Pork Loin vs. Pork Tenderloin
The pork loin, sometimes referred to as a "loin roast", comes from a very long, thick set of muscles that run along the back of a pig.
The tenderloin comes from the end of a full pork loin. It's much thinner than a loin roast and cooks much faster. Tenderloins are usually found in the grocery store packaged in pairs and typically injected with salt water so they don't dry out.
Pork loin or pork loin roasts are a wholesale cut between the leg (ham) and the shoulder. It may come bone in or bone-less. One of the things I love about pork is that it goes great with about any flavor combination. Pork loin is pretty versatile. You could dry brine it and cook it with the same seasoning as the best prime rib recipe, cut it into chops and use my achiote rub, or even inject it and baste it with my plum crazy habanero sauce like I’ll show you below. Another great thing about it is cost. Pork is very cheap compared to other meats, which makes it a great thing to experiment with in order to master your smoker.
There are several steps to preparing the pork loin, but trust me when I say it’s easy. I inject the loin and apply the rub before refrigerating overnight. You could also apply the rub a few hours before cooking if you like. Just before cooking lay a bacon weave over top of the roast – this is a common trick to help with moisture. In this case, since we have the moisture from the injection, it's really just because I think it goes great as a package deal: pork loin, beer injection, spicy rub, bacon and a flavorful mop. Plus you’ve got to admit it looks fantastic all "plated up".
Injection Marinade (the night before):
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 tbsp worcestershire
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cups of beer
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder (optional)
Mix all all of the ingredients together over heat to combine. Allow the marinade to cool completely before using. Using a marinade injector, inject the marinade into the pork loin using dozens of injection points. Stick the needle in at an angle and slowly inject a little as you pull the needle out. Inject small amounts every 1/2-inch or so. This is better than having large pockets of flavor injected in a single location. When finished, wrap up the pork loin with saran wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
I’ve tried and seen hundreds of different injection recipes that work well with pork like this one. You could easily substitute for another one if you like. Also, feel free to substitute a good apple cider for the beer if you like as well.
Spiked Rusty's Rib Rub:
Use 3 tbsp of my Memphis Rib Rub and spike it with the following:
1 tbsp crushed ancho pepper (approx 1 dried pepper)
1 tbsp course ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 tsp kosher salt (I just liberally dust mine before applying the rub)
Mix all the ingredients with the 3 tbsp of my rib rub. Just before it's ready to go on smoker, thoroughly rub the pork loin with the rub (use more or less depending on size obviously). There should be no need to apply the rub early as I've shown you with other recipes.
Just before cooking prepare a bacon-weave and lay over-top of the pork loin. I just make it on tin foil and then flip it on. Cook on your barbecue at 225-250°F with your favorite barbecue wood – pork goes great with about any flavor. I used a combination of oak and hickory and loved the flavor.
After the first 30 minutes, mop the pork loin every half hour with my Plum Crazy Habanero BBQ Sauce. The sauce will help build up some great layers of flavor. Given how tremendously moist this recipe turns out I would finish it off to an internal temperature of 145°F or even as high as 155°F. I typically use my wireless thermometer (you can see my recommendation on the shop page) so I can keep a close eye on the temperature without losing heat while frequently checking the temperature. Plan on the roast taking about 1 hour per pound.
I've served some straight off the smoker (after letting it rest) and I've also pan-seared some as individual chops. I really like this approach. It caramelizes the sauce and brings out a tremendous amount of flavor! If you'd like to try that as well, just cut it into a nice, thick chop. Then carefully brown one or both sides in a pan.
ENJOY and be sure to post photos on Facebook to share with everyone else.