Enjoy the juiciest and most flavorful smoked pork loin following this straightforward recipe. Seasoned with a simple spice mix and slow-cooked to perfection, it’s simple, versatile, and hands-off.
How do you elevate a simple cut of pork? Make this smoked pork loin recipe.
I’ve been slightly obsessed with my Traeger grill pellet smoker and been using it for anything and everything. Well, mostly smoking meat like smoked corned beef, turkey wings, and chicken breast. This pork loin has been a long time coming, and it’s become a family favorite on special occasions.
Smoking a pork loin may seem intimidating, but it’s actually one of the easiest cooking methods with very little prep.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- It is so versatile. As evidenced by my grilled pork tenderloin and air fryer pork tenderloin, This meat pairs well with almost everything. Serve it as a main with veggie sides, or use sliced pork with salads, sandwiches, and rolls.
- Works with all smokers. Electric, charcoal, pellet, or gas, this recipe will work with every smoker because you’ll cook the pork to a specific temperature.
- Incredible flavor and texture. Like with my smoked ham, I love how smoking adds a depth of flavor to any dish. The meat is also perfectly soft and tender and seriously hard to stop at one serving!
This recipe for smoked pork loin is so easy and besides the pork and some seasonings, there isn’t anything else needed to make. Here is what you’ll need:
- Pork loin. Sometimes referred to as a pork loin roast. I typically get mine from my local butcher but most grocery stores should stock it too. Look for a uniform pink color on the meat and a firm and white fat covering.
- Olive oil. It helps the spice mix to stick to the meat. Although I have used olive oil, you can use any neutral oil for this recipe.
- Dark brown sugar. A little sugar goes a long way and it helps to get a beautifully caramelized crust. Opt for dark over light brown sugar.
- Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.
- Smoked paprika. To enhance the smoky flavor and also add some color.
- Onion powder. For a subtle onion flavor without needing any onions.
- Garlic powder. Similar to the onion powder, no one has time for fresh garlic here.
- Dried rosemary. Avoid using fresh rosemary as it will not adhere to the meat and will fall off into the smoker.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to smoke a pork loin
Step 1- Season the pork: Brush the pork loin with olive oil and rub it with the dry spice mix.
Step 2- Smoke the meat: Place the pork loin on the wire rack of a preheated smoker, away from the direct heat. Smoke for about 2 ½ hours.
Step 3- Rest and serve. As soon as the internal temperature of the meat hits 145°F, remove it from the heat, rest it for 10 minutes, slice, and serve.
How long to smoke a pork loin
As a general rule of thumb, it typically takes 90 minutes to 2 1/2 hours to smoke a pork loin. However, the size of the pork will determine the most accurate cooking time.
These times are based on the smokers’ temperature being 225°F.
- 2-3 pounds: 1 1/2 -2 hours.
- 3-4 pounds: 2 -2 1/2 hours.
- 4-5 pounds: 2 1/2 -3 hours.
- 5 pounds plus: 3 hours and more.
Remember that these are approximate times, and the key is to use a meat thermometer to ensure the pork loin reaches an internal temp of 145°F (63°C) for safe consumption.
Recipe tips and variations
- Marinate in advance. Rub the spice mix on all sides of the pork and let it penetrate the meat for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Make sure you pick pork loin and not tenderloin. Pork loin is a thick cut that comes from the back of the pig, whereas the tenderloin is a thinner, leaner, and tender cut from the muscles near the pig’s backbone. Their cooking times, flavors, textures, size, and fat content are unique.
- Inject your pork loin. Mix the spices and seasonings with a vehicle like apple cider vinegar and apple juice, and inject it into the pork loin to infuse it with maximum flavor.
- Score the fat. To help the flavors penetrate the meat, score the fat layer on top of the pork loin with a sharp knife. Don’t make cuts so deep that they cut into the meat. Also, if there is excess fat, trim it.
- Brine your pork. If I want to change up the flavor slightly, I sometimes soak the pork loin in a seasoned apple cider vinegar brine for a tender and juicy experience.
- Use sweet fruit wood. Apple or cherry wood pellets work excellently with pork flavors. The naturally sweeter notes yield a more flavorful meat.
To store. This recipe makes fantastic leftovers. Store leftover smoked pork loin in the refrigerator in an airtight container for five days in a closed container.
To freeze. It can be frozen for up to 6 months when stored in a vacuum-sealed freezer-safe bag.
Reheating. Cover and heat it in the oven for a few minutes to serve warm. You can use cold slices to make salads and sandwiches.
Frequently asked questions
Ensure that you cook the pork fat side up. As the meat smokes slowly, the fat renders beautifully and keeps the meat moist.
If there is a thick layer of fat, I suggest trimming it to ¼ inch. A little fat will help you cook and keep the pork moist.
Leaving a tray of water inside the smoker is optional to maintain moisture. However, you could place the meat on a spiced apples/pears bed for a fruity flavor. Spritz the pork loin occasionally with apple juice or vinegar to prevent it from drying.
I love to pair this pork with simple, cooked vegetables. My family enjoys corn on the cob, salad, green beans, and air fryer baked potatoes.
More delicious recipes using a smoker
Smoked Pork Loin
- Preheat your smoker to 225F with your favorite hardwood.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Brush the pork loin with olive oil. Season the pork on all sides with the prepared dry mix.
- Place the pork loin directly onto the wire rack and sway from the direct heat. Smoke the pork loin for 2 ½ hours or until the inner temperature reaches 145F.
- Allow the pork loin to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe originally posted August 2023, but updated to include new information for your benefit.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.