet or throw it into your favorite chili.
Smoked pork loin also makes great hash browns: Just cook small cubes of it with potatoes and onions. Serve leftover smoked pork loin in place of ham at breakfast, or create a smoked pork loin eggs benedict. If you used a marinade or sauce when making your smoked pork loin, just be sure that the flavor of that sauce works with the flavors you want to use in your new dish.
Barbeque pork loin is a summertime favorite, but why save this treat for summer? While it may be too cold to cook barbeque pork loin on the grill in February, you can try other cooking methods.
To achieve a successful pork loin dish, you'll need a pork loin marinade. Due to their low fat content, pork loins can become dry when cooked. However, they have their positives: Because of their even shape, they are a great cut for roasting whole and slicing thin.