Smoked Pork Loin Brine Recipe

5 from 1 vote

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If you’re in the mood to truly impress at your next backyard barbecue, this Smoked Pork Loin Brine Recipe is your secret weapon. Starting with a sweet and savory brine that combines the rich flavors of maple syrup with the fragrant notes of fresh rosemary and thyme, this recipe promises to infuse your pork loin with tons of flavor.

Sliced smoked pork loin on cutting board.

This dish elevates the plain pork loin to the centerpiece of any barbecue. Each slice reveals a perfect smoke ring and because of the brine, every bit will be juicy and tender. Follow these straightforward steps to turn your next outdoor BBQ into the perfect Summer (or any season!) cookout. For another smoked pork loin that is brined and glazed with a sweet sauce, try this smoked loin of pork recipe!

🤤 You Gotta Try This Pork Loin Brine

  • Juicy and Tender: The brine helps the pork loin retain moisture during the smoking process and packs in tons of flavor. The pineapple juice works as a natural tenderizer so you get perfect pork every time.
  • Deep Flavor Infusion: The combination of maple syrup, garlic, and fresh herbs in the brine seeps deep into the meat, infusing it with flavors that enhance the natural taste of the pork.
  • Perfect for All Skill Levels: Whether you’re a novice smoker or an experienced pitmaster, this recipe is straightforward. Just don’t overcook the pork!
  • Customizable: Feel free to tweak the brine ingredients to suit your taste preferences or to complement other dishes you’re planning to serve.

🗒️ Ingredients for the Perfect Brine

To make this delicious smoked pork loin, you’ll need a handful of essential ingredients. For a complete list of ingredients and their precise measurements, check the recipe card below.

  • Pork Loin: A lean cut ideal for absorbing the flavors of the brine and rub.
  • Olive Oil: Helps the rub adhere and aids in forming a crispy crust.
  • Pork Dry Rub: A delicious smoked pork loin dry rub recipe that is made from scratch. It adds depth with a mix of spices and herbs and helps to form a crust.
  • Kosher Salt: The foundation of the brine, enhancing moisture.
  • Maple Syrup: Provides natural sweetness to balance the savory flavors.
  • Hot Water: Used to dissolve the salt and syrup for the brine.
  • Cold Water: Cools the brine before adding the pork.
  • Garlic Cloves: Adds a sharp, aromatic flavor to the brine.
  • Black Peppercorn: Introduces a mild heat and earthy notes.
  • Fresh Rosemary: Offers a piney touch to complement the smoke.
  • Fresh Thyme: Brings a subtle, earthy sweetness.
Ingredients for pork loin brine laid out on a charcoal black background.

👨‍🍳 How to Brine and Smoke Pork Loin

Below is an overview of the steps to brine and smoke your pork loin. For detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card below.

  1. Prepare the Brine: Combine salt, dry rub, and maple syrup (or brown sugar) with hot water in a large container. Stir until everything dissolves completely.
  2. Add Aromatics and Water: Incorporate garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, and thyme into the mixture. Then, add cold water to cool the brine.
  3. Submerge the Pork: Place the pork loin in the brine, ensuring it is completely covered with liquid. Add more water if needed to ensure the pork is covered by the brine. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Prepare the Pork Loin: Set your smoker to 225°F. Remove the pork loin from the brine and pat it dry.
  5. Brush on Olive Oil: Use a brush or your hands to coat the pork loin in olive oil.
  6. Season the Pork: Coat the meat evenly with the pork dry rub.
  7. Smoke the Pork: Place the pork on the smoker grates and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 130°F. Increase the temperature of the smoker between 450°F and 500°F and sear the pork loin briefly on each side. Pull the pork loin from the smoker once it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.
  8. Rest and Serve: Let the pork loin rest for 10-20 minutes after smoking. This allows the juices to be redistributed and the carryover cooking to work its magic. Slice and serve.

🤔 Brine Substitutions and Variation

You can easily make some substitutions if you don’t have some ingredients on hand. Or if you want to put your own spin on the brine, try out some of these variations!

  • Sweetener Swap: If you don’t want to use maple syrup, use brown sugar, agave nectar, or honey.
  • Herb Variations: Experiment with other herbs like sage, oregano, or marjoram. Each herb offers a unique flavor that can alter the flavor of the pork.
  • Spice It Up: Add a bit of heat to your brine with crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne, or sliced fresh jalapeño peppers for a bit of kick!
  • Aromatic Twists: Introduce aromatics like citrus zest (lemon, orange, or lime), star anise, or cinnamon sticks for a hint of unexpected flavor that complements the smokiness from smoking.
  • Liquid Variations: Replace some of the water in the brine with apple cider or beer.
Entire smoked pork loin on a cutting board.

