This one takes a lot of time which is usually a no-no for the “active writer” part, but most of that time is sitting in the smoker with only spot checks for temperature and to see that you’re getting good smoke. I use a charcoal smoker which has a separate firebox to the side. All temperatures are in Fahrenheit.
- 2 Tbs coarse ground kosher salt
- 2 Tbs coarse ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs garlic powder
- 2 Tbs onion powder
- 4-5 lb pork loin
- Apple wood chunks for smoke.
Get the fire going in the firebox of the smoker. Once it’s going, adjust the vents to get a temperature of about 225 in the smoker.
Mix the first four ingredients together. Put the loin fat side down on a platter and pour about half of the seasoning over it. Rub the seasoning into the meat. Turn it over and score the fat in a diamond pattern with cuts about 1/2″ apart. Pour the rest of the seasoning over this side and rub it in.
Place the meat into the smoker. I put it at the far end of the smoker from the fire box where the heat will be more even, turned so the larger end faces the fire box.
Add a small amount of apple wood to the fire box. Smoke about 7 hours (it will vary depending on exact temperature and how even you keep your heat) until the internal temperature of the meat is 165. Add apple wood to the firebox as needed to keep smoke running. In my experience the meat temperature tends to stall at around 145 as evaporative cooling from the surface of the meat roughly matches the convective heating from the fire. The temperature will rise only slowly until the meat forms a nice crust (bark) slowing the evaporation and allowing internal temperatures to start rising again.
When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 remove it from the smoker and wrap in peach butcher paper. Return to the smoker (although it now won’t really be smoking) and continue cooking at 225 until the internal temperature reaches about 195. Because you’re looking for a final temperature so close to your cooking temperature, this will take a long time in the range of 5-10 hours.
Let the loin rest for at least a half hour before slicing. If everything has gone well, the results should be fall-apart tender, juicy and tasty.
Pictures of the final result later.