Pork loin is one of the tastiest meat cuts to use with smoking. By smoking your pork tenderloin, you give it an added depth of flavor for your tastebuds to appreciate.
However, if you’ve never smoked pork tenderloin before, it can be a confusing endeavor. How do you smoke your pork loin? What’s the best way to smoke your pork loin? Do you wrap pork loin in foil when smoking?
You can smoke your pork loin whether it’s wrapped in foil or not, but without foil, you will get all the benefits of your smoker. The first difference will be the crispy “bark” you have once your meat is cooked. Some people prefer a heavier, harder bark, so they tend to smoke their pork loin without wrapping it in foil first.
Second is the smoky taste that your pork loin can only get by cooking it unwrapped. A wood like cherry imparts an excellent sweet flavor while still giving you the smoky flavor you desire, but pecan is also a great option.
However, many people like to wrap their pork loin in foil when they smoke it to help retain moisture. Doing this forces the pork loin to steam in its juices, intensifying the pork flavor.
Once your pork loin has reached your desired temperature, you should then cover it with foil and rest before serving. The internal temperature of the meat will differ depending on your personal preferences, but most people tend to let it get to between 145℉ to 160℉ before adding the foil.
We recommend 150℉ with a 15-minute rest to allow the cooking process to complete and the juices to redistribute.
How do you keep pork moist when smoking?
Dry meat is everyone’s worst nightmare. There’s nothing worse than cutting into your favorite pork loin to find that it’s horribly dry and chewy. So how do you keep pork moist when smoking? The good news is that there are plenty of tricks for you to try.
Wrapping your pork loin in aluminum foil can help to keep it nice and juicy. This keeps most of the moisture that would be released through cooking trapped, so your meat should be nice and juicy. However, you will need to have left the meat to smoke for a bit while uncovered first.
The foil will seal in the moisture, but it will also prevent the delicious smoked flavor from permeating the meat if you keep it wrapped up from the start. Wait until the internal temperature of the meat reaches at least 135℉ before wrapping it in aluminum foil.
Another trick to try is marinating your meat beforehand. If you marinate your pork loin for 24 hours before you smoke it, this should prevent it from drying out.
Simply fill a large casserole dish or bowl with your marinade, then allow the meat to be submerged at the bottom of the dish. The marinade will also help to add some more flavor to the meat, we recommend adding apricot jam.
You can also try brining your pork loin. Both brining and marinating works to add extra moisture to the meat.
You can also alter some of the aspects of your smoker. Why not try adding a large pile of smoking chunks and a small pile of charcoal?
Charcoal brings the heat, but it’s smoking chunks that bring the flavor. If you find your smoker isn’t quite able to get up to heat this way, you can add a little more charcoal.
Following the less is more approach should help to keep the temperature lower, so your meat will cook slowly.
Adding a pan of water to your smoker can also help to keep the meat moist. Some smokers come with a built-in pan or tray for this particular function. You can also add your own if there isn’t one included with your smoker. Using a disposable aluminum pan makes for easy cleanup.
Remember to choose a pan that will be able to resist the high temperatures of the smoker. You may also need to top up the pan of water every half an hour or so, to ensure that the moisture particles are able to keep your meat moist.
Do you flip pork tenderloin when smoking?
You should flip a pork tenderloin when smoking. This will ensure that all of the meat is evenly cooked and avoid any possibility of juices pooling in one spot.
If you don’t flip your pork loin, you could have one side of the pork loin cooked more than the other. You could run the risk of having one side of the meat burnt while the other side is nearly raw.
When you flip your pork loin, extra juices will runoff. This also allows the surface of your pork loin to crisp up evenly.
Also, the smoked flavor won’t be even if the meat hasn’t been flipped. So making sure to flip your pork loin as it cooks will ensure that all of the meat has the chance to smoke evenly, leaving you with mouthwatering meat in every bite.
As for when is the perfect time to flip the pork tenderloin, this will depend on several factors. You will need to bear in mind the size of your pork loin, how big your smoker is, and the source of the heat.
If your pork loin is on the smaller side, chances are you will have to flip it sooner because the cooking time is shorter. The larger the pork loin, the more times you’ll have to flip it to get it evenly cooked.
If your smoker is on the smaller side, this might restrict how easily you can flip your meat. How close the pork loin is to the heat source will be crucial, too. The closer it is, the quicker it will cook, and the sooner you will need to flip it.
Do you smoke pork loin covered or uncovered?
You should always smoke your pork loin covered. This is because you need the smoke to surround your pork loin, giving it the smokiest flavor. Also, the heat will convect through most smokes allowing for even cooking from end to end.
Some people will grill pork loin with an open grill to start, then close the lid until done. This method is referred to as a “regular sear.”
On smokers, people will smoke their pork loin until it is almost to the resting temperature of 145℉, then transfer it to a grill or broiler for a method known as “reverse sear.”
Either method, it is crucial that your maximum temperature never exceeds 160℉, or your loin will be dry and tough. Some smokers have a sear feature like the Masterbuilt Gravity Series, but you will need to remove the meat while raising the temperature.
Should pork tenderloin be smoked fast or slow?
Trying to get the perfect cooking time for your pork loin can be tricky. Should you smoke it fast or slow? When you smoke your pork tenderloin fast, you can run the risk of having it cooked or burnt outside, but leave the meat still raw in the middle.
It’s better to take the slower approach to ensure that your meat is thoroughly cooked. There are a whole load of nasty bacteria that can lurk in uncooked pork or pork that hasn’t been cooked properly, so it’s not worth the risk.
To get the best results out of your smoked pork tenderloin, you should focus more on the internal temperature of the meat than the time it takes to cook it.
The general rule of thumb is to cook your pork loin for at least half an hour per pound. So a 5 pound pork loin will need to smoke for at least 2.5 hours.
Smoking your pork at the 225℉ temperature should allow it to reach the correct internal temperature. You should test its internal temperature regularly to ensure that the meat is cooking properly.
And there you have it! Now you know that while you should start off smoking your pork tenderloin uncovered, you should then wrap it in aluminum foil once the internal temperature has reached 145℉. This will help to seal in all that delicious moisture, and prevent the pork loin bark from becoming too tough.