Smoked Pork Loin - How to Smoke Pork Loin the Right Way

 smoked pork loin

Ah, nothing beats a juicy, smoky pork loin fresh off the pellet grill! If you're a fan of low and slow cooking, you're in for a treat. Pork loin comes with a thick layer of silver skin that can be a pain to remove, but once you've got that taken care of, it's smooth sailing from there.

The pellet smoker is the perfect tool for infusing that smoke flavor into your meat, and pork loin is no exception. With the right technique, you'll end up with a tender and flavorful piece of meat that's perfect for slicing or even pulling for some delicious pulled pork. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, smoking pork loin can be a fun and rewarding experience. 

So, grab your apron and let's get cooking!

What is a Pork Loin

Pork loin is a popular cut of meat that comes from the back of a pig, and it's a favorite among meat lovers around the world. This cut of pork is typically found in the meat section of your local grocery store, and it's a versatile option for a wide range of dishes. It's important to note that pork loin is not the same as pork chops, which are a smaller cut of meat taken from the loin.

Pork loin is a large cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, roasting, and smoking. It's a lean and tender cut that can be enjoyed boneless or bone-in. When prepared correctly, pork loin can be incredibly flavorful and juicy. Traeger grills are a popular tool for cooking pork loin, as they allow for precise temperature control and can infuse the meat with a delicious smoky flavor.

It is a versatile and delicious cut of pork that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether you're grilling up a juicy pork loin roast or slicing up boneless pork loin for a stir-fry, this cut of meat is sure to impress your taste buds.

What's the Best Wood to Smoke Pork Loin With?

When it comes to smoking pork tenderloin, the type of wood chips or wood pellets you use can have a big impact on the flavor of the finished product. Here are four of the best woods for smoking pork tenderloin and what makes them stand out:

  1. Applewood- Applewood is a popular choice for smoking pork because it has a sweet and mild flavor that complements the natural sweetness of the meat. It's also a great choice because it doesn't overpower the meat, allowing the pork flavor to shine through. Applewood is a versatile wood that can be used with any type of smoker.

  2. Hickory- Hickory is a classic choice for smoking pork, and for good reason. It has a strong and bold flavor that pairs well with the rich and hearty flavor of pork. Hickory is a good choice for those who like a smoky flavor that is noticeable but not overpowering. It's best used with a type of smoker that can handle the strong flavor.

  3. Cherry- Cherry wood is a popular choice for smoking pork because it has a sweet and fruity flavor that pairs well with the natural sweetness of the meat. It also gives the pork a reddish color that is visually appealing. Cherry wood is a great choice for those who want a subtle and slightly sweet smoke flavor. It can be used with any type of smoker.

  4. Pecan- Pecan wood is another good choice for smoking pork because it has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that pairs well with the natural sweetness of the meat. It's a versatile wood that can be used with any type of smoker, and it's a good choice for those who want a slightly smoky flavor that is not too overpowering.

The best wood for smoking pork tenderloin will depend on personal preference, the type of smoker you're using, and the desired flavor profile. Applewood, hickory, cherry, and pecan are all great choices that can bring out the best in your smoked pork tenderloin. Remember, the key to a great smoked pork tenderloin is to use the right type of smoker and smoke the pork until it's done to your liking.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Smoke Pork Loin

Smoking pork loin is an excellent way to enjoy tender, juicy, and flavorful meat. This detailed guide will take you through the entire process of smoking pork loin, from selecting the perfect cut to serving it on a wooden cutting board. Follow this easy smoked pork loin recipe, and you'll be able to smoke your pork loin to perfection every time.

Step 1: Choose the Right Meat

When it comes to smoking pork loin, selecting the right cut of meat is essential. Look for a pork roast with a good balance of lean meat and marbling. The marbling will render down during the smoking process, resulting in a tender and juicy final product. Be sure to trim any excess fat to avoid flare-ups during smoking.

Step 2: Prepare the Smoked Pork Loin Rub

A flavorful rub is the key to a delicious smoked pork loin. To make smoked pork loin rub, combine the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly to ensure even distribution.