😉 Expert Tips for Delicious Pork Loin

  • Choose the Right Salt: Use Kosher salt for brining as it doesn’t contain anti-caking additives found in table salt, which can affect the flavor and outcome of your brine.
  • Balance the Brine: Ensure your brine has the right balance of saltiness and sweetness. Adjust the levels of salt and sugar based on your preference and the size of the pork loin.
  • Keep It Cold: Always add pork to cold brine to ensure food safety. Adding meat to warm brine can encourage bacterial growth.
  • Timing Is Key: Brine the pork loin for at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours. Over-brining can make the meat too salty and alter its texture.
  • Pat Dry Before Smoking: After brining, pat the pork loin dry with paper towels. This helps the smoke adhere better and ensures a good sear.
  • Monitor Smoking Temperature: Maintain a consistent low temperature (around 225°F) during smoking to cook the pork loin evenly and prevent drying out.
  • Rest Before Slicing: Allow the pork loin to rest for 10-20 minutes after smoking. This lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a moist and flavorful slice.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Always use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the pork loin. This prevents overcooking and helps achieve the perfect internal temperature.

🌮 Pork Loin Leftovers?

Storing and reheating leftover pork loin properly ensures that it remains just as delicious as when it was first served. For best results, slice the pork loin into individual portions before putting it in the fridge or freezer.

Place the leftover pork loin in an airtight container or in plastic wrap. It can stay in the fridge for 3-4 days for best results.

If you want to keep the pork loin longer, you can freeze the pork loin in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheat the sliced pork loin in the air fryer at 360°F for 3-4 minutes. Or reheat the slices on the grill over med-high heat or 400°F for 1-2 minutes on each side.

And be sure to check out this recipe for leftover pork loin tacos. The leftover pork loin is diced and reheated on the Blackstone, piled into tortillas with an avocado salsa, and topped with a cotija cheese crumble.

❓ Still Have Questions About Brining Pork?

Should pork be brined before smoking?

It is a great option to brine pork before smoking because it helps the meat retain moisture and absorb flavors, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful dish.
Pork has a tendency to dry out when cooking, especially if you don’t pay attention to the internal temperature. A brine is a great way to help prevent the pork from drying out.

How long can pork stay in a brine?

Pork should stay in a brine for at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours. Exceeding this time can cause the pork to become overly salty and affect its texture.

Can you smoke pork loin without brining it?

Yes, you can smoke pork loin without brining it, but brining enhances moisture retention and flavor, especially in a lean cut like pork loin, which tends to dry out when cooked.
If you don’t want to brine, you can try other techniques like marinade or dry rub.

Smoked pork loin resting on wood cutting board.

🐖 Fire up that Smoker!

With this Smoked Pork Loin Brine Recipe, you will be sure to impress at your next outdoor gathering. You will achieve a beautifully smoked pork loin that’s juicy, flavorful, and irresistibly tender. So fire up that smoker, and get ready to enjoy the rich, savory tastes of expertly prepared pork that will have everyone asking for seconds!

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Sliced pork loin on cutting board.
5 from 1 vote

Smoked Pork Loin Brine Recipe

Step up your outdoor cooking game with this masterfully crafted Smoked Pork Loin Brine Recipe, designed to infuse your meat with an irresistible blend of sweet, savory, and aromatic flavors. Starting with a rich, homemade brine featuring maple syrup, fresh herbs, and a hint of garlic, this recipe ensures each slice of pork loin emerges tender, juicy, and packed with flavor.
The meat is then rubbed with our special dry rub, smoked to perfection, and finished with a high-heat sear for that ideal crust. This smoked pork loin promises to be the highlight of any gathering!
Course: Grilling
Cuisine: American
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Brine Time: 1 day
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 pork loin, 4-5 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup pork dry rub

For the Brine

  • ¼ cup Kosher salt, or 3 tablespoons table salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, or brown sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1 sprig)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (about 3 sprigs)

Instructions 

Brine the Pork

  • Get a container that is large enough to hold the pork loin and the brine. Add the salt to the container, and if you are using brown sugar in place of maple syrup, add the brown sugar as well. Dump in the hot water and mix until the salt is dissolved.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients for the brine
  • Place the pork loin in the container with the brine.
  • Top the container with the cold water. Make sure the pork loin is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Smoke the Pork

  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  • Remove the pork loin from the brine and pat it dry.
  • Drizzle the oil over the pork loin and rub it around all sides. Sprinkle the pork loin rub all over the meat and press it in to form a good coating.
  • Place the pork loin on the smoker grates and smoke at 225°F for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F.
  • Crank the smoker up to 450°F or 500°F. Sear the pork loin for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • Remove the pork loin from the smoker and let it rest for 10-20 minutes. Ensure the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145°F.
  • Slice the pork loin and serve.

Notes

  • The USDA recommends cooking pork loin to an internal temperature of 145°F. I like to pull the pork loin from the smoker when it reaches 140°F and then cover it with foil or butcher paper. The carryover cooking will make the pork loin hit the 145°F mark.
  • Let it rest for 10-20 minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring every slice is moist and flavorful.
  • Invest in a good-quality instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of your pork loin. This tool is invaluable for achieving perfectly cooked meats every time and avoiding the pitfalls of under or overcooking.
  • The final sear at high heat not only adds a delightful crust but also seals in the juices. If your smoker doesn't reach the high temperatures needed for searing, you can finish the pork loin on a hot grill or a cast-iron skillet for similar results.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 192kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 3809mg, Sugar: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Tried this recipe?Mention @alicensetogrill or tag #alicensetogrill!

About Joshua Boquist

Josh is an outdoor enthusiast and food fanatic. A License To Grill is his passion project where the outdoors intersects food - grilling, smoking, and all things tasty!

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