Pulled Pork with Pork Loin

Discussion in 'Pork' started by wayoung, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. wayoung

    wayoung Fire Starter

    So a local grocery store has been putting big hunks of pork loin on sale for next to nothing so I had stocked up and yesterday smoked a package of it. The loins were huge so I cut them in half, one half I cooked up as a normal loin and the other half I did a pulled pork with. I went through this forum first and saw that it wasnt really recommended to do a pulled pork with a pork loin, that it is way too lean so I spent 24 hours brining it, cut it open and put bacon in it, and wrapped the outside with bacon as well.

    It turned out awesome. When it hit 205 internal it just fell apart. I mixed it the drippings and had the most moist, tender, delicious pulled pork I've ever eaten. Even better than the pulled pork i made with the pork butt a few weeks back. Today for lunch I had to add a little of Jeffs finishing sauce (but not much, and I would call anyone who put bbq sauce on this a heathen) after microwaving.

    So, Im wondering about the contradiction Im seeing, people saying pork loin doesnt make good pulled pork. Did the brining anf bacon make all the difference, or did I just get lucky?
  2. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    Little bit of luck and a little bit of the process I'd imagine. Pork Loin just doesn't have the fat to throw it in the smoker and let it do its own thing like pork butt does. Brining, bacon, and adding the drippings back in had to have helped but I'm still really surprised you didn't end up with really dry pulled pork.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Boy that's hard to believe.

    I would have never thought a loin cooked to 205 would be anything but dried up shoe leather.

    Sure wish you had some photo's of it.

  4. wayoung

    wayoung Fire Starter

    I foiled it thoroughly after it plateaued at 140. I collected the drippings from both halves (the half I did as a regular loin and the pulled pork half) and combined both in the pork after it was done. Along with the bacon and brine that probably added a fair bit of moisture.
  5. smokesontuesday

    smokesontuesday Smoking Fanatic

    Whole loins usually have more fat left on them than loins you buy that are already cut into roasts and trimmed. There isn't a ton usually but it is something and would help with the moisture level.

    I believe you could cook a whole loin to 205 and not have leather under these circumstances but it's something of a perfect storm of events.

    What I don't believe is that it would be a regular occurrence. You're going to end up with dried out pork more often than not. If you get lucky and it's juicy then it's going to be delicious, like what you made, but if that happens 25% of the time I'd be surprised it was that high.
  6. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Never would have thought a pork loin would turn out like yours did.....no fat.

    Maybe you stumbled on something!!
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Must have been the 24 hours of Brining & all the Bacon, because anything over 155° is normally too dry for Pork Loin.

    I know this because I use to take my Pork Loins & CB to 160° when 160° was recommended safe temp for Pork. Now since they changed that to 145°, I take mine to 145°--150° IT.  Then slice it.

    Next time---Pics Please. 

    A Step by Step would be nice too.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  8. wayoung

    wayoung Fire Starter

    I will take pics next time, but I can lay out the steps here.

    After the meat was thawed at 8 am on Tuesday I vacuum sealed it in a salt water brine with brown sugar, garlic, and a couple bay leaves.

    Around 8:39, 9 am Wed I open it up, dump out the Brine. I cut the loin in half lengthwise. There is a chunk of fat on the bottom. I then cut deep in the bigger half, the one I'm turning into pulled pork. I put a fair bit of bacon in this cut. I close the cut, cover with mustard, and shake a basic dry rub. I think wrap with bacon. I mustard and rub the smaller half that I am cooking as a regular pork loin and stick a couple pieces of bacon on it as well. I put both on the 2nd from top rack with thermometer in each. On the bottom I put the amnps. In between is a tray to catch the drips.

    I give it about an hour running the amnps with no heat as I intend to foil and want to get lots of smoke flavour first. The amnps went out a couple times, so re lit and inserted. Turned on the heat to 225 around 9:30, 10 am. I have to keep opening it up and relighting the amaze. It takes until about 12:30 that I finally figure out to open the wood chips loader half way to allow enough airflow to keep the amnps running. I had planned to foil at 1 but left it until about 1:45 because of my smoke issues.

    I foil - several layers. Insert thermometers and put back in the MES. Around 5:30 everything is 165 and I pull the smaller loin for supper. Let it rest half an hour or so, unfoik, making sure to save the drippings in the foil. Add them to the container with the other drippings. Cut and eat. Nice flavour but this one is slightly dry. Not really hopefully for the other.

    Around 9 pm the other hits 205. I get some towels and my cooler to let it rest but it falls apart as I carry it to my table next to the smoker. I unfoil, saving the drippings, and using the BBQ tongs I easily year it apart and mix in all the drippings saved from when the two smoked uncooled and from inside the foils of both halves - so it really had a twice the normal drippings as usual mixed in. I ate a little bit that night. Turned out amazingly well - tender moist, and flavourful.

    Two thirds end up in a vacuum bag in the freezer, one third and the leftover regular smoked loin for meals today, tomorrow, and sat.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  9. lancep

    lancep Master of the Pit

    Funny story. Early on in my smoking journey, maybe ten years ago, I wasn't really hip to different cuts yet. I had done a few briskets, ribs and chucks but not many pork shoulder/butts/picnics yet. I had done a few and had good results. Really good results! So we invited a friend over. I was going to totally impress. I went to the store and they didn't have what I had got before. It ended up being a pork loin, and our friend was Jewish, and we were in the middle of Hanukkah! Luckily he was a fellow central Texas exil and not observant. And the pulled loin turned out edible, but definitely not my finest hour. Glad yours turned out ok.
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Essentially you used a technique that is hundreds of years old. You did a combination of Larding and Barding. This had been done to add fat to leaner Pork Loin for generations, until the 70's when the " Other White Meat " campaign convinced a whole generation that pork is supposed to be lean and dry.  Larding uses a hollow needle to punch strips of Fat into the meat and Barding is laying thin sliced fat on top. It is nice to see that attitudes are changing. Only issue is you have to pay Big $$$ for flavorful fattier pork raised the way they did in Grandpa's day...JJ 


    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
    wayoung likes this.
  11. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Wow....just saw on a cooking show, the chef took the same pork loin, brined it and then did a bacon weave. Into a 225 degree oven and man it sure did look good. He sliced it and you could see the juices run out of it.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Thank you for that reply, and the Nice Step by Step you made of how you did it.

    Be Great if you tried the same thing again to see if you get the same result.

    If you do, please let us know how it works out---Maybe with pics.

    Sounds like "JJ" has it nailed down on how & why it works.

  13. wayoung

    wayoung Fire Starter

    Thanks for this reply, good to know the actual process.

    That's quite the coincidence. Again, good to know I wasn't just lucky, that it may be replicatable.

    For sure. I'm definitely going to try it again, and will take pics. Likely I'll bump this same thread with a new post. It'll be a few weeks from now - I'm going to be porked out for awhile between this and the sausages I'm doing on Saturday to replenish my frozen supply that got ate up for Victoria day celebrations.

    My next big attempt is Jerky for a camping / kayaking trip in a few weeks. I'm thinking I'll simplify things a bit and borrow a friends recipe/ dehydrator/slicer and just cold smoke the meat a bit for flavour.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds Great !!

    If you haven't already done so, you might want to give "Pork Loin Jerky" a try.

    It's as good if not better tasting than Beef Jerky, which coming from me says a lot, because I nearly always prefer Beef to Pork.

    It also has much less fat to deal with and is soooooo much cheaper than Beef.

    Here's some I did:

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