Step 3: Season the Pork Loin

Place the pork loin on a clean surface and pat it dry with paper towels. Apply the pork rub generously, ensuring all sides are well coated. Massage the rub into the meat, allowing it to penetrate the surface. This will create a flavorful crust once the pork is smoked.

Step 4: Preheat Your Smoker

Preheat your smoker, such as a Traeger smoked pork smoker, to 180°F. This low temperature will allow the pork to absorb the smoke flavor gradually while remaining tender and juicy.

Step 5: Smoke the Pork Loin

Place the seasoned pork loin directly on the grill grates. Insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat to monitor the internal temperature. Smoke the pork for 3 to 4 hours at 180°F.

Step 6: Finish Cooking the Pork

When the internal temperature reaches around 135°F, increase the smoker's temperature to 350°F. Continue cooking the pork for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. The cook time for this smoked pork loin recipe may vary slightly depending on the size and thickness of the pork roast.

Step 7: Rest and Slice the Smoked Pork Loin

Once the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, remove it from the smoker and let it rest on a wooden cutting board for 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and tender final product.

Step 8: Serve Your Smoked Pork Loin

After the resting period, it's time to serve your smoked pork loin. Slice the meat against the grain into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter or wooden cutting board for an attractive presentation.

Different Ways to Season Your Pork Loin

stuffed pork loin

If you want to explore different ways to season your pork loin and elevate its flavors, you have several options. From stuffed pork loin and dry rubs to brines, marinades, and injections, each method adds unique flavors and textures to your dish. This article will provide you with detailed information about each seasoning technique, including a list of ingredients to help you make pork loin dishes that will impress your family and friends.

Stuffed Pork Loin

A stuffed pork loin adds an element of surprise and extra flavor to your meal. To create a delicious stuffed pork loin, first butterfly the loin, then layer it with your choice of ingredients before rolling it back up and securing it with butcher's twine.


  • 1 pork loin, butterflied
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Spread the spinach, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes evenly over the butterflied pork loin. Roll it back up tightly and secure with butcher's twine. Season the outside with salt and pepper before cooking.

Pork Loin Dry Rub

A dry rub is a mixture of spices and seasonings that you apply to the surface of the meat before the cooking process. This method creates a flavorful crust and helps to lock in the moisture, resulting in a juicy smoked pork loin roast.


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and rub them evenly onto the surface of the pork loin. Allow the pork to rest for at least 30 minutes before cooking to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Brines and Marinades

Brines and marinades are liquid mixtures used to tenderize and add flavor to the loin and pork tenderloin. Brines typically contain salt, sugar, and water, while marinades usually include an acidic component like vinegar, citrus juice, or wine.

Brine ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

Marinade ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Submerge the pork loin in the brine or marinade and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove the pork from the liquid and pat dry before cooking.

Pork Loin Injections

Injecting your pork loin with a flavorful liquid helps to keep the meat moist and tender throughout the cooking process. Use a meat injector to evenly distribute the liquid throughout the pork loin.

Injection ingredients:

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients and inject the mixture into several spots within the pork loin. Allow the loin to rest for at least 30 minutes before cooking.


How Long to Smoke Pork Loin?

When you smoke a pork loin, it can take between 2 and 4 hours, depending on factors like the size of the roast, the type of smoker, and the desired level of smokiness. Following a Traeger smoked pork loin recipe, for instance, will provide specific instructions to achieve the best results. It is essential to monitor the internal temperature to ensure the meat is cooked to perfection.

What Should Be the Service Temperature of Pork Loin?

According to the USDA, the safe serving temperature for pork loin is an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a rest of three minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a tender and juicy final product. Monitoring the internal temperature with a meat thermometer will help you achieve the perfect serving temperature for your smoked pork loin.


In conclusion, exploring different seasoning methods and cooking techniques can help you create impressive pork loin and pork tenderloin dishes that are tender, juicy, and full of flavor. By experimenting with stuffed pork loin, dry rubs, brines, marinades, and injections, you can enhance the taste and texture of your dish. Additionally, monitoring the cooking time and internal temperature during the smoking process will ensure that your pork loin reaches the ideal serving temperature.

By following these guidelines and being attentive to the details, you can master the art of preparing delicious and unforgettable pork loin and pork tenderloin dishes for your family and friends to enjoy.

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