So maybe you've mastered the art of cooking pork loin in the oven and on the stove and now you're looking for your next culinary challenge: exploring the world of smoked meats. Smoked pork can be a delicious addition to any dinner and is sure to please those who are sitting down at your table.
Still, it can seem like a daunting task to smoke a pork loin if you've never done any kind of barbecuing. The process is not as complicated as many think, and your curiosity will result in the reward of meat that will be smoky and mouth-wateringly delectable. Ready to learn more about how to become the best meat smoker in the neighborhood? Let's get started.
The ins and outs of smoking a pork loin per pound
Just like cooking using other methods, the cooking time that you need to smoke the pork loin depends on the size of the meat. The rest of the process is relatively simple after you determine the cooking time. Here is our easy step-by-step process to create the perfect smoked pork loin:
1. Look for the weight
When you get the uncooked pork loin, take note of how much it weighs. The label that has the price of the meat should tell you how much it weighs in pounds. This is important because it will inform you how long to smoke the meat in order to achieve a delicious smokey piece of pork. The weight will also help you understand how many people you will be able to feed from the resulting smoked loin.
2. Score the top
Once you unwrap your freshly obtained loin, it's time to get started. A defining feature of a pork loin is what is known as "a fat cap" which is the name for the layer of fat that lies on the top of the cut of meat. That layer of fat will help give flavor to the rest of the cut, which is notoriously lean. Take a sharp knife and score the fat cap with several slices. "Scoring the fat cap" can be done by making shallow cuts in the surface of the meat.
3. Rub with olive oil
Now, take some extra virgin olive oil and rub the entire piece of meat with a thin coating.
4. Smoking time
It's time to break out your beloved smoker, the entire reason for the loin. Place the pork on the grates of the smoker and let the machine do its thing. The most generally accepted rule is to smoke the meat for half an hour per pound. For example, for a 3-pound pork loin, you would smoke it for an hour and a half.
5. Give it a rest
Once you have finished the smoking process, remove the pork loin from the smoker and allow it to rest. This just means let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the juices to settle and for the meat to cool slightly. Here are some additional ingredients that you might want to include to spruce up the flavor of your pork:
- Dry rub or spice rub
- Brown sugar
- Garlic powder
- A brine
- Any other kind of sauce
The one rule to follow is to make sure that the internal temperature meets quality standards. The USDA recommends that the internal temp of pork be 145 degrees Fahrenheit in order for it to be safe to eat. If the inside is a little pink, don't worry, you can safely eat pork medium rare.
Choosing pork products for the best results
It's no secret that great pork products make for great dishes, and pork loin is no exception. A high-quality cut of meat can make all the difference in the world when it comes to smoking the perfect cut. After all, we know how excited you are to learn more about all the tasty ways to use pork, which is why Hatfield® only produces the best products.
If you're interested in learning more ways to cook and serve pork, check out our recipe page for inspiration. From Brioche baked french toast with ground pork and blueberries to ham, brie and apple grilled cheese, the possibilities are endless. Smoked meat is also extremely versatile, and this is especially true when it comes to pork loin.
Aside from serving it as is, smoked pork loin can be used in several other ways. For example, you could take some bbq sauce and make smoked pulled pork that can be made into a delectable sandwich. This is an incredible way to use the same cut of meat and turn it into several different meals. After going through the process of smoking pork loin, you and those you feed will be well rewarded. Not only will you impress your dinner guests, but your future self will also be grateful for the leftovers.
What to know about pork loin
What makes pork loin a perfect option to start your meat-smoking adventure? After all, you have other options like pork roast, pork butt, and pork shoulder to choose from. Well, this piece of meat has many advantages for both the new and well-seasoned barbequing veteran. First, let's get a basic understanding of what a pork loin is. It's a cut from the back and is generally leaner when compared to other pork products.
Because of its mild flavor, pork loin is an extremely versatile option and can be used for a casual get-together or a more special occasion. In addition, the pork loin cut is usually a larger cut and is about three to four pounds. This means that it can feed a large gathering of people with ease, which is another reason why many people opt for a pork loin when going through the effort to smoke a piece of meat. One example is using smoked pork loin to make pulled pork, a sure crowd pleaser for any event.
Note that a pork loin and a smoked pork tenderloin are different cuts of meat and should be treated that way. Even though their names are very similar, a tenderloin is quite a bit smaller than an entire pork loin. One can not be substituted for the other because of the varying cooking methods and times required.
Many people choose to smoke a pork loin because it's a more affordable option when compared to similar-sized cuts like chops and tenderloins. Because of the fat content and size, a pork loin is ideal for cutting for all your smoking needs. Normally, you'll want to pick out a larger cut of meat so that it can sit in the smoker for a longer period of time. This is ideal so that the product can really begin to take in some of that sweet smokey flavor.
Here at Hatfield®, we want to share the joy of cooking with as many people as possible. This includes experiencing the feeling of community that comes along with sharing the smoked pork loin roast that you worked so hard on. When you get a Hatfield® product, know that you are getting pork products made with a pledge. Our team is passionate about doing business the right way, something that has translated into our products. From the farm to your place, we treat every step of the process with the greatest respect.
Whether you decide to grill, roast or smoke your pork loin, a product from Hatfield® is a great first step. Learn more about where you can get your hands on the perfect piece of Hatfield® pork here.