Feeding the Active Writer: Smoked Pork Loin

I picked up a pork loin at the grocery yesterday.  Decided to run the smoker today.  In principle it’s pretty simple:  Coat the pork with a rub.  Heat up the smoker.  Put pork in the smoker and smoke on low heat until it reaches the target internal temperature.

However, with the side smoker that I have:

It does require a it of babying.

First there is the rub.  I used the following (amounts are approximate):

  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 Tsp crushed rosemary leaves

Sprinkle the rub over the pork loin and rub it in well.

Let the pork sit while you start the fire in the grill and let it heat to about 225F (give or take–with a charcoal grill it’s hard to keep a precise temperature).

Place the pork loin on the grill.  I set it near the middle turned so its length was across the grill.  This made the temperature approximately equal so it cooks evenly.  In cross section the loin has a “tear drop” shape.  I put the wider side of the “teardrop” facing the firebox and the narrower farther away.  Again, this helped to make it cook evenly.  I inserted a “leave in/remote readout” meat thermometer.  Here’s what it looked like on the grill, ready to smoke:

20200416_105251 crop

Close the grill and add your smoking wood to the charcoal.  Now, normally I use apple wood but I used up the last of what I had on hand recently on something else and the local store was out of everything except cherry wood chips.  So…cherry it is.  These chips were intended for use with a gas grill or electric smoker which means they’re a lot smaller than the chunks of apple wood I normally use.  They burn up quickly in the charcoal.  That means you have to add small handfuls frequently to maintain smoke.

And now it takes time.  Charcoal grill so you have to check it frequently for temperature.  Adjust draft and/or add charcoal as needed to keep the temperature somewhere in the 200 to 250 degree Fahrenheit range.  225 is the goal, but realistically it’s going to vary.

Cook until the core temperature of the meat is about 160F.  Take it out to rest.  Here’s what it looked like, fresh from the smoker, at the start of its resting period:

20200416_174321 crop

Let it rest about an hour before slicing.

Good by itself or in sandwiches.  It’s got a good “bark” and is tender and while not “dripping juicy” neither is it dry.  Nice and flavorful.


2 thoughts on “Feeding the Active Writer: Smoked Pork Loin”

  1. I also have a side smoker and I did a pork butt on Thursday. Only problem I had was that I went for a walk around 4:30 since the smoker had been fine all day. Got back to find that the temp had dropped off the charts. Had to finish the butt in the oven. Frustrating.

    Here’s one for you.
    Coleslaw, Carolina Style to go with your pork.

    1 c half and half
    1/2 c sugar (needs to be played with if low carb, I decided it wasn’t that much given the number of servings. Works out to about 10g per serving so not over the top)
    6 T cider vinegar
    2 T mayonnaise
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 t salt
    1 med head cabbage, grated
    4 carrots, grated

    Shake up dressing ingredients, mix. This is the only coleslaw I have ever found that I actually like. Maybe it’s the cider vinegar. I make it when I smoke pork.

    PS Sort of a waste to smoke a pork loin. The point of smoker cooking is to break down the meat fibers in cheaper, tougher cuts of meat, like a butt or shoulder. Not saying it won’t be really tasty, but you could get just as good with the cheap cut and cut up the loin for chops.

    I have also made Smoked Macaroni and Cheese when I was eating carbs. To die for and I’ll do it again if I have people over at some point (then I don’t have to eat the whole pan myself).

    Throwing some extras into the smoker while you have it running is also good if you plan ahead (I didn’t). Sausages, hard boiled eggs, cheese, baked beans. All these can be tucked around the main dish at various times and temperatures and taken out when they are done.


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