Smoked Pork Loin
on Jul 20, 2023, Updated Sep 17, 2023
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Does it get much better than a summer cookout with a slightly sweet, tender, and moist smoked pork loin? Yup – I didn’t think so. This recipe uses a brine so that you don’t end up with a dry and boring pork loin. Never serve chewy pork again!
This Traeger smoked pork loin roast is a firm favorite in my BBQ playlist. It is brined overnight with herbs, giving it a flavorful and moist interior that works perfectly with the pork butt rub. The result is a super tender and juicy pork loin that’s made even tastier with my signature maple and apple glaze!
Table of Contents
You can technically cook this in an oven, but I love smoked pork loin on the pellet grill. After all, who doesn’t love BBQ? The smoker does most of the work, and cleanup is super easy! The smoke completely infuses the pork, giving it a wonderful smokiness that you just can’t beat. Serve it with some parsley baby potatoes, parmesan broccoli, and butternut squash for the ultimate family dinner.
Now, who wants seconds?
❤️ Why This Smoked Pork Loin Recipe Works
- Let the pellet smoker do the work! Set the Traeger and smoke away!
- It offers the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors.
- The maple syrup and dark brown sugar meld amazingly with the Dijon mustard and soy sauce. The result is a super well-balanced and superb glaze.
- The moist and juicy smoked pork melts in your mouth!
- The glaze, brine, and smoking process are easy enough for beginner grillers. Just throw the brined and seasoned loin on the smoker and grab a cold drink while you wait!
🗒️ Ingredients for Perfect Smoked Pork
Here is everything you will need to make this Traeger pork loin during your next cookout. For more detailed instructions and recipe notes, scroll down to the recipe card.
For the pork loin and glaze
- Pork loin. Pork loins are usually sirloin, blade, or center cuts. It doesn’t matter which you pick, but make sure you choose a large and lean cut for this recipe. If you’re remotely unsure, a local butcher will be able to help.
- Olive oil. A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil is best as it’s loaded with antioxidants and smokes well.
- Pork seasoning rub. Your favorite seasoning rub is fine or use our pork butt rub. You can always spice it up with a couple of spices for more heat!
- Apple juice. Gives the glaze a fruity and sweet punch. You can also use orange juice or pineapple juice.
- Maple syrup. Maple syrup enhances the flavor of the pork while adding a light sweetness.
- Dark brown sugar. As well as adding that signature dark color to the glaze, the molasses content will add depth and richness.
- Dijon mustard. A touch of spice and a hit of acidity.
- Soy sauce. Adds saltiness and extra savory flavor to the glaze that finishes it off beautifully.
- Water. Enough said.
- Kosher salt. The large grains in kosher salt are perfect for brine as they’re flat and flaky. So, they dissolve incredibly well in hot water for a clear and well-seasoned brine.
- Dark brown sugar. Counteracts the salty flavor of the brine while adding depth to the meat.
- Black peppercorns. Whole peppercorns will infuse the loin with flavor without sticking to it! They also add a spicy tartness to the mixture.
- Fresh rosemary. A couple of sprigs of rosemary add a bright and fresh flavor. Parsley and basil are also wonderful add-ins!
- Dried bay leaves. For a savory background flavor that adds a layer of complexity to the brine.
👨🍳 How to Smoke Pork Loin
This is a quick overview of how to make this juicy smoked pork loin. For detailed instructions, scroll down to the printable recipe card.
Brine and glaze the smoked pork
1. Bring water to a boil and add the salt and aromatics.
2. Add the remaining water or ice to the brine to cool it before adding the pork loin. Brine the pork overnight.
3. Once your pork loin has been brined, make the pork glaze by combining all the ingredients (except the butter!).
4. Place a saucepan over medium heat and simmer the ingredients until the mixture thickens.
5. Remove the glaze from the heat and incorporate the butter.
6. Chill the glaze while your pork cooks.
Bring the water to a boil. Then add the salt and aromatics. Add the remaining water or ice to the brine before adding the pork loin. Brine overnight.
Use a paper towel to dry the pork loin.
Smoke the pork loin
1. Preheat the Traeger pellet smoker. You can also use any bbq or grill with a smoke tube or wood chips for that smoky flavor.
2. Remove the pork loin from the brine and pat dry. Remove any excess fat, but leave some of the fat cap for added flavor if you desire. Score the fat cap.
3. Drizzle the loin with olive oil and sprinkle the pork with seasoning (to coat all sides).
4. Place the loin on the grill grates and smoke it.
5. Brush the loin with the glaze several times throughout the cook and wait until the internal temperature reaches a medium rare, around 140°F-145°F.
