Barbecue Pork Loin

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Barbecue Pork LoinBarbecue Pork Loin

Barbecue pork loin is delicious...

The method I'm going to show you will produce smoky, juicy, spicy results.

You notice, I didn't say dry, bland or tough.

That's not what we want. You want a pork loin that's so delicious, moist and tender, you'll want to make it over and over again.

How to Barbecue Pork Loin

Cooking a pork loin in a smoker is a great way to prepare it; You get great smoky barbecue flavor and the meat is less prone to drying out.

The method is to cook the pork loin with hardwood smoke, at 250°F, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Some prep work is involved, but it's pretty easy and well worth the results you'll get.

I'll explain everything in the recipe below.

How to Select a Pork Loin for Barbecue

Picking a good pork loin to barbecue is pretty easy. Some details you want to pay attention to are...

  • The Expiration Date - Buy meat that is going to be good until you're ready to cook it.
  • The Color - Your pork loin should have a pink color. Pork that has a dark pink or crimson color has more flavor and better texture than pork that is light pink. Pass on meat that is dark brown or gray.
  • The Smell -You may not be able to smell the meat before you buy it. Hopefully you've checked the expiration date. If you open the meat and it smells off; sour or rotten, discard it. Note: Cryovac meats may have a strong odor when you open the package. This should dissipate 2-3 minutes after opening the meat.
  • Fat CapPick a pork loin with a nice, thick fat cap to help keep the meat moist while cooking. 
  • Enhanced Pork - Do not buy enhanced pork! It's full of water and substances that you would never put in pork yourself. This means you're paying for water and additives instead of pork. Enhanced pork also has a mushy texture and an almost metallic taste because of the chemicals used. Instead, brine the pork yourself for better flavor, texture and health. You can tell if the pork is enhanced if it has a list of ingredients on the label. Natural pork has one ingredient; pork.

Barbecue Pork Loin Recipe

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This recipe is based on a pork loin recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue. I've adapted it for cooking in your smoker.

A pork loin should be tied before cooking. This gives it a uniform shape, so it cooks evenly. It also looks nicer. You can tie it yourself or have your butcher do it for you.

The barbecue pork loin in the picture above is tied with a single piece of string.

If you look closely at the picture above you can see the string on it.

First get some butchers' twine and cut it about 6 times the length of the pork loin.

Tie the string around the pork loin about an inch from one end. (Leave a little extra string to tie the other end of the string to when you're done.)

Next, pull the string down the length of the roast. About 1 1/2" from the first tie, place your index finger of your other hand down on the string to hold it in place.

Loop the string under and around the pork loin. Put it under the string you're holding down and pull it snug.

Continue this method, placing the ties 1-1/2" apart until you get to the end. The last loop should be about an inch from the end.

Pull the string away from the pork loin and down the end to the bottom of the roast. Flip your pork loin over.

Pass the string under the first loop, then up and under the loop again. Continue doing this under each loop until you get to the other end.

Tie the end of the string to the end of the extra string of the first loop. Trim any excess string.

An easier method is to cut enough single pieces of string to tie the roast and then tie them individually.

Cut single pieces of butchers twine so that you'll have enough pieces to tie them about an inch from the end of the roast and about 1-1/2" apart down the length of the pork loin.

You'll need to cut them 3-1/2 to 4 times the width of your pork loin, so they'll be big enough to get around it. Tie your roast and then cut off any excess butcher string.

  1. In a container large enough to hold the pork loin and the brine, add the salt and 3 quarts of cold water. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
  2. Add the tied pork loin to the brine and brine for at least 8 hours. For the best results brine the pork loin overnight.
  3. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the pork roast with canola oil. Sprinkle the barbecue rub on the pork loin. About 2-3 tablespoons, depending on your tastes.
  4. Prepare your smoker for cooking, and heat to 250°F. If using wood chunks or chips, add them now.
  5. Place the pork loin in the smoker and cook for about 1 & 1/2 hours. If using wood chunks or chips, add them during the first hour of cooking.
  6. Apply your barbecue sauce and continue cooking until your barbecue pork loin reaches an internal temperature of 130°F-135°F. 
  7. Remove the pork from the cooker. Tent with foil and let the roast rest for 5-10 minutes. The final temperature should be 135°F-140°F.
  8. Slice, serve and enjoy!
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