Help a noob out - How do I smoke a whole pork loin

Discussion in 'Pork' started by lanshark42, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. lanshark42

    lanshark42 Fire Starter

    Hello all.  I'm new to this whole smoking thing.  I just purchased a Masterbuilt 30" digital.  I smoked 2 butts last weekend, and amazingly they came out FANTASTIC.  I'm calling it beginner's luck.  This weekend, I'm going to tackle a whole pork loin and spare ribs (separately in 2 different sessions).  I have a pretty good feel for the ribs, but I'm not sure how to smoke the loin.  Any tips you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    One more thing.  When I smoked the butts last weekend, I didn't put any water in the pan and I kept the vent completely closed.  They can out tender, juicy and falling off the bone.  Under what circumstances should I use water in the pan and/or open the vent?  Thanks again!
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Here is how I do Loins. I don't bother with water unless I am smoking more than 6 hours, then I add 2-3 cups and let it evaporate over the next few hours and finish with a dry chamber. Top vent I leave 100% open to keep fresh smoke flowing and get good convection for even cooking. 

    Smokey Low Fat Apple Pork Loin

    Loins are very lean so it is important to smoke them to a critical Internal Temp (IT). The addition of a Brine adds flavor, helps maintain moisture during and after cooking and tenderizes the meat. Pork Loins are the muscle that center cut Pork Chops are cut from and though internally lean, usually come with a thin layer of Fat on the top. This can be removed easily if you wish. Pork Loins are smoked Low and Slow, 225 to 250°F and depending on the thickness, usually 3 to 6", will take no more than 2 to 4 hours to get to an IT of 140 to 150°F. It is important to understand that Pork is very safe and parasite free compared to what Grandma ate and cooked to Death, an IT of 165°F or more! The USDA says modern pork is fully cooked at an IT of 145°F. Smoking to 140° then letting the meat rest 20 to 30 minutes, tented with foil, will let Carryover Cooking let it rise to 145°F. At this temp the meat will be slightly Pink which may freak out some people but is a juicy and perfectly cooked. For those that refuse to eat pink meat, smoke to 150°F with a rest and the Pork will still be moist but no pink.

    Here are a couple of Recipes you may like to try...JJ

    Apple Pork Brine

    2-12oz.Cans Apple Juice Concentrate

    1C Apple Cider Vinegar

    1/4C Molasses

    1/4C Mustard

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Pickling Spice (optional)

    1T Sage, rubbed

    1Gal Water

    Combine all and Brine the meat at least over night, 24-48 hours would be better.

    Mild Bubba Q Rub  (All Purpose)

    1/2C Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado)

    2T Sweet Paprika (Hungarian)

    1T Kosher Salt

    1T Chili Powder (contains some Cumin and Oregano) Ancho Chile is same without cumin, oregano etc.

    1T Granulated Garlic

    1T Granulated Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper, more if you like

    1/2tsp Grnd Allspice

    For more heat add Cayenne or Chipotle Pwd to taste, start with 1/2tsp and go from there. Makes about 1 Cup

    Apply your desired amount of Rub to the meat, wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator over night.or longer. The day of the smoke, pull the meat out, add more Rub and go into your pre-heated Smoker...

    Apple Pork Topper

    3C Apple Sauce

    3T Dijon Mustard

    3T Brown Sugar

    2T Apple cider Vinegar

    1tsp Rubbed Sage

    1/2tsp Black Pepper

    1/2tsp Salt

    1/8tsp Cinnamon

    Optional: 2-3 Apples, peeled, diced and sauteed until golden brown and tender in 2T Butter.

    Place all in a pot and simmer on low until thick but still pourable. Adjust sweet/salt to taste. Spoon over Pork Roast, during last 30-60 minutes of Cook time or when an IT of 110° is reached. Raising the Smoker temperature will caramelize the topping a bit...BUT...Pull and rest the meat, Uncovered, when the IT reaches 135°F. The hotter surface will cause a 10° Carryover rise and overcook the meat if you go to a higher IT. Serve the remainder, hot, over the sliced pork at the table...JJ

    Smoked Ribs as easy as 3-2-1

    A full rack of Spare Ribs will take about 6 hours at 225*F...The 3-2-1 smoked rib recipe is a good way to smoke ribs and tends to turn out perfect ribs every time whether you are using the meatier Full rack spare rib or the Saint Louis cut. Baby Back ribs use a 2-2-1 method. The ribs are smoked at 225 - 250 degrees for best results...
    The 3 stands for the 3 hours that you initially smoke the ribs with nothing but your favorite rub on them and some smoke with your favorite hardwood such as hickory, apple, pecan, etc. After the 3 hours you remove the ribs and quickly double wrap them in heavy duty foil.. just before you seal them up add some Foiling Juice or Apple Juice and close the foil leaving some room around the ribs for the steam to be able to flow around the meat and the juice to braise the meat which Flavors/Tenderizes it.

    The ribs cook in the smoker wrapped for 2 hours undisturbed. There is no need for Smoke at this point... After 2 hours remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap, saving any juices in the foil, and place back into the smoker for the final 1 hour, with smoke if you wish.This firms them up, creates a nice Bark and finishes the cooking process. You can add a glaze or sauce at this point if you like. The meat will be pretty close to fall off the bone and be extremely juicy, tender and flavorful...JJ

    Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    Foiling Juice

    For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

    1T Pork Rub, yours

    1/2 Stick Butter

    1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

    1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

    1T Molasses


    2T Vinegar, 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Style Glaze.

    Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

    Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

    run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

    the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

    in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    jwsmoken likes this.
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Seriously, I have thrown away pork loin because I didn't know how to cook it. It has very little taste to start with, little or no fat to flavor, and on the back end have a bit of grissle. I came here last year after geting another electric smoker, my first digital, and it completely changed my outlook towards loin.

    I had smoked a while but never brined or cured and was lucky enough to find this site. I can't suggest enough that you brine a loin for at least 24 hours. You don't have to cure it, just put some taste and juices in it.

    Lastly I recommend that you make sure and use brown sugar in your last rub before putting the loin in the smoker. The sugar camarelizes, encapsulating they pork, again helping that moisture by holding those juices in the meat. You really can't taste the sugar, but think of it like a M&M, so that meat will melt in your mouth.

    Most of all remember to enjoy the smoke, Bon Chance.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  4. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You might also think about butterflying the loin, rolling it out, and stuffing it with something of your choosing. Just roll it back up and tie it. I did one with just bread stuffing (not very original) but it came out great. 
  5. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There's about 1 billion and 37 ways to cook/smoke pork loins, but Chef Jimmy hit upon the most important thing: DON'T OVERCOOK IT!!!   Take it to 140 or 145 if you must, but no more.

    Also, I'd go with a light flavored wood such as Apple.  If you go with something heavier such as Hickory, you might want to back off just a bit on it.
  6. lanshark42

    lanshark42 Fire Starter

    Thanks fo much fro the recipes.  They sound delicious.  Can't wait to try them...

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