Pork loin is one of the most popular cuts of pork cuts.
It’s perfect for feeding a large crowd and is super simple to master.
But if you are a beginner attempting to smoke a large pork roast can be daunting.
My easy-to-follow method below will help you serve up a juicy pork loin.
What Is Pork Loin?
Pork loin goes by many names, but the most accurate would be a pork loin roast.
You may find sold as center-cut pork loin roast or center-cut pork roast.
It’s the tough muscle that runs along the back of the pig, on either side of the backbone.
It runs the length from the shoulder to the hind legs.
This makes it one of the largest cuts of pork available.
Pork loin is a lighter rosy color running to pale off pink when cooked and is quite lean.
It does tend to have a thin fat cap layer over it though that helps seal in tenderness.
Keep this fat layer intact while smoking to keep the cut moist and avoid drying out the meat.
But don’t be put off by the size. You can treat it like any other cut of pork. And because of its size, it’s perfect for feeding large gatherings.
You can buy it bone-in or bone-out. Price-wise, pork loin is much more cost-effective compared to other cuts of pork.
What’s The Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloins?
Often confused, pork loin and pork tenderloins are two very different cuts of pork.
Pork loin comes from along the backbone, whereas pork tenderloins come from the rib cage. Tenderloins are a much smaller, thinner cut with very little fat.
Tenderloins are much darker in color and cook to a dark brown color, loin is quite pale by comparison.
Loin tends to be a much cheaper, larger cut and bought bone-in or out. Tenderloins are boneless.
Tenderloins are best cooked over high heat. Loin roasts respond better to low and slow-style cooking or roasting. Both are mild-flavored lean cuts.
Why Choose Pork Loin?
Pork loin is a great cut of meat for feeding a crew. The average loin roast weighs about 4-5 pounds, feeding 8-10 people with ease.
Added to that, it’s a little-used muscle, so usually quite tender. When cooked on a smoker, it’s juicy and flavorful.
How To Store Pork Loin
While it’s best to cook soon after buying, you can store for 2-3 days in the fridge beforehand.
If you plan on cooking after that, store the roast in the freezer. You can freeze loin for up to 6 months in the freezer. You’ll need around 24 hours to thaw completely before cooking.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Pork Loin?
Pork loin is a lean cut, but with a nice fat cap over the top.
It doesn’t have the tougher muscle structure like the pork shoulder or pork butt.
So it doesn’t need long, slow cooking. But a little time invested in it will give a better result. Searing in a pan, then oven roasting or smoking on a pellet grill will give you a gorgeously tender and juicy roast.
Slice loin roast into thick chops for individual serves for the barbecue. No matter which way you cook it, make sure the internal temperature reaches 145°F to be safe to eat.
How To Prepare Pork For A Pit Boss Grill
There won’t be much trimming for pork loin. A tidy of any excess fats, silver skin, and connective tissue is all that’s needed.
If you’ve got a little time up your sleeve, treat the pork to a brine. Other than that, season up the pork before smoking on the grill.
What to Look For When Buying Pork
The first step to a great pork roast is choosing the right cut of meat.
Start with a good base, especially if you are going to all the effort into smoking.
Pork loin is a naturally lean cut of meat, so there’s not a lot of fat anyway. But look for a cut with the best marbling.
Look for the white lines running between the grains of meat. These will break down during the smoking process.
This will give the pork lovely juiciness and natural meaty flavors.
You’ll find pork loin tends to have a fat cap. Don’t worry too much about the thickness – you can trim it down if need be. The fat cap is important for a juicy flavorful pork, keeping the moisture levels up.
Choose a pork loin that’s a nice pinkish-red color. Stay away from anything too pale in color.
Trimming The Pork
Most cuts of pork loin will come trimmed and tidy.
If necessary, trim off the extra fat and any silver skin and connective tissue.
Silverskin doesn’t tend to break down no matter how much smoking it undergoes. There’s no need to cut off all the fat cap layers.
Leave enough intact to score it to help the fat render down while smoking. This helps stop the meat from drying out while cooking. It also helps the seasoning penetrate the meat.
Brining the Pork
One of the best secrets to a great-tasting pork loin is to brine it before cooking.
Using brine adds flavor and tenderizes the meat. It doesn’t need to be a major process, 6-12 hours is the perfect time for the magic to happen.
You can wet brine, by soaking it in a solution of salt, sugar, and flavorings. Or dry brine by coating it in a mix of salt, sugar, and seasonings.
Or, you can try a marinade instead of brine. Marinades are a mixture of oils and liquid flavors that the meat soaks in for several hours, up to overnight.
Typically they are a thicker consistency than a brine, containing sauces rather than a water base. You can use a mixture of oils, sauces, citrus juices, herbs, and spices.
Best Seasonings for Pork
Luckily, pork works well with a wide range of seasoning flavors.
Add flavor with sweet, spicy, or savory rubs.
Fresh herbs, flavored oils, and citrus flavors work especially well. Try a little sugar to the rub for a nice caramelized skin.
If you are unsure, there are plenty of pre-made seasonings to buy.
Coat the entire surface with rub and let it settle for half an hour before cooking.
Stuffing the Pork
Another great way to add flavor is to stuff it with herbs and stuffing mix.
You’ll need to butterfly the pork. Slice down the pork lengthwise along the center. Fold-out flat.
Cover with heavy plastic wrap and flatten with a meat mallet.
Spread the stuffing mix out evenly over the pork. You can use breadcrumbs, herbs, crushed nuts, and spices as a stuffing mix. Experiment a little!
