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How long to smoke a pork loin?

You’ve marinated your pork loin overnight in the tastiest marinade, taken it from the fridge and rubbed it down with your best dry rub. Broil it, braise it, bake it or roast it? How can you impart even more flavor while keeping it moist and tender?

Smoke it. Allow your perfectly marinated and rubbed pork loin to be surrounded and bathed in aroma of smoke. The low and slow method of smoking a pork loin allows the sugars to caramelize and deepen the pork flavor while slowly breaking down the proteins in the loin to make it tender.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Pork Loin?

The length of time it takes to perfectly smoke a pork loin largely depends on the weight of the loin. A loin weighing up to 2 lbs. should be smoked for 20-26 minutes per lb. and anything 3 lbs. and larger should be smoked for 12-15 minutes per lb. And while minutes per pound is an important guideline, the most important recommendation is to be sure the internal temperature reaches 145-160 deg F.

What Temp to Smoke Pork Loin?

For the perfect smoked pork tenderloin, the grill or smoker should be kept at temperatures between 225-250 deg F as consistently as possible.

Because the smoking process is done over indirect heat, building a two-zone fire makes it easy to regulate the temperature of the fire. To warm up the smoker, add more fuel and too cool down the smoker add more liquid to your drip pan.

The drip pan is important for several reasons. The liquid in the drip pan serves to enhance the flavors of the meat and can also be used to lower the ambient temperature inside the grill.

How Do You Achieve the Best Smoke in a Pork Loin?

To achieve the best smoke flavor in your loin, keep the smoke white and puffy by ensuring your fire gets plenty of oxygen and airflow. It is essential that you allow the smoke to move around your loin and kiss it with flavor. If the smoke accumulates around the loin, it may burn from increased temperatures or have a charred flavor.

Mix your wood with charcoal. Using all wood, too much wood or green wood could over-smoke your loin and give it an unpleasant flavor.

If you need to add coals to your fire, make sure the coals are hot; adding cold coals could smother your fire and cause your temperature to drop.

What About the Wood Chips?

The wood you choose will season your pork loin. As a general rule, stronger smelling woods like mesquite and hickory are best. Lighter, sweeter woods works better with chicken and seafood. Chicken and seafood will absorb more flavor than beef and pork.

Soaking the wood will reduce the harshness of the smoke flavor by allowing for a slow, even burn. Using dry wood creates a large amount of smoke at once which may make your loin taste acrid.

Is Pork Loin the Best Cut of Pork to Smoke?

Pork Loin, in general, does not have the marbling of fat and connective tissue needed to slowly break down and turn to sugar. Because it cooks relatively quickly, it will not be in the smoker long enough to absorb the flavors imparted by smoking and may dry out because of the prolonged exposure to smoke and heat. You must watch a pork loin carefully and keep the smoking consistent to know exactly how long to smoke a pork loin.

The best cut of meat to smoke is one that can withstand the prolonged, low and slow method of cooking. Examples would be a Pork Shoulder, Pork Boston butt or picnic roast. These cuts are inexpensive and well-marbled for maximum smoke infusion.

The Wrap-Up

Pork Loin may not be the most practical cut of pork to smoke, but any meat can benefit from the infusion of smoke flavoring. Determining how long to smoke a pork loin will be a learning experience.

Preparing the meat, choosing the correct wood, and cooking low and slow will impart that smoky flavor you crave.

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