6. Remove the smoked pork loin from the Traeger and let it rest before slicing.
7. Serve and enjoy with an extra drizzle of glaze!
Drizzle some olive oil on the pork loin as a binder for the seasoning or dry rub.
Coat the pork loin in the seasoning mixture. We want the dry rub on the entire surface.
Combine the ingredients for the glaze and bring it to a simmer until it reduces and thickens. Add the butter and melt it.
Place the pork loin on the Traeger and smoke it at 225°F. Brush the glaze on the pork several times as it smokes.
If you want more things to try, like this pork loin recipe, give these other pork recipes a taste as well!
- Smoked pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon – pork on pork! The pork tenderloin is wrapped in a blanket of bacon and then smoked until the bacon is crispy and the pork is medium-rare.
- Stuffed smoked pork tenderloin – this tenderloin is stuffed with tons of cheese and even incorporates some veggies to give it a boost of color. The cheese oozes out when it is sliced. It is sure to be a hit!
- Smoked pulled pork butt – this smoked pulled pork is amazing! I make this all the time and keep leftovers in the freezer for quick and easy meals. Add it to mac and cheese or make some delicious sandwiches.
- Chipotle air fryer pork chop – spicy, tender, and delicious, these pork chops are super simple and easy to throw together in the air fryer.
🐖 Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin
What is Pork Loin
Pork loin is a long cut of meat that comes from the muscle that runs along the back of the pig from the midsection to the rear. It is a moving muscle, meaning that it contributes to the pig’s movements throughout its life. This means that pork loin can be tough, and it is especially prone to overcooking. Compared to tenderloin, it benefits from the added moisture that the brine gives it. Also, be sure to cook it to a medium rare to ensure that it isn’t tough and chewy. Smoking pork loin is always a good option because the low-and-slow method helps to give you a consistent and even cook throughout the large piece of meat.
Pork loin is much larger than tenderloin. They are generally 2-5 pounds. You can also get the pork loin from the butcher with the bone-in or boneless.
What is Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin also comes from the back of the pig. It is a muscle that is up against the spine near its rear. The tenderloin muscle is not a movement muscle, so it is generally much more tender than a pork loin.
Pork tenderloin is much smaller and usually weighs between 1-2 pounds.
😉 What is the Secret to Moist Smoked Pork
- For the perfect pork, I suggest placing your pork loin in a brine overnight. It’ll have more time to soak up the delicious flavors from the aromatics. Plus, it’ll be way more moist and tender once it is smoked!
- If you’re struggling to cool down your brine quickly after boiling, use a few ice cubes to bring the temperature down. You don’t want to throw the pork loin in a hot brine.
- The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F. Pork only needs to be kept at a temp of 145°F for 3 minutes to ensure it is safe, and this medium-rare cook will be much juicier and tender. I usually pull my smoked pork when it reaches about 140°F and then cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- It’s a good idea to use an accurate thermometer to check your smoked pork loin. This should give you peace of mind while cooking. Just make sure the pork reaches 145°F for a few minutes.
- To keep your smoked pork loin moist, you can use a water pan in the Traeger to keep the atmosphere in your Traeger moist.
- Monitor your smoker’s temperature to ensure there are no hot or cool spots. This will allow you to achieve an even cook on the pork. If you have cool spots in your smoker, you can rotate or move the pork throughout the cooking time.
- If there’s any fat left on your pork loin, smoke it fat-side up for added flavor and juiciness.
🤔 Substitutions and Variations Perfect Pork
- You can switch out the apple juice for orange juice if you need to. Expect it to taste slightly more acidic in the glaze.
- It’s always fun to serve this smoked pork loin roast with a bunch of BBQ sauce as an addition to the glaze!
- If you don’t have maple syrup on hand, honey works just as well for the glaze.
- You can use our pork butt rub or any other pork rub in this recipe. Whatever your preference is, adjust the dry rub as needed. Try out this delicious pork dry rub that blends garlic, honey, and molasses.
How do you keep pork loin from drying out on the smoker?
The best way to smoke pork loin is by keeping your temperature low and smoking slowly. It’s also key to keep basting your pork with the glaze throughout the smoking process. Putting your pork loin in a brine before smoking will also help to keep it moist and tender while it cooks. If you like, put a water tray in your smoker to keep the humidity high on the grill.
I recommend slicing the pork relatively thin and storing the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It should stay tasty for up to 5 days.
If you’re reheating it, you can either pop it in the air fryer for a few minutes or place it back on the grill.
Otherwise, reheating it in the oven for approximately 20 minutes in a covered dish should work!
🛠 Tools and Equipment
- Traeger Timberline 1300 – the most ultimate Traeger smoker. This thing is a beast and can handle anything that you throw at it.
