How to Smoke Pork Loin on Your Grill
Your smoked pork craving might look a little like mine: You get home from work around 5:30, maybe 6 if the traffic has been less than accommodating. You’re confronted with a dilemma: “I’m in the mood for smoked pork, but I don’t have the time to prepare it on a weekday. Oh, I also don’t have a smoker.”
Good news! The hubby and I—okay let’s be honest, the hubby is the meat handler in this household—are letting you in on a little secret to smoking meat in a couple hours without a fancy smoker (More power to you if you do have those awesome contraptions).
After we picked up a bone-in pork loin (not to be confused with pork tenderloin) from Full Quiver Farm located in Suffolk, we got down to business. We started with a brine to heighten the pork’s flavor profile. With thicker cuts of meat like pork loin or pork butt—especially if you’re smoking the meat—a nice brine does wonders, penetrating the meat with salty, herbaceous flavors that marry beautifully with that hickory smoke. We concocted a simple brine consisting of apple juice, salt, sugar and fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Sealed in a large sealable bag, we let the pork rest in the brine overnight to allow it to soak in all the juices.
The next day, we applied a dry rub and browned the meat in a cast iron skillet before transferring it to the grill/smoker for an hour. Browning produces a lovely sear on the meat while also cutting down on smoking time.
To transform your grill into a smoker, simply purchase hickory-smoked oak wood chips, soak them in water, wrap them in aluminum foil and set the packet in your grill near the flame.
Then set your pork loin in indirect heat, close the grill, and depending on the size of your loin, allow it to smoke until the meat has an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
And before you know it, presto! You’ll have achieved succulent, beautifully smoked pork loin.
Smoked Pork Loin
Total Time: 1 day to brine + 1.5-2 hours to cook and prep
3.5 lbs. pork loin
64 oz apple juice
½ cup sugar
½ cup salt
a bundle of fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs
For dry rub:
1 tbsp fresh thyme
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
large sealable bag
large handful of hickory wood chips
canola or grapeseed oil
Begin with the brine. In a pot, add the apple juice, salt and sugar, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, stir the mixture, remove the pot from the heat and toss in your fresh herbs. Allow the brine to cool to room temperature and transfer to a sealable bag. Add pork loin. Place bag in a large bowl, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the pork from the bag, and discard brine. Pat pork loin dry with paper towels. In a bowl, mix dry rub ingredients except for the olive oil. Once mixed, brush the pork loin generously with olive oil. Apply the rub to all sides and spread evenly, patting the rub into the meat.
Brown the pork. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add canola or grapeseed oil. Once the oil is nice and hot, place the pork into the skillet, browning all sides (about 2 minutes per side). For the edges you may have to hold the meat in a standing position with tongs depending on the shape of your cut. Once, browned, set aside.
Make your wood chip packet. Add a large handful of wood chips to a bowl and fill with water, allowing it to soak for about 5 minutes. Take wood chips out of the bowl, pat dry, and place them in the center of a sheet of foil. Wrap the wood chips tightly. Heat your grill to about 300 degrees, and place the wood chips over or close to the flame.
Smoke the meat. Place your pork loin into the grill in indirect heat. Flip after about a half hour. After a total of 60 minutes, check to see if your meat has reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.