Roll up and secure with string or toothpicks. Smoke as normal.
See my porchetta recipe here for more instructions
How To Smoke Pork Loin On A Pit Boss Grill
Remove from the fridge and let it sit for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
Score the fat cap in a crisscross pattern.
Drizzle with a little olive or cooking oil and season with whatever rub or seasonings you choose.
Place the entire pork directly onto the grill grates with the fat cap side up. Smoke for at least 1½ to 2 hours with the lid down.
You can sear off the outside before or after smoking to caramelize and crisp up the exterior.
You’ll end up with a nice tasting smokey bark and juicy, tender meat.
Let the pork rest after it’s cooked to settle and reabsorb the juices.
Wood Pellet Recommendations
There are so many options when it comes to choosing the wood pellets for your smoker.
Pellets like mesquite and hickory have a heavy smoke flavor. The flavor has strong bacon-type undertones.
They are a little overwhelming for light meats like pork or poultry.
White meats blend much better with milder flavors like the fruit and nut woods. Subtle flavors like apple, pecan, maple, beech, and cherry give great results with pork. They will give a sweeter, smokier flavor without taking over the taste of the pork roasts.
But, if you want to beef up the flavor a little, try a blend of the fruity pellets with a little of the stronger flavors.
You can’t go wrong with an applewood pellet for pork. The mild fruity sweetness of apple and pork is a fantastic combination.
As a side note, store your unused pellets in a sealed container, kept at room temperature. This will save moisture and vermin invading your pellets. You’ll keep them fresher for longer.
What Temp To Smoke At?
The recommended temp is to set the Pit Boss to cook pork loin at 165°F for the first 2 hours then 250°F.
This is the perfect temperature to permeate with a good level of smoke.
And you won’t have to worry about overcooking and drying out the pork. It also creates a nice crisp bark without burring the outside.
How Long Should You Cook Pork Loin?
Your pork loin will be cooked at should be at 150°F before you pull it from the smoker. This will take about 2 to 3 hours.
The cooking time for pork loin with vary depending on several factors.
The size of the loin, the type of grill you’re using, and the outside weather temperatures all affect the time.
The more accurate way to check for doneness is the check the internal temperature. Use a good quality, reliable meat thermometer to check.
The internal temperature should reach 145°F to be safe. The meat will continue to rise about 5-10°F in temperature while it’s resting.
Pit Boss Pellet Grill Smoked Pork Loin Recipe
What You’ll Need
- 4-pound Pork Loin Roast
- 1/4 cup of rub of your choice (we used Pit Boss Pulled BBQ Pork Rub in this recipe)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil as a binder
Step 1 – Prepare the Pork Loin
If your roast is frozen, thaw it completely before preparing.
With a sharp knife, score the fat cap in a criss-cross pattern. Leave about an inch between each cut.
Step 2 – Season the Pork Loin
Pat the roast dry with a paper towel. Drizzle the roast with olive oil to give the dry rub something to stick to.
Cover the entire surface with the pork seasoning.
Make sure to get it into the gaps of the scoring cuts.
Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Leave the seasoning to settle for about 15-30 minutes at room temperature.
Step 3 – Preheat the Pellet Grill
Choose your preferred pellets and load up the grill hopper.
For this recipe, we used Applewood pellets.
Preheat the pellet grill to 165°F. Close the lid and run for 15 minutes.
Step 4 – Smoke the Pork Loin
Place the pork, with the fat cap side up, directly on the grill grates. Close the lid.
Leave it to smoke for 3 hours to allow the smoky flavor to permeate the meat.
Then turn up the smoker to 300°F.
Insert the meat temperature probe at this point, to check the internal temps.
Once the pork reaches 150°F, remove it from the grill.
Place on a cutting board or platter and let the pork loin rest for 15-20 minutes.
Step 5 – Serving the Loin
Leave the roast to rest for 15 minutes.
Using a sharp knife, slice against the grain. Serve and enjoy!
Pit Boss Smoked Pork Loin
- Pit Boss Grill
- Digital Thermometer
- 4 pound Pork Loin Roast
- 1/4 cup of rub of your choice we used Pit Boss Pulled BBQ Pork Rub in this recipe
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil as a binder
- If your roast is frozen, thaw it completely before preparing.
- With a sharp knife, score the fat cap in a criss-cross pattern. Leave about an inch between each cut.
- Pat the roast dry with a paper towel. Drizzle the roast with olive oil to give the dry rub something to stick to.
- Cover the entire surface with the pork seasoning. Make sure to get it into the gaps of the scoring cuts.
- Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Leave the seasoning to settle for about 15-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Choose your preferred pellets and load up the grill hopper. For this recipe, we used Applewood pellets.
- Preheat the pellet grill to 165°F. Close the lid and run for 15 minutes.
- Place the pork, with the fat cap side up, directly on the grill grates. Close the lid.
- Leave it to smoke for 3 hours to allow the smoky flavor to permeate the meat. Then turn up the smoker to 300°F. Insert the meat temperature probe at this point, to check the internal temps.
- Once the pork reaches 150°F, remove it from the grill.
- Place on a cutting board or platter and let the pork loin rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Leave the roast to rest for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, slice against the grain.
- Serve and enjoy!
Cooking a pork loin on a Pit Boss grill is such a simple process.
Season, smoke, and get the temperatures spot on and you have a winning meal every time.
Let it rest and settle the juices so you’ll have a moist piece of juicy pork, with some awesome wood smoke flavor.
Perfect to serve up to a room full of hungry guests!
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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