- John Boos butcher block – a must-have for any home chef. It is a piece of art that compliments your kitchen and lets everyone know that you mean business!
- New West Chef’s knife or a Shun Chef’s Knife – The New West knife is a handcrafted item that you can be proud of. But I also use the Shun knife as my main workhorse.
🤤 What to Serve with Smoked Pork Loin Roast
- Air Fryer Smashed Potatoes – potatoes always go well with pork loin or pork tenderloin. While you are smoking the main dish, use the air fryer to throw together these crispy, buttery, and herby potatoes.
- Smoked Cauliflower – if you have extra space on the smoker, throw on the smoked cauliflower as well. This veggie dish is marinated overnight, infusing the cauliflower with lots of flavors before it hits the grill grates.
- Smoked Baked Beans – this is one of my favorite recipes. The beans are loaded with ground meat, bacon, and tangy BBQ sauce. You will want to save this recipe!
- Smoked Bacon Wrapped Asparagus – meat and veggies? Hey, why not!? You can season the asparagus with a rub or seasoning that pairs well with the pork loin.
Nope, there’s no need to flip your pork loin on the smoker. If you have a large smoker and the temperature is not even, you can flip or even rotate and move the pork loin throughout the cooking time. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the Traeger smoker to make sure it is consistent and even.
I don’t recommend covering your pork loin with foil when it is on the smoker. The foil will create a barrier between the smoke and your meat. Also, you will be removing the pork from the Traeger once the internal temperature reaches 140°F to 145°F, so you won’t need to worry about using foil to get through the dreaded stall.
Fruit woods like apple and cherry are great with pork. You can also use hickory, pecan, or a blend. This comes down to personal preference and how much smokiness you want.
It will take about 2 hours to cook your pork loin at 225°F. It is best to monitor the temperature at the center of your pork loin roast while it is cooking on the smoker. Every smoker behaves differently, so cooking based on time is not very consistent or accurate. Instead, pull the pork loin from the Traeger pellet smoker once it reaches 140°F to 145°F.
🎁 Wrap Up
Whether you’re looking for a warming main during the winter or a BBQ hunger-buster in the summertime, this smoked pork loin is just gorgeous. Just don’t blame me when you’re waving goodbye to the prospect of leftovers (as there won’t be any!). Try out this Traeger pork loin and add it to your BBQ rotation.
💬 Tell Me What You Think!
Did you try out this recipe? Please leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it. Also, snap a picture and post it to your favorite social platform. Be sure to tag me at @alicensetogrill and let me know how you liked it!
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- 1 pork loin (4-5 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup pork butt rub
Pork Loin Brine
- 12 cups water
- 1-¼ cups kosher salt
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 dried bay leaves
Pork Loin Glaze
- 1 cup apple juice
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Brine the Pork Loin
- In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and immediately turn off the burner. Add the salt and brown sugar to the water and let it dissolve. Add in the bay leaf, rosemary, and peppercorns, and allow them to steep for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the brine to a pot or container large enough to hold the pork loin. Add the rest of the cold water. You can add a cup of ice to cool the brine down quickly.
- Once the brine is cool, add the pork loin and transfer the container to the fridge. Let the pork brine for 12 to 24 hours.
Make the Pork Glaze
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients except the butter and bring it to a simmer.
- Simmer the glaze for about 15-20 minutes until it thickens. Remove the glaze from the heat and add the butter to incorporate it.
- Chill the glaze in the fridge while the pork cooks.
Prepare the Pork Loin
- Preheat the Traeger to 225°F.
- Remove the pork loin from the brine and pat it dry.
- Drizzle on the olive oil to coat the pork loin. Sprinkle the pork seasoning on the pork loin, coating all sides.
- Place the pork loin on the grill grates and smoke at 225°F. Brush the glaze on the pork 2-3 times during the cook. Smoke the pork loin for 2 hours or until the internal temp reaches 140°F to 143°F and the glaze carmelizes.
- Remove the pork loin from the smoker and let it rest for 10-20 minutes before slicing. Ensure that the pork reaches 145°F internally for a few minutes while it rests.
- Serve the sliced pork loin with a drizzle of glaze over the top.
- For best results, brine the pork loin overnight. The pork will be much more moist, and the flavors from the aromatics will better infuse into the meat.
- When cooling the brine down after boiling, use some ice cubes to cool the brine down faster.
- The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F, but I prefer cooking my pork to a temp of about 140°F before pulling it from the smoker and letting it rest. The pork will be juicy and moist. Be sure to monitor the temp of the pork while it rests to ensure that it reaches 145°F for a few minutes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 252Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 5809mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 